The Need For Autistic and NeuroDivergent Authenticity

Authenticity is defined by Dictionary . com as “not false or copied, genuine, or real.”

As a Queer, multiply NeuroDivergent human, I have spent enough time living in closets and suppressing myself to know that the keys to my own personal happiness have been found in learning to live authentically and freely as an Autistic and NeuroDivergent and Queer adults.


Hi, Internet Humans. Welcome back.

NeuroRebel here. This week, we’re going to talk about Autism and authenticity, and why it’s important for Autistic people to be able to be their most authentic, autistically fabulously, NeuroDivergent, selves.

So if you want to know more, please do stay tuned.

Authenticity is defined by Dictionary . com as “not false or copied, genuine, or real.”

As a Queer, multiply NeuroDivergent human, I have spent enough time living in closets and suppressing myself to know that the keys to my own personal happiness have been found in learning to live authentically and freely as an Autistic and NeuroDivergent and Queer adults.

I, unfortunately, will never forget the time that I spent rejecting who I really was as a person.

I’m never going to go back to living the way I lived before.

To quote Berne Brown from her book, The Gifts of Imperfection – recommended reading lists. Definitely add that to yours, if you haven’t read it already.

“FItting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need in order to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.”

But living authentically as a NeuroDivergent person, isn’t always easy in a society that is constantly pushing you to be someone else.

It requires those of us who are NeuroDivergent to take great risks in order to come out and be vulnerable with disclosing information that could potentially work against, or be used against us, depending on the circumstances.

What do you mean? How could this information be used against you? Aren’t you legally protected, as a class of people for having a disability?

That’s, unfortunately, not the reality and how this works.

There are some jobs and careers and professions where knowing that you are NeuroDivergent could prevent you from progressing in your career the way you should, or certain careers may be off limits to you.  I’ve met people who’ve had this happen to them personally. 

Also, I have met Autistic parents who have had their Autism diagnosis used against them in family court and child custody cases. So being able to be open is a privilege for this and many other reasons.

There’s a lot of stigma, unfortunately, even today. This comes from the medical practices and medicalization, and medical language, and pathologization of Autistic and NeuroDivergent  minds and NeuroDivergent people.

For example, we’ve got therapeutic service providers- I should put therapy in air quotes- that are targeting Autistic people and their caregivers.

They’re often very heavily focused on modifying the behaviors of Autistic people and superficial presentations of Autistic people. They want to camouflage, us in order to help us meet the current expectations of neuro-typical society, instead of flexing the systems to accommodate and include NeuroDivergent people.

Historically,  this message has been sent that Autistic behaviors are the problem.

There have been therapies that have been heavily focused on eliminating Autistic behavior and normalizing Autistic people, despite large amounts of outcry from Autistic people,  that many of these therapies that are very heavily in commonly touted as these miracle “cures” or “normalizers” of Autistic People are very harmful.

Because these therapies and service providers are multi-billion dollar industries, it’s very hard for a group of people, who are often multiply-marginalized,  disabled,Autistic People, and NeuroDivergent People, to fight back against these multi-billion dollar companies and these big lobbies, because, ironically, thanks to a lot of these therapies, many of us are not doing well and are underemployed and living below the poverty line.

The goal to modify Autistic People’s behavior, in favor of behavior that’s not natural to an Autistic Person is contradictory to what would be needed for any human to be able to live an authentic lifestyle, which is something that all humans need and crave in order to be successful. We need to be accepted, and appreciated as we are – met where we are for who we are and then that leaves room for growth on top of that.

But we cannot grow if we are constantly being stunted.

As a Queer NeuroDivergent person, I feel it is important for me to take this opportunity to mention that ABA, one of the therapies that is often pushed on parents, through fear-mongering tactics saying “They need to have early intervention, and you must act right now! There’s no time to waste!” or “You’re losing time!”

Has ties to gay conversion therapy, and uses similar methods that were used to make LGBTQIA kids “less Queer” air quotes again, and “make Autistic kids  seem less Autistic” and has goals to help the child appear more normal.

Even though many people now accept that these therapies are harmful to LGBTQIA people, ABA is still widely recommended by doctors and medical providers as “treatment for autism”, despite evidence that conversion therapy programs can instill feelings of rejection within children and can be extremely harmful to people.

