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Jun 30 16 10:54 AM

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Here is another insteresting article on the co-occurence of gender dysphoria and various forms of autism:

https://spectrumnews.org/features/deep-dive/living-between-genders/

//A 2015 study by researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital reported that 23.1 percent of young people presenting with gender dysphoria at a gender clinic there had possible, likely or very likely Asperger syndrome, as measured by the Asperger Syndrome Diagnostic Scale, even though few had an existing diagnosis. Based on these findings, the researchers recommend routine autism screening at gender clinics.//

The article comes with a warning: Sometimes autism-like personality traits may be caused by the transgender condition (which leads to shyness and social isolation). They are not really a sign of autism as such.
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#1 [url]

Jun 30 16 12:40 PM

Jack, I think your qualifier at the bottom of your post is important to this whole subject. I believe in my youth I might have displayed some traits that one would might associate with Aspergers, but in retrospect I also believe that was largely the result of a general discomfort I had about people really getting to know me. I always thought I had to be a certain way to succeed in life and was very consciously aware that I playing a role. As the years went on I became a better and better actor, but I never completely escaped the feeling that I was presenting in a very different way from the person I felt I really was inside.

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#2 [url]

Jul 1 16 2:47 AM

Hey jack!

I posted about Deborah Rudacille's article on April 19 in this thread:


Jack, did you see my post in the same thread from June 18th, where I mention attending the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference in early June and going to a workshop for trans* people on the spectrum? There were more than 50 people there, and it was the 2nd year in a row this workshop was offered— a large percentage of the people in this workshop were transmen. There was another workshop there on neurodiversity, but I wasn't able to stay for that day.

Then there was this news from a few days ago: "Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, LGBT Groups Release Statement on Needs of Trans Autistic People"

And at the WPATH conference in Amsterdam that ended recently, this is what happened there related to the trans/autism intersection. It's a long list.

This autism/transgender overlap is very real, and there seems to be more and more evidence of this emerging, from web articles to individual's blogs to Youtube vloggers to research done by people in the trans health care world. As I've said before, I'm not at all implying that all trans people are autistic. That would be nonsensical. It seems that the truth is that there are a surprisingly high percentage of trans people on the spectrum compared to the general population. Why that is true is debatable, but it is true.

"I could have been wild and I could have been free 
But nature played this trick on me..."

-The Smiths

Last Edited By: mutanmion Jul 1 16 3:08 AM. Edited 3 times.

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#3 [url]

Jul 1 16 3:23 AM

Addendum: this is one of the events that occurred at WPATH, "ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS: AFFIRMATIVE PERSPECTIVES AT THE INTERSECTION OF AUTISM AND GENDER IDENTITY". Its description begins: "Increasingly, research is demonstrating a correlation between gender dysphoria (GD) and Autism Spectrum (AS) conditions, particularly in children and adolescents..."
http://wpath2016.conferencespot.org/62620-wpathv2-1.3138789/t001-1.3140111/f009a-1.3140266/0706-000255-1.3140272

One of the people running this event was the primary facilitator at the workshop in Philadelphia I attended. He's a transman who is a social worker and is also on the autistic spectrum.

"I could have been wild and I could have been free 
But nature played this trick on me..."

-The Smiths

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#4 [url]

Jul 1 16 6:27 PM

I knew about trans and autism before this article.  Something else: kids with high IQs are also found to be androgynous or trans and have signs of autism.  I attended a symposium last weekend about music therapy and autism at my former university.  One presenter read out his transcribed conversation with an autistic teenage female. When I listened to the precocious responses of the teenage girl, I thought I was introduced to a FTM god!  

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#5 [url]

Aug 12 16 9:12 AM

Yes, it's essentially the same thing.

It goes something like this..
We're born, we have female brains, we think like girls, but we don't know that we think like girls. 
Our parents don't want us to behave too much like girls, so they try to condition us out of it.
You can't play with that, you can't dress like that, you can't act like that, sit still and don't fidget.
Why do you keep asking us so many silly questions? Can't you just go read a book quietly? On and on and on...
We get a bit traumatized, our subconscious blocks out a lot of our awareness of our original 'id' identity thingy at a preconcious level, we forget about a lot of the things we originally wanted to do, because they are 'wrong', but we find we quite enjoy sitting and reading a book quietly, and that isn't 'wrong', and if we demonstrate an advanced vocabulary at a young age people are suitably impressed, so we do quite a lot of that, but otherwise we feel kind of lost and disconnected in the world. 
We go to school, we still think like girls, we don't interact well with our male peers.
The teachers or our parents notice that we don't have many friends, so we get assessed for having a disability of social interaction, and diagnosed with Aspergers. We go, oh right, that must be it then, I guess that makes some kind of sense, thanks Mr Asperger, and we set out to start life anyway.

