Self-Identifying as Autistic

flowers, Philadelphia, arbor

A lot of folks reached out about how my post on self-identifying as Autistic resonated with them. I support self-identification fully, and after weighing the pros and cons, I decided to move forward with a formal evaluation.

I know in my heart I’m Autistic, and I wanted to learn more through the diagnosis process. This is despite understanding that much of the assessment process is flawed, especially for a nonbinary adult. And knowing that the real validation will be found in forming community with other Autistics.

This comes with a lot of privileges. Being able to afford it, for one. And feeling safe enough to not have to closet my identities. Trans people who are Autistic often have their identity undermined because of their diagnosis, which can lead to the denial of access to necessary medical care and gender-affirming surgeries.

I’ve been immersing myself in writing and videos by Autistics. Finding community online with others who discovered this part about themselves in their adulthood. And realizing the trans to Autistic pipeline (and vice versa) is more common than folks think. Research has shown that Autistic people are 3 to 6 times more likely to be “gender diverse” than allistic people.

Devon Price, who is releasing a book called Unmasking Autism, writes on Medium about how “A diagnosis doesn’t make you Autistic, just as a gender dysphoric disorder diagnosis never was what made anybody trans. Get the slip of paper if you need it and can afford it, by all means, but systems that understand us as broken should never define us.”

I believe I belong in the neurodiverse community. It’s another space I’ve found where I feel at home.

All of that being said, I’m once again exploring the grey area and trying to not judge myself too harshly for doing what feels right for me at this moment. I’m grateful to have found a LGBTQIA+ friendly professional who is an Autistic parent with an Autistic child to guide me through the evaluation process. I’m looking forward to spending our 3-year-old’s nap time immersing myself in answering 388 questions this afternoon, before being tested next month.

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