Queering Autism
WHAT THE FUCK

tal9000:

eateroftrees:

I keep trying to read that article reviewing Simon Baron-Cohen’s book and get like, two paragraphs further before I come across something mind-blowingly ignorant I want to throw the book across the room. Except it’s a review of the book, and the review’s okay :P  The book is the problem.

Like holy gods he said we don’t need to bother diagnosing autistic women because they can act better. WHAT THE FUCK.

Oh wow. What the fuck.

eateroftrees:

pianycist

replied to your

post

: WHAT THE FUCK

Also, a consequence of “autism = super male brain” is “no such thing as feminine autistic trans or cis women” which is definitely false. Not that autistic people get to have self-determination of their own genders, acc. to SBC. x_x

Yep I was writing that rant just when you were saying that.

I’ve noticed he’s done studies of autistic trans men (HORRIBLY CISSEXIST STUDIES but yeah) because, oh hey those support his ideas! …the fact that there might be a higher than normal number of autistic trans men supporting his claims is, of course, sort of undermined by the fact that there are autistic trans women at all, let alone that there may also be a higher than expected number of us, too.

(I don’t have solid statistics on this; unfortunately.  Part of the problem when 95% of autism research is incredibly ableist and 95% of science about trans people is horribly cissexist is that there’s a bit of a lack of information here. >.<)

soilrockslove:

anarchoautie:

politeyeti:

abigq:

eateroftrees:

allies-person:

And even if his findings were reasonably accurate, that still would not validate the “extreme male brain theory.” It might just mean, for instance, that autistic people are more likely to be LGTBQIA, which…

Duyukdv: “Reblogging for commentary, and general interest in the subject. Bolded a bit I really identify with, as well. It’s still hard for me to tell if I’m agender, or just something else entirely. Actually, I was in my 20s before I realized that most people really do have some internal sense of gender. I could tell there was something I just wasn’t understanding there, and didn’t go off into the whole obnoxious “totally socially constructed figment of the imagination” thing—but either readily available option seemed like a giraffe or something to me. (Also reminded: had one hell of a time with the power hierarchies I ran into later, actually, with basically no emphasis on that when I was a little kid. Still do, though I understand they exist. Your “respect” is not my respect, no.)”

Yeah, I’ve noticed the pattern too.  It makes sense that if you’re not inclined to get your brain impressed into your brain, hard… that it would apply to a few other categories of how things are “supposed to be done”.

I also am trans*-y.  I’ve had certain experiences with my body that match up with “male” body parts, although I’m also generally content.

I don’t know if this makes me an androgyne or a kind of trans-man or a semi-man kind of woman, though. And I’m not sure I “get” gender as something divorced from bodies and feelings in general.  So maybe I don’t have such a good grasp of this whole gender thing anyway. :)

Response to the post about the CAFAB->Men and Autism article

alexthefab:

nowisgreater:

[snipped earlier discussion]

The fact that there was a trans woman involved makes NO FUCKING DIFFERENCE when the results were such transphobic shit as “trans men are silly deluded girls who think that because they’re not pretty princesses they must be boys”. From her “warning”, it sounds like she fully believes that trans guys who are autistic or leaning towards autistic are not really trans, but just confused (much like many older trans people, both men and women, insist that younger trans people are just doing it to be trendy).

Fuck that - I was and always will be a pretty princess. And all my friends are girls.

I think this is the article.

This shit is transphobic AND ableist/anti-autism at the same time. What even…? Are trans guys now required to pass as neurotypical in order to access hormones?

I hate to say this, but I’ve heard stories of therapists specializing in providing sign off for people looking to undergo transition telling a person they had to stop doing certain things to get sign off- all of which were Autism related traits. (If you have an experience with this, please do submit. If you’d like to do so Anonymously, send us an Ask.)

Response to the post about the CAFAB->Men and Autism article

nowisgreater:

politeyeti:

nicocoer:

BILL 55 minutes ago

I agree with your thoughts on a flawed study. Baron-Cohen’s own orginzation, The Autism Research Centre (ARC) states “it is recognized that at best the AQ is a screening instrument - it is not itself diagnostic.”

The article from Cambridge First omitted the important last paragraph from the original press release full News Release here 

Emma Martin, a co-author, is a transwoman and psychotherapist. She gives the only real caution in the article: “This new research reminds us that gender incongruence is incredibly complex. Every possibility should be discussed with new clients, but should not delay what can be a painfully slow process for those affected.”