Gradually as we get older the doubts begin to set in, lots of things don't add up.
We start to figure out that just thinking about being the opposite sex is always somehow exciting, and we somehow can't imagine a much of a future being the same sex. We find out that lots of other people who were diagnosed with Aspergers also turned out to be transgender, or lots of people who are transgender were also diagnosed with Aspergers. We say, wow, isn't that a strange coincidence, there must really be something to this Aspergers thing, we really should do more research into the biology of that..

Nevermind that it's the 'Aspergers' concept that's the 'social construct' and we were basically just girls born with penises all along. ;-)
We go see another doctor, they say, "Well it must be your aspergers that's hindering your ability to effectively communicate with people, so we can't give you any treatment for being transgender until you get therapy/counselling for that, you really need to see a different specialist".
Except that there is no different specialist, because none of the doctors really seems to know the biology behind this stuff, they only know about what they read in books, which is mostly rubbish.

If only that nice Mr Hans Asperger hadn't wanted to make a name for himself as a psychologist, we wouldn't be in this mess.
So now we're just stuffed. If we try to tell people the truth they don't believe us, they believe the books because they derive all their sense of status by their continual repetition/enforcement of the received wisdom they have obtained from authority figures, and they don't like being questioned, unless you can prove you are a greater authority, which if you are claiming to be female you must obviously not be. Men are pretty stupid like that.
They only give you an hour to try to explain yourself, and you don't know what their existing knowledge base is like, but if you start to go into too many technical details about things like biology that only reinforces their belief that you must have Aspergers.

Oh, and most of the people who wrote all those books and came up with all those psychological theories they learned about in college were actually people like us too, coz if they hadn't been somewhat queer/adrogynous themselves they would just have been out getting laid a lot and would not have spent all their time trying to make a name for themselves by 'systematizing' the world, deriving new theories and writing books about it.

We go, look, the worlds going to hell because so many people are queer now and a lot of them either don't know, or can't accept it, so they are gradually all going quietly psychotic. They say, "well I'm sure it's just down to inadequate education, the food supply, the media, social forces, etc. etc. we should really just apply for more grants so we can do more studies", oh and while we're doing that the medical-industrial complex is going great guns selling overpriced placebos, so actually fixing the real underlying problems would be bad for business.

It's just really sad, because there are all these 5,6,7 year olds diagnosed with Aspergers now, and maybe they won't figure out for another decade what's actually going on with them.

Last Edited By: Xora Aug 31 16 3:09 AM. Edited 2 times.

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#6 [url]

Aug 13 16 10:02 AM

Xora wrote:
Yes, it's essentially the same thing.

It goes something like this..
We're born, we have female brains, we think like girls, but we don't know that we think like girls. 
Our parents don't want us to behave too much like girls, so they try to condition us out of it.
You can't play with that, you can't dress like that, you can't act like that, sit still and don't fidget, just go read a book quitely, on and on...
We get a bit traumatized, our subconscious blocks out a lot of our awareness of our original 'id' identity thingy at a preconcious level, so we feel kind of lost and disconnected in the world. 
We go to school, we still think like girls, we don't interact well with our male peers.
The teachers or our parents notice that we don't have many friends, so we get assessed for having a disability of social interaction, and diagnosed with Aspergers. We go, oh right, that must be it then, I guess that makes sense, thanks Mr Asperger, and we set out to start life anyway.
Gradually as we get older the doubts begin to set in, lots of things don't add up.
We start to figure out that thinking about being the opposite sex is somehow exciting, and we somehow can't imagine a much of a future being the same sex.
We find out that lots of other people who were diagnosed with Aspergers also turned out to be transgender, or lots of people who are transgender were also diagnosed with Aspergers. We say, wow, isn't that a strange coincidence, there must really be something to this Aspergers thing, we really should do more research into the biology of that..

