Hello! My name is kiilas, I use they/them pronouns, I’m 36 years old,
autistic and non-binary (agender, to be exact). I’m one of the collaborators
on Clare Project’s recent booklet on neurodiversity.
Neurodivergent people are a disproportionately large part of the TNBI
community. Despite that, there is relatively little awareness of this
intersection, let alone support and resources specifically targetting us.
Those two aspects of who we are, are routinely treated as separable. Our
experiences however, can’t be neatly divided into neurodivergent experiences
and TNBI experiences.
When we access autism or neurodiversity groups, or require support due to our
neurodivergence, we’re normally assumed to be cisgender. We need to
self-advocate and educate. And sadly, we still face ignorance and even
bigotry. For many autistic people like myself, handling such challenges is
Being neurodivergent may make it difficult to access TNBI resources too.
People participating in (or even running) TNBI groups may be unaware of
neurodiversity or our (often hidden) access and support needs. We may be
exposed to ableist microaggressions, or find ourselves in awkward situations
because others misunderstand our behaviour or intentions. We may need extra
help navigating TNBI spaces, being included and advocated for.
Being autistic may make accessing gender-related healthcare much more
difficult. So many resources are restricted by a system of gatekeeping which
de facto requires credibly conveying a personal narrative that falls within
some arbitrary and rather unimaginative parameters, to people who are
Both TNBI and neurodivergent folks have an unfortunate history of their
experiences and identities being pathologised, judged and erased, by the
medical community, scientists and demagogues alike. Who we are has been
subject to scrutiny, and our rights have been subject to debate. On top of
that, those of us on the intersection have been facing accusations of being
confused about our gender due to autism, or wanting to transition as
a “special interest”.
Finally, in my experience many autistic people (including myself) feel that
how they relate to gender is linked to their neurodivergence, often in
complex ways. I personally found a lot of concordance when discussing being
non-binary with other autistic people, that extended beyond mere identity and
well into how we relate to the concept of gender altogether.
With all that in mind, I believe that we at the intersection of
neurodivergence and TNBI, are a community in our own right. We have unique
experiences and face unique challenges. We need our own spaces and our own
We are bigger than you’d think, but too often we feel invisible and alone.
I’m very excited to see growing efforts to support us, include us, give us
voice, and let us educate others about our needs and experiences.
As someone interested in autism and passionate about advocacy, I didn’t need
any convincing to partake in the consultations for the Neurodiversity booklet!
It was awesome to see everyone give excellent and nuanced input, and to see the
booklet develop in a way that includes their perspectives.
I’m so happy to have collaborated on something that I wish I could have had
access to at earlier stages of my life.
Link to the download the Neurodiversity booklet in pdf – click here
To watch the video version of the Neurodiversity booklet – click here