Bill then provided a link which didn’t work to another press release, and I couldn’t retrace it either. 

I would like to see this, as well as hear what people know of Emma Martin and her professional history.

I also personally find it a bit problematic that they had a trans woman on staff (apparently as a representative for trans people in general), when the study was about trans men. While I very strongly believe all trans people have similar struggles and we’re fighting the same fight in the end, the lived experience of being a trans woman is different than being a trans man is different than being either CAFAB or CAMAB genderqueer/agender/something else entirely.

The fact that there was a trans woman involved makes NO FUCKING DIFFERENCE when the results were such transphobic shit as “trans men are silly deluded girls who think that because they’re not pretty princesses they must be boys”. From her “warning”, it sounds like she fully believes that trans guys who are autistic or leaning towards autistic are not really trans, but just confused (much like many older trans people, both men and women, insist that younger trans people are just doing it to be trendy).

politeyeti:

nicocoer:

Cambridge: “Female-to-male transsexuals could be more autistic”

 

FEMALE-to-male transsexuals have a higher than average number of autistic traits, a new study from Cambridge University has found.

The study, published today in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, has important implications for the clinical management for girls with gender ambiguity that persists into adulthood, and for the ‘extreme male brain theory’ of autism.

The researchers measured autistic traits using the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) and compared scores from five groups: 61 transmen, 198 transwomen: 76 typical males; 98 typical females; and 125 individuals with Asperger Syndrome.

They found transmen - female-to-male transsexuals - had a hiver avergae AQ than the other groups, but lower than those with Asperger Syndrome.

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Centre at University of Cambridge, led the study with Rebecca Jones, now at Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences.

Professor Baron-Cohen said: “Girls with a higher than average number level of autistic traits tend to have male-typical interests, showing a preference for systems over emotions.

“They prefer not to socialise with typical girls because they have different interests, and because typical girls on average have more advanced social skills. Both of these factors may lead girls with a higher number of autistic traits to socialize with boys, to believe they have a boy’s mind in a girl’s body, and to attribute their unhappiness to being a girl.”

Rebecca Jones added: “If such girls do believe they have a boy’s mind in a girl’s body, their higher than average number of autistic traits may also mean they hold their beliefs very strongly, and pursue them to the logical conclusion: opting for sex reassignment surgery in adulthood.”

The study was funded by the Medical Research Council.

Thoughts? There’s a couple of places where I’m going “ick,” particularly the comments about the implications. then again, Let’s look at who was leading the study. Oh, yes, Simon Baron-Cohen, who is particularly gender essentialist about traits and has all sorts of gender fail of both the sexism and cissexism sort. :-/

Everything about this is ick to me. I actually agree with the poorly-stated premise—I think there’s a lot of legit research to be done in gender ID, socialization, and diagnosis. SBC is the very last person I would choose for that research.

First, it uses the AQ, which is not validated by any normal sense of the word. SBC has hand-picked items that he believes represent (masculine, systems-based, introverted) stereotypes of ASDs and hand-picked largely male test groups. Most of the questions are ambiguously worded and the structure is not actually particularly conducive to any sort of real screening. When these autistic men scored highly on a test designed for them to score highly, he declared it a validated success and has gone about using it to, er, “prove” stuff ever since.

Second, gender fail. Trans men are men. They are not girls who socialized poorly with other girls and so got it into their silly little heads they must be boys instead. Fuck you, SBC. FUCK. YOU. Oh, and Rebecca Jones, I would like to add an extra special FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKER just for you and your bullshit statements. I don’t have a long history of hating you, but I see one blossoming in our future together.

Third, the AQ doesn’t have any items I can recall about holding beliefs strongly or in a fixated way, so the assumption that because trans men score higher on it than might otherwise be expected it means: 1. they’re a little autistic, and 2. that they would hold beliefs strongly (because it’s a stereotype of autism) is profoundly wrong.

In conclusion, I believe sixth graders who have just learned the hypothesis-experiment-results concept of basic science could design better, more replicable studies than SBC.

allies-person:

anarchoautie:

fyprivilegedenyingsbc:

[Picture: Background: 8 piece pie style color split with red and teal  alternating. Foreground: White guy wearing a sweat shirt over a button  down. Has crossed arms, and Simon Baron-Cohen’s head replaces the  original model’s. Top text: ” You’re autistic? ” Bottom text: ” I’ll decide your gender identity for you “]

ohhhh snap. I am loving this. And to think it started with Savannah suggesting a little bit of image manipulation…

I made this one, so I might as well reblog it.  Gotta love the SBC mockery.