Nevermind that it's the 'Aspergers' concept that's the 'social construct' and we were basically just girls born with penises all along. ;-)

Xora, how would you explain the very high percentage of FTM people who are both autistic and trans? At the workshop I attended at the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference back in June for people who are both trans* and on the spectrum, I would guess that at least 40% of the 50-60 attendees were transitioning to or have already transitioned FTM, and identifying as male or maybe as non-binary, but still getting testosterone therapy to transition to being more male than they were. They are the opposite of girls born with penises.


"I could have been wild and I could have been free 
But nature played this trick on me..."

-The Smiths

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#7 [url]

Aug 16 16 11:13 AM

Well yeah, it works both ways, but I used the MTF example as this forum has a majority of MTF users.

Basically the combination of being gender variant and a childhood of behavioral intervention and social ostracism by parents, peers, teachers etc. creates the psychological/behavioral conditions that we go on to 'label' as 'autism'.

You'd probably find that if you could compare people that were similarly gender variant at birth, but one lot socially transitioned at 4-5, while another lot tried to comply with their environment and didn't attempt to socially transition till their mid 20s or later, the ones who transitioned sooner would be a lot more psychologically sound and socially functional, as they wouldn't have had to attempt to create a 'false self' to hide behind and compensate for always feeling like they are just playing a part.

I guess it's still too early to have enough of a sample size to do that kind of a study, but the results sure would be interesting.

When I was 14, I was pretty much like the one on the left.
image

Well this is me at about age 7 I think, so you can see where I'm going.
I was at least as much of a girl as Kim, maybe slightly more..
image

If I could have come out and socially transitioned at that sort of age I'd be a much better position now,

Well maybe. ;-) Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey factors notwithstanding..

Instead I had to go and spend the next 20 years reading a whole load of books and webpages and such, so now I just have 'autism'.
A Kim Peek, not a Kim Petras, doh! Which is fine in it's own way, but I still can't get laid.. ;-(



But I am still pissed that I never got the chance to play Eponine, when I was the right age, coz I wasn't a girl. ;-(

Last Edited By: Xora Aug 16 16 1:30 PM. Edited 3 times.

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#8 [url]

Aug 16 16 12:19 PM

Xora,

When I read about gifted and talented students with high IQs, many of them were considered androgynous.  The writers of the book didn't discuss transgender theories or gender dysphoria, but they recognized that many of these kids, including those who are autistic or are savants often consider themselves bi-gender or transgenders.

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#9 [url]

Aug 16 16 2:41 PM

Xora, don't compare yourself to Kim Peek. He might have been an amazing savant, but he also was born with massive congenital brain damage and was not autistic.

"I could have been wild and I could have been free 
But nature played this trick on me..."

-The Smiths

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#10 [url]

Aug 16 16 3:41 PM

Yeah I know, Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum, the two sides of his brain weren't connected to each other, so he could speed-read the two opposite pages of a book simultaneously, or something like that. How he managed to make head-or-tails of the plot of a novel by doing that I've no idea. I guess it works for memorizing the telephone directory and things like that though. I don't think I'm anything like as impaired as that, at least not inside my head I'm not, not sure what kind of impression I'm making on other people outside of my head, it's all very confusing.

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#11 [url]

Aug 17 16 11:59 AM

Xora wrote:
I don't think I'm anything like as impaired as that, at least not inside my head I'm not, not sure what kind of impression I'm making on other people outside of my head, it's all very confusing.

The impression you make on me is that you are a very intelligent person who thinks of yourself as a girl who was born with a penis. :-)

"I could have been wild and I could have been free 
But nature played this trick on me..."

-The Smiths

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#12 [url]

Aug 18 16 2:17 AM

Yes, I guess it depends on who you get to talk to. Coz other people would just see you as a delusional fetishist who is now too big and hairy to ever be a woman, and whose personality is decidedly unfeminine anyway. Trying to explain that your personality is just a construct you created to protect your very vulnerable inner core when you were a child, and that you aren't really like that on the inside, except that you are when you are around other people, is very difficult. Because it sounds so much like you are trying to sound like you are a professor of psychology or something, when in fact what you are trying to achieve is precisely the opposite.

