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Escaping the Autism Closet – A NeuroQueer Journey

Like with many things, being Autistic means that I don’t fit into the box. I make my own box. I am the square peg that can’t be put through the round hole without damaging the peg and my experience of gender is no different.

I am Autistic & I am also trans. I do not identify as male or female.

I am someone who floats in the in-between. My gender is less clearly defined, & neat. It is fluid, & can flux & wave.

I am like the tides, pulled by the moon, as my gender flows back and forth inside me.

Nobody can see the shifting and swirling inside, unless I choose to express it outwardly, but I can feel the pulling and the flexing that has been happening for most of my life.

I knew at the age of four or five that I wasn’t a girl, but could not articulate why I knew what I knew, and the world told me I was a girl and had to get used to that somehow.

I also knew around that same time that I wasn’t like the other kids, but not knowing I was NeuroDivergent, also meant not having the language to describe that experience – & falsely believing that I was a lazy, inferior, NeuroTypical child – holding myself to those standards.

I held myself to NeuroTypical standards, forcing myself to fit into their boxs, at the expense of my own mental and physical health.

I held myself to cis, heteronormative standards, feeling like I was living a lie, pretending to be someone I wasn’t for the comfort of others.

I hid for safety, to blend in, and not make waves. I hid to avoid being the target of bulling and harassment – though bullies still seemed to find me.

That’s what happens when you grow up in a violent and hostile place, when you feel you don’t belong and are forced to the peripheries of society.

Being invisible was safer than standing out, so I did my best to be invisible – and it almost killed me.

Eventually, I got to a point where I couldn’t do it anymore. I came to a place where I could no longer maintain the complex social mask that had protected me for most of my life, and when it all fell apart, and I found myself in a place of crisis, I was diagnosed Autistic.

Then it was time for the real work to begin – the removal of the mask, and the beginning of asking myself what I really wanted and if my motivations were my own, or for the benefit of other people.

As the NeuroDivergent mask began to fall, so did the mask I had built around my gender, eventually leading me to coming out nonbinary during the summer of 2020.

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With gratitude, Lyric

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