Is there a link between autism and being trans?
Yes, there is.....we are in the scary part of the process where there is lots of denial and misinformation around the issues. A lot of research has been going on in Cambridge University UK by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen. Its quite a common comorbidity yet those individuals who deal with both issues are undiagnosed a lot of the time because transgender is identified first. Dealing with trans issues covers up the autism traits, and of course, the gatekeepers are only focusing on one problem.
A lot of autism in adults is misdiagnosed with differing mental illnesses BPD, a common misdiagnosis in girls. Autism can cause no end of mental illness yet in itself is simply a developmental disorder. A lot of transgender M2F's appear to be highly computer literate, have a narrow range of interests and can be obsessed with exactly the kind of interests that are normally found in autism. I speak from experience, autism has been in my family for generations, nothing to do vaccines, and it can be traced back to my father, although I suspect it was one of his parents who had the gene pool, my aunties (his sisters) were much like him and so were their children, my cousins. F2M's are often diagnosed with both and it was the 'Extreme Male Brain' theory that showed how the F2M's could indeed be affected.
I was diagnosed with autism....in that I am talking about Aspergers Syndrome only in 2010, but that was because one of my children was on the spectrum and it was noticed that I was indeed the gene carrier. So I wanted to find out if some of the difficulties I had were all down to being trans or something else (that I knew anyway) and sure enough I am firmly on the spectrum. It is life changing and empowering to discover what has been really going on, and brought so much enlightenment to why my life had been this way, and provided answers to the decisions I make.
Vaccines as the cause is still unproven, families with autistic children who have a long established history of autism in their gene pool will tell you that IF vaccines are involved, there is a big difference in the effects. Gene pool autism is far more systemic and its affects are wide spread throughout the daily life of the individual. The claims about vaccine induced autism appears to be more narrowly based on learning difficulties but less on the behaviour and other traits.
Like all people who are in the LGBT community, we appear to have a radar for finding each other, no matter how stealth we believe we can be. Autism is the same, I can spot someone who could be on the spectrum easily, sometimes by just the way they dress themselves, fashion isn't important, comfort is. My sister has a total aversion to wearing traditional female clothes and only 'dresses up' when the need arises. Yet she is no doubt completely comfortable with her gender and has four children and has been married to the same man for over 50 years. She is atypically autistic, and three of her children too.
We are who we are though, regardless of whether we are one or both its how we deal with the issues. all I know is that having both have created a really interesting life, difficult to navigate through but I wouldn't change anything, its all part of who I am and who I can be proud of. What I have achieved, and the talents I have is down to being open and honest and facing these challenges head on. Be yourself, cause you sure can't be nobody else.
Ever wondered what it takes to get on a bus? The fears and scary parts explained and how eventually I overcame them. For some this is not a problem, those with the strongest of characters who really want the world to know about who they are, but for many integrating and becoming the person you really are without any fuss and bother it's a different story.
Many years ago the first hurdle apart from the big step of going out of the front door as the real me, was getting on the bus. For those just beginning the journey from one gender to the other, this can be terrifying and once you have managed it thats when you know you have really begun your transition.
My preparation was always the best, but my confidence wasn't great so every day I found myself in the position of taking the terrifying journey and this is where strength of character comes in. So you are ready to face the world in the new you and hope no one is going to give you a second glance, because in many ways that is what you are trying to achieve. There you are stood at the bus stop waiting for the bus hoping that no one notices you, and then someone turns to you and asks, "Do you have the time please." Now hang on, who doesn't have a watch or a mobile (cell) phone with a big display on it? Its often a good indication that they want to hear your voice, they have looked at you and wondered....is that a man or a woman? The best way to overcome it is to to nod and show them you watch/phone and smile if you're not happy with how your voice sounds.
Of course the bus stop is often where people talk to each other, (years ago before smartphones and everyone was a bit more social) so when the bus arrives its a bit of a relief, or is it. I suppose its a lot easier now with electronic passes, no words have to be uttered but when I was just starting out, talking was necessary....So you ask for your fare....city centre please.....then once you have your ticket you turn and face the all the passengers, desperately trying to find a seat .....EVERYONE is looking at ME.....no they're not, but thats what it feels like. Seat found, head down ....please don't talk to me.
I have one of those ...faces. I always sit next to the most talkative person on the bus, it happens often. But then there is the other parts, people looking at YOU....they know, they've spotted me, they know I'm trans and they are looking at me, talking about me.....OMG. The fears of the newbie are immense, in an enclosed space with all these people and THEY KNOW. No, probably they haven't even seen you, but the fear is there all the same.
Seat selection is important, inside seat you have to ask (if you are polite that is) to '"Excuse me please." So outside seats are easier (just don't speak to me).
If the bus is crowded the next step is to get off the damn bus, ding the bell and hope that its going to be the stop everyone else alights too. If not, it can be a struggle as it might be necessary to say ...excuse me several times.
The point of all this? I had realised than when I could get on the bus, face the 'crowd', find a seat, talk to my fellow passengers and get off the bus with no problem, that is when I knew I was on my way to being happy with my transition. Thats when you know you have begun to integrate the new you and made it.
Overcoming the fears isn't easy but when I realised that probably no one was really looking at me, no one really noticed anything different about me, it drew less attention anyway. The voice I have found is a powerful delimiter in that you can use the voice to confuse anyone. if you are able to sound like the gender you present, then any unwanted attention seems to be lessened and I found I could overcome many uncomfortable situations.
I hope that you have found this interesting and helpful.