It's like, you fit the stereotype in people's minds, the people who look like you are supposed to be geniuses, so you try to live up to the part and not disappoint them.
image

Then you find you can't get anyone to belive that it's basically all an act, and just because you have a good memory doesn't mean you want to get stuck working at a univesity all you life when you could be out having a lot more fun.

If you could just drop all the defenses and 'be yourself', well you'd get called a psychopath or something for being so obsessively self-centred and effectively still having the personality of a very horny teenage girl when you supposed to be an adult male.

Either way it sucks. If you tell people they are being very stupid then you must be a narcissist, but it's very hard to get through to them.

image
Take this guy, now I wouldn't go try to assasinate a president just to impress my favourite actress, though I do think she is pretty cool. Maverick, Contact, Flightplan, The Brave One, etc. etc. But having the personality of a really obsessive teenage fangirl trapped in the body of the son of a rich oil executive, well you can sort of see how xe got there. Seems kind of a waste to have had xe spend practically xir whole life in prison, diagnosed with a personality disorder, and now released to go home and live with xir mother, when xe is really just a lesbian, same as Jodie Foster herself. ;-)

image

Last Edited By: Xora Aug 18 16 3:02 AM. Edited 4 times.

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#13 [url]

Aug 18 16 3:12 PM

Autism has actually been associated with excessive testosterone in the womb, and not estrogen. In the last couple of years, I have learned enough about hormones to get me halfway through medical school.

There is no question that hormones play a major role in the development of a fetus within the womb, and that includes the neurological components. I am also pretty sure that this process is ridiculously complicated and convoluted. And the results are certainly not linear.

There is a hormonal blue print in place for each sex. In week (X) of a fetus's development a boy is supposed to get so much hormones and girl is supposed to get another recipe. And yes for a host of reasons, things don't always go perfectly in accordance with nature's plan.

But the body has feedback mechanisms, so when things go off kilter, a compensation process kicks in, and sometimes this actually leads to over compensation the other direction. So in week ten, a boy gets too much estrogen, and in week 12 he might end up with way too much testosterone. The neurological components developed in week 10 will be more feminine, and the neurological components developed in week 12 will be more masculine.

To a certain degree, I believe this happens to almost everybody, and accounts for a great deal of the diversity in the human race. But in a few cases the timing and the extent of these fluctuations lead to something classified as transgender. My suspicion is that there are several similar, but distinctive, patterns that may lead to trans feelings, but the results between these are slightly different. That is why there is no one size fits all solution for the trans. Some of those might overlap with hormonal patterns that promote autism, but I believe they are different processes.

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#15 [url]

Aug 18 16 5:12 PM

April, what you are saying about fetal development and hormones matches my understanding of it. Deborah Rudacille did a great job explaining all of this in her book "The Riddle of Gender". She also wrote a terrific article about trans/autistic people which I linked to in an earlier post in this discussion. Of course, hormonal influences in the womb affect more than just neurology. They can also cause a fetus to be born with ambiguous genitalia, face possible gender misassignment at birth and be subjected to medically unnecessary genital surgery in order to make it fit into the gender binary. Such is the shitty experience of many intersex people.

"I could have been wild and I could have been free 
But nature played this trick on me..."

-The Smiths

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#17 [url]

Aug 24 16 2:53 AM

Well basically we have the same core personality as the people that look the same as us, in terms of drives and desires and emotional responses. But certain kinds of personalities are considered more suitable for people with one kind of anatomy than they are for people with the other kind. If you have the personality of a blond bombshell type, but you are born with a penis, well you just aren't allowed to behave like that. You either have to adapt and mask your true desires, or continue behaving like that and risk being locked up as a psychopath.

So you learn to suppress your emotions, to speak only in logical sentences, to learn a lot about a particular subject, possibly in the sciences, and then you get yourself a job as a professor of something or other which gives you the opportunity to do what you actually wanted all along which was to be the center of everyones attention. Having a really good memory, which you use purely for holding information about your subject of interest and not for managing your personal life, because you don't have one, lets you appear very knowledgable at least within a narrow domain. But being a professor involves a lot more paperwork and time studying than being an actress, and you still don't get to dress up how you want, except once a year for the graduation ceremonies. You can't actually biologically put off having sex forever and if you try you just get progressively more depressed and/or absent minded as you get older. 

imageimage

Then the next generation comes along, sees that a lot of the men who look like that often turn out to be professors, and thinks that people that look like that must naturally be 'geniuses' or something, and if they happen to produce a son that looks like that, well they should strongly encourage them to become an academic and strongly discourage them from pursuing their other main interests, such as chasing after boys when they are teenagers. So the cycle continues on down the generations...

