I’m autistic, I was diagnosed at 41. I spent a lot of my teens, in the 90s, thinking I was ‘born in the wrong body’ and a man, really, because I didn’t fit in, I didn’t see myself in other women, I think literally and in black and white (if I am not this one thing, I must be the other).
It hurts me to think of autistic girls now feeling the same yet being encouraged to take a path of transition without being helped to understand themselves as autistic.
Diagnosis rates for women and girls on the autistic spectrum remain very low; there may be significant numbers of undiagnosed girls heading for or in treatment. I am deeply concerned by Olsen’s concept of ‘transing away autism’. Autism is a lifelong different way of being. To say it can be cured by transition does an enormous disservice to young people, who will still operate differently in the world after transition, and plays into a cure rhetoric which is deeply damaging for autistic people globally.
I have questioned on social media, led threads on a discussion board, answered surveys and written to my MP (Lisa Nandy, awaiting response). I feel guilty I do not do more but I get a lot of support from the online autistic community and am afraid of losing that.
I have been criticised on Twitter for ‘liking’ posts.
SJD, Autistic woman