I forget if we posted this yet&#8230;

allies-person:

anarchoautie:

fyprivilegedenyingsbc:

[Picture: Background: 8 piece pie style color split with red and teal alternating. Foreground: White guy wearing a sweat shirt over a button down. Has crossed arms, and Simon Baron-Cohen’s head replaces the original model’s. Top text: ” You’re autistic? ” Bottom text: ” I’ll decide your gender identity for you “]

ohhhh snap. I am loving this. And to think it started with Savannah suggesting a little bit of image manipulation…

I made this one, so I might as well reblog it.  Gotta love the SBC mockery.

I forget if we posted this yet…

eateroftrees:

freckledbuzzkill:

duyukdv:

anarchoautie:

politeyeti:

abigq:

eateroftrees:

allies-person:

And even if his findings were reasonably accurate, that still would not validate the “extreme male brain theory.” It might just mean, for instance, that autistic people are more likely to be…

Reblogging to add my own two cents to this fantastic conversation….

I’m FAAB (female assigned at birth) and I identify as a transman. I was diagnosed with high functioning Asperger’s Syndrome in 1991 when I was 2 and 1/2 years old. I’m now 22.

I think the reason why a lot of people seem surprised by the possible trans*/aspie connection is because for many reasons, even now, a lot of representation from the autistic spectrum come from people who either aren’t on the spectrum (parents, doctors, etc) or the only news coverage comes from people who have severe autism and may not be able to communicate their feelings to the neurotypical world.

It’s nearly impossible (it seems to me, correct me if I’m mistaken) to find other people or groups outside the internet for trans* aspies. 

I would think that trans* identified people can as easily be neurotypical as they can easily be on the autistic spectrum. I would love to see research be done on this topic because knowledge is power and it would bring gender identity to light for millions of people who would normally categorized by society as asexual and/cis gender because of their different abilities.

I really have no idea what the statistics are, there seems to be a lot of overlap but I have no idea how it actually plays out.  (And I mean, I’m pretty suspicious of the statistics for gender and autism too, actually; especially because of how much stereotypes play into it and the fact that there appears to be a lot of overlap with other conditions that seems like would make it easy to have obvious biases in who gets diagnosed with what.)

I think the problem with finding supports for autistic trans people is just the same problems of finding support for trans people and for autistic people; I’ve had terrible luck with both and offline I only know maybe three trans people only one of whom I see at all frequently.

Addendum to latest SBC rant

duyukdv:

anarchoautie:

politeyeti:

abigq:

eateroftrees:

allies-person:

And even if his findings were reasonably accurate, that still would not validate the “extreme male brain theory.”  It might just mean, for instance, that autistic people are more likely to be LGTBQIA, which is likely.  Doesn’t mean a damned thing about so-called “extreme male brains.”

That… would actually make a lot of sense.

One of my friends was told that apparently a large number of trans people are autistic.

And I know I’ve met a ton of trans people who were diagnosed with autism.

I would not be AT ALL surprised if there were some variety of corrolation there.  (Though I have really no idea why there would be.)

One potential reason could be that we don’t internalise as much (as in: we may have learned the forms but the forms are what we do, not who we are), so while the prevalence of transness may be the same in auties as in others but it comes to the fore more easily (as we still consider much of the forms of interaction we have learned as fairly arbitrary and something that exists by convention)?

I consider my own variety of genderqueer transness to be at least partly related to my inability to pick up on social conventions without sustained effort. I guess child-me figured that conversational patterns and power heirarchies were more important to learn than gender rules, which probably wasn’t a bad thing! My body dysphoria is its own component as well, but there’s definitely an element of my just not getting gender. I respect that other people strongly ID as men, women, and a variety of other things, but find my own identity to be somewhere totally foreign to the whole system. In turn, it means I’m not really bothered by pronouns because I don’t understand the underlying assumptions attached to them.

I seriously plan to do serious research about this as a doctor in the future. I’m extremely interested in what seems to be the overrepresentation of all types of queers in the adult autism community (at least online).

Cis here, but I do like the commentary on this post and think it should continue circulating. Also I would definitely be interested in seeing the results of that research.