You try to turn around and say, "Well I might look and sound like a stereotypical absent-minded professor type, but I'm actually just a girl and I always was, as probably so were they..", and you get the response that you must be crazy, because everyone knows that the people like you are professors, and anyway you have those XY chromosomes etc. so you must be a man.

image

(Never mind that people only nowadays know about things like XY chromosomes because of all those other people who were forced to become professors, going way back to people like Gregor Mendel who first worked out the principles of heredity, who was someone like me, who became a monk because he was someone who looked like one of those people that became monks, and the lifestyle actually suited his personality quite well, and he got to wear robes and potter about in the abbey garden doing experiments on pea plants, instead of being expected to 'do a mans job'.) That's the trouble, really, they only know half the biology and they will use the half that they do know against you and not listen to you when you try to explain to them the half that they don't know. 

An ovum fertilised with sperm containing Y chromosome -> SRY gene -> ambiguous gonads become testes -> testes emit hormones -> homones dictate the structure of the brain -> the structure of the brain creates the personality / body language / desires / drives / emotional responses.

Well anyway, people who look like me are girls in terms of personality, whatever our chromosomes, because it isn't the presence or absense of particular chromosomes in our adult bodies that controls our personalities or sexual drives and responses.

Well I'm glad that someone like Kim Petras has the chance to be the next Katy Perry, and that people are actually allowed to behave like that nowadays. ;-)
image

Last Edited By: Xora Aug 30 16 9:49 AM. Edited 3 times.

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#18 [url]

Aug 24 16 6:58 AM

Xora wrote:
Well basically we have the same core personality as the people that look the same as us, in terms of drives and desires and emotional responses. But certain kinds of personalities are considered more suitable for people with one kind of anatomy than they are for people with the other kind. If you have the personality of a blond bombshell type, but you are born with a penis, well you just aren't allowed to behave like that. You either have to adapt and mask your true desires, or continue behaving like that and risk being locked up as a psychopath.


"If you have the personality of a blond bombshell type, but you are born with a penis, well you just aren't allowed to behave like that. " 
This isn't true, many gay men I've met are this way, at least part of the time. Tongue

Even if they weren't allowed to behave like that in their families and childhood communities, they found places and ways to do this. Some of them are called drag queens, and even get to have their own TV shows here in the States, e.g. Ru Paul (who is not blonde, but you get the point). Some drag queens even get to become university professors— I've met a couple.

Plus, blonde bombshell is a gender performance, not a personality. It's a performance of heterosexual hyper-femininity, a feminine archetype.

I think it's a fallacy to assume your personal experience and history is the personal experience of other people on the spectrum, or even other trans or gender variant people.
If you experience yourself to be a girl or woman who was born with XY chromosomes and a male body, that's a classic transgender story— it's what has motivated lots of people to transition— but it is not necessarily the story of other transgender people, neuroatypical or neurotypical. Trans people and autistic spectrum people are very diverse.

The tricky part is to find a way to create a life where you don't have to keep important parts of yourself hidden in the shadows away from other people. That can be a very longterm project.

Edit: this new article appeared in my Facebook feed a couple of months ago, yet another article concerning gender variance and autism.

"I could have been wild and I could have been free 
But nature played this trick on me..."

-The Smiths

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#20 [url]

Aug 29 16 6:32 PM

blackandmagenta wrote:
I think I have some autistic traits, and some people have wondered before if I'm on the spectrum (including relatives), but I'm neurotypical as far as everyone and myself know.

Everyone has traits that could be considered "autistic"— they are just a bunch of human behavioral, cognitive, expressive, emotional, relational and sensory traits. If you have enough of them, and they are pervasive and pronounced enough, and if they have also made your life difficult or limited, then it's possible that you are on what's called the "autism spectrum" these days. It's more than just being quirky or eccentric or obsessive.

I wouldn't have bothered to seek out confirmation from an expert as to whether or not I was on the spectrum if it hadn't been a truly serious situation.

"I could have been wild and I could have been free 
But nature played this trick on me..."

-The Smiths

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