"Children who believe they are transgender 'could have autism', says controversial expert"
Ok so... it's not that this guy is wrong that it angers me, it's that he has it backwards. Here is what it should say:
"Children who have autism are more likely to believe they are transgender."
Do you see the difference?
Let me explain. Keep in mind that these will be generalizations so when I say "children with autism", in your head, think "many people," not "all."
Disconnect from Societal "Norms"
Children with autism are already largely disconnected from the rest of society. That is to say, they tend to feel like an outsider. But this isn't just isolated to small talk and social situations. For many people with autism, "norms" are anything but normal. We understand that My Little Pony is geared towards girls but don't really get why boys should be embarrassed or teased about liking them.
So with this disconnect, children with autism are already resistant to the programming or brainwashing that comes at them from all directions since birth. The "little princess" comments for girls, the "boys will be boys" comments for boys and so forth. When you really think about it, boys are programmed to be boys and girls are programmed to be girls from birth onward... they're not encouraged to think as just a child so much as a specifically gendered child. Autistic children don't generally think this way no matter how much outside sources try to force them to.
This means that they grow up feeling more like how they truly feel rather than how they think they are supposed to feel based on societal input.
Disconnect between mind and body
Secondly, having autism causes a disconnect within oneself just as much as a disconnect with everyone else. That is to say, our minds don't have the same relationship with our body as most other people might. Hygiene doesn't hold the same priority. What we look like to others doesn't hold the same importance.
You don't generally hear autistic people say is "I know it like the back of my hand" because we typically don't have a clue what the back of our hand looks like. It's not important to us, it serves no purpose knowing and so it takes up no space in our memory. We look in the mirror less, we look our own bodies less. We spend less time worrying about it.
This disconnect does serve one great purpose... when our mind is separate from our body, we're more free to recognize that our body isn't the right body. When we think and feel in the way a specific gender thinks and feels, and we look down and see we are not that gender, we recognize the problem.
All of this is actually remarkable to think about because if you look back 20, 50, 100 or more years... this just didn't happen. Even so little as 20 years ago, most people weren't even being diagnosed with autism simply because there wasn't enough experts that could recognize it much less diagnose it.
To think about being gay or gender fluid or gender neutral... it wasn't very many years ago where, if you weren't straight... then... tough! You basically never told anyone because no one else ever did and even if you did, there was nothing you could do about it. There certainly weren't any sex change operations to speak of.
But today, anyone not feeling they truly belong in their own skin can see other people that are famous or friends or even family who are embracing who they are even if it means going through a sex change procedure. They see those people and then look at themselves and finally understand what they've been feeling! They look at those people who are doing something about it and they realize that they can do something about it too! That's powerful.
Back to that opening statement
So this guy in this article, he has it backwards. But even my own adjustment to his statement isn't entirely accurate. You see, I believe a lot of people, whether autistic or not, are gay, or gender fluid, or gender neutral or transgender... it's just that autistic people could be more likely to recognize that, or at least recognize it sooner, simply due to their mind/body disconnect and the fact that they're less likely to be programmed into social norms.
It's not that autistic people are more likely to be LGBTQ, it's that they're more likely to recognize it and believe it and admit it.
When you think of it in those terms, this is a good thing. A very good thing. Because now is the time when the technology and the information and the freedom is available to truly be who they were meant to be.