Reblogging for commentary, and general interest in the subject. Bolded a bit I really identify with, as well. It’s still hard for me to tell if I’m agender, or just something else entirely. Actually, I was in my 20s before I realized that most people really do have some internal sense of gender. I could tell there was something I just wasn’t understanding there, and didn’t go off into the whole obnoxious “totally socially constructed figment of the imagination” thing—but either readily available option seemed like a giraffe or something to me. (Also reminded: had one hell of a time with the power hierarchies I ran into later, actually, with basically no emphasis on that when I was a little kid. Still do, though I understand they exist. Your “respect” is not my respect, no.)

eateroftrees:

nicocoer:

eateroftrees:

nicocoer:

Nico: Reading a conversation about Autism Characteristics and

eateroftrees:

nicocoer:

[…]

There was also the weird thing where I felt like my interests had to be “computers” or “math” and couldn’t be what I was actually interested in (I actually am not that interested in computers themselves, for example; I’m interested in what I can do on them.) which is just as much transness as autism.

[…]

[…]

(A little different tangent: I’m a little confused about the transness thing here? you mean, the gender stereotypes of interests etc? )

Yeah; I mentioned it in a previous post too; which I think I may have assumed you read.  Anyway, I got a lot of messages that I was supposed to be interested in like, math and computers and kind of got this message that i wasn’t supposed to be interested in people and wasn’t supposed to have (or like having) emotions and other kind of stereotypes of autism.  Which also served to function as oppressive masculinity and like… BUT YOU MUST BE MALE and other grossness that, well, I found gross.  Because I’m trans.

So like… there was a period where I was completely convinced I wasn’t autistic because I had autism associated in my head with certain stereotypes of masculinity—which are also stereotypes of autism, which is unsurprising considering how much the two overlap in the public consciousness—that I hated.  Because they were male.  And maleness is gross.

(And I’m not sure that reaction will make any sense to a cis person.  But um. Yeah.)

Like I had the “obsessive interests” associated specifically with very stereotypically male obsessions (math, computer science, trains) and not what I tend to like, which is less gender specific or conceptualized as feminine.  Like, artistic things. Music or writing mostly. Like, my interest in computer programming for instance was never an interest in programming as it’s own end, it was always as a medium for creating games.

And my parents had a tendency to only encourage the non-artistic things so I thought those were my interests and went through a period of rejecting them. When they never really have been interests on their own.

Um.

Does that make any sense?

Oh, yeah, that totally makes sense. We deal with the outcomes of this stereotype over at AWN a lot actually… I just wasn’t connecting them properly in my brain (I’ve been going DOCTORWHODOCTORWHO and drumming and whistling the theme for like 24 hours and I’m still coming down from that.) and stuff. 

Re: the “but my interests aren’t sterotypically autistic!” thing, A year or two ago this was a big talking think whenever I talked to Corina Becker, Sandy Yim, or (To a lesser extent) Katie Miller. Corina is rather sci-fi fantasy geeky and a writer, Sandy LOVES DOGS, and Katie is a professional artist (whose obsession with Art puts my obsessions all to shame for reals.) and both of them had gotten a lot of “But those aren’t usual autistic interests!” stuff. Because certain interests get gendered a certain way, interests like Animals, Writing/reading, and the Arts don’t fit with the “Male Brain” BS or a lot of the literature (based on studies of “boys”- we don’t know their actual gender IDs, but CASAB is usually what a lot of these studies use.) on Autism. 

I have something I’m PMing you, hold on.

Right yeah definitely.  The male brain stuff is SO MUCH BS it’s like… My autistic traits to me seem soooo obviously feminine and girly and like… I’ll start bouncing a lot if I’m excited and randomly jump around my apartment and like… yeah.

It’s so obvious to me that the “Male brain” stuff is someone paying too much attention to stereotypes and not enough attention to the actual people with autism.  Like I mean seriously.  If the obsession is about art it doesn’t look masculine AT ALL.  And like the stimming behavior was what I started playing up when I wanted to be more girly.  So yeah. (I’m really bouncy)

And I’m certainly not emotionless :P …if I sit really still when I’m experiencing strong emotions it’s not because I’m feeling nothing :P

(Also the best part about the male brain BS: According to SBC’s own rubrics, less than half of women have a female brain.  The fact that he doesn’t see this as a problem should be the nail in the coffin of his scientific credibility.)