It is not ethical to prioritize normalization over a Queer or NeuroDivergent person’s mental health and wellbeing.

Google the Feminine Boy Project if you want to know more and Ivaar are Lovaas, to go into a deep dark wormhole.

I’ve also talked about this and then another video, I’ll try to remember to link that somewhere, if executive functioning allows, when I am later posting this video. I might forget.

The medicalization, and pathologization of Autistic People, means that there has been a message that NeuroDivergent people are broken.  This has, unfortunately, permeated society so deeply that even those of us who were late discovered, and were lucky enough to miss the formal 40 hour a week interventions, may still have learned to mask or camouflage or hide our NeuroDivergent traits, unconsciously or consciously, in an attempt to blend in and avoid abuse and bullying from people in society.

And that’s because when NeuroDivergent people are from, in speaking up for their needs for self care, just because we’re trying to survive here, we’re often scolded for being difficult or “complaining too much about small things” or we’re “making a big deal out of little things that nobody else is complaining about.”

Can you tell, I’ve heard these things a few times?

Some of us need more downtime to recover from the neuro-typical world. 

We may be called lazy. If we need more time to rest and we’re unable to go out and socialize, when we’re feeling down or burnt out.

Because apparently that’s how some people recharge is going out and socializing and doing things, but that’s not recharging or reinvigorating to me. I need to unplug and do things a bit differently. What’s it like for you? Tell me.

For many of us, even without knowing we’re NeuroDivergent, we will still learn to avoid appearing different hiding our authentic selves and our NeuroDivergence.

This is called masking.  I’ve covered this topic before on a few other videos. Please do check those out.

If you search for masking on the NeuroDivergent Rebel Blog, or on the YouTube channel, it’s pretty easy to find these previous resources.

I might try and remember to link those. Like I said, I may not remember. My apologies if I don’t remember to link those resources below.

The main thing I would like for you to understand about masking, in NeuroDivergent people, is that not all NeuroDivergent People can or do mask, but for those of us who have learned how to hide our Divergent traits, many of us say that this comes at a very heavy cost.

It can take a toll on us mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Being someone else is exhausting. Pretending to be another NeuroType is a nightmare.

Teaching autistic people to pretend to be not Autistic is like telling us who we are naturally, isn’t good enough, and that we need to try harder to be more like someone else.

That’s not going to be good for anybody’s mental health.

Okay Humans, thank you so much for coming and watching this week’s video, talking about why Autistic and NeuroDivergent authenticity is so important for those of us whose minds work differently.

We need to be empowered to embrace ourselves – our strengths, our weaknesses, our needs, and live truly open and authentic Autistic and NeuroDivergent lifestyles.

This has been something that’s been the key to getting my life back on track, since finding out I was autistic at the age of 29, almost over four and a half years ago now.

Wow. Time flies.

It was diagnosed because I was living very inauthentically and had burnt myself out.  It wasn’t the first time in my life I’d burnt myself out, either.

One of the first clear burnouts I can remember I was 11.

I’ve burnt myself out many times in my life, because of holding myself to neuro-typical standards, camouflaging my weaknesses, and, essentially, forcing myself to be a square peg mashed through around hole.

I’m not doing it anymore.

Thank you so much for hanging out with me this week.

I am truly grateful for each and every one of you for being here.

If you have a video suggestion, topic, idea, or question, be sure to drop those in the comments below, because I do want to great videos and talk about things that actually interest and help you.

Also a extra special thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you… to the YouTube subscribers, Patreon subscribers, and the Facebook subscribers who do that little extra to do that monetary subscription to help create these videos for the NeuroRebel blog, with awesome captions and transcripts and the quality. I could not  create content of this quality without you.

I’m  incredibly grateful for the help that you give.

Actually, I’m grateful for everyone who’s here. Whether you are subscribing or sharing, liking, commenting, giving your ideas and feedback.

You are a huge part of this conversation and it couldn’t be, and wouldn’t be happening without you. So thank you all for being here.

I will talk to you next week. Bye humans.


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With gratitude, – Lyric

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