Today, as an autistic, gender or nonbinary person, Sullivan is comfortable in her own skin, but her childhood was challenging.
“I felt like I was constantly failing, like I couldn’t do it. I had a kind of inner breakdown,” she said.
Sullivan hopes society will become more accepting and accepting of people with autism. She has two children who are both on the spectrum.
“One of their common behaviors is yelling and waving and rocking. It’s like, ‘They’re fine. They’re happy. ‘Leave me alone.’ . I wish there was less judgment about it and more curiosity and interest,” she said.
She says the autistic brain is neither a problem nor something to fear. increase.
Many experts say the psychology that Sullivan points to may contribute to the overlap between autism and gender identity.
“People with autism take in and process social information somewhat differently than neurotypical people,” says John Strang, director of the Gender and Autism Program at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. said. Against societal expectations, this means that they may not be bound by social gender roles.
Janssen agrees. An autistic person would say, “This doesn’t make sense to me. This is not my experience.”
That’s also true of Izzy Dyer sitting in San Francisco’s Buena Vista Park.
“There’s something about having a place on the spectrum and feeling cut off from the world, but just being here no matter what makes my skin tough.”
Dier says her unique brain and gender fluidity are her greatest gifts.
For many clinicians who treat nonbinary or transgender people with autism, the causes behind their unique life experiences are not critical to providing excellent care.
“Ultimately, it’s about enabling people to make choices and live self-actualized lives where they can effectively communicate those choices,” says Janssen. “We need a healthcare system that can meet any need.”