Soooo in case you missed it I told ya’ll I am autistic.
Like anyone who is gender non-confirming, every autistic person is different.
One of the aspects of who I am that contributed to my diagnoses is my ability to see patterns and my habit of looking for them. What I mean is I am fairly good at detecting a change in someone’s behavior or habits and speculating on what might be causing it.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that every little thing someone does or stops or starts doing means that there is something else going on, but for many people they follow a routine and usually don’t deviate from that.
When someone does, I tend to try to figure out what might be, ah, inspiring this change. I don’t know why I do this. Perhaps it’s because I am fairly predictable and like to stick to a routine, no matter how small. When I flip the script there’s usually a reason.
Looking for a change in someone else’s, well, anything, whether it’s the tone of a text or anything else and then trying to figure out the reason behind it is exhausting and leads me to me overthinking and overanalyzing something. This can (and does) drive others in my life crazy and can cause paranoia on my end.
If someone interacts with me that is different, even slightly, then my inquisitive mind gets to work. I wonder if they are having a bad day or if something is bothering them.
There have been times when someone is out of character or distant or, you know, their vibe is off, and I’ve wondered if, well, they knew something about me that I didn’t know they did.
Years ago I rented a room in my friend’s house. He was out for the day and I was getting caught up on my laundry. I had clothes, including panties, in the washing machine. I stepped out for an errand and to my surprise he was home early. No big deal, it’s his house and he can do what he wants, lol.
He asked me to let me know when I was finished with laundry because he had opened the washing machine and saw I had clothes in there.
And of course, the first thing I thought was whether or not he saw any pink or lace or pink lace in there.
I paid close attention to him for a while to see if there was any change in his demeanor or in the way he interacted with me. If he was off, well, maybe it would be because he KNEW. I looked for any change in his tone. You know, a change in his predictable pattern and routine.
I don’t think I need to remind anyone that wears panties or is gender non-conforming that paranoia protects us… at the cost of our sanity, lol.
After a few days of my roommate being, well, normal, I breathed a sigh of relief and made the hopefully correct assumption that I had avoided being caught.
Having this ability to recognize patterns and picking up on even the tiniest change in someone’s vibe or routine has helped me in a lot of ways. Being able to prepare for something, anything, is helpful for any potential feelings of anxiety. This ability is one of the traits that many autistic people have. We tend to like routine, but I think to be more specific, we like predictability. It’s not that I have a difficult time when plans change, it’s more like…. well, let’s have another example.
Let’s say my wife and I made plans to wake up, get some coffee, run a couple errands, and then order pizza for dinner. Nothing epic but it sounds like a nice day.
But! Let’s say that life happens and instead of sticking with our plans, she has to spend time doing something for work and I am asked to pick someone up from the airport or whatever.
So, coffee and errands are nixed, and I’ll be outside the terminal waiting for someone when I was originally going to be eating pizza.
It’s not that I can’t handle the change, it’s more like… I had been thinking about the original plans since we made them. I knew what the day was going to be like. I could see it, I could imagine it. It was predictable. I knew what to expect.
And then the script gets flipped and I feel a little off guard and I am not prepared for the day.
And yes that sounds a little silly. I don’t need to really mentally prepare for the new plans, but I prefer to know what to expect when it comes to anything.
And I think that’s why I have such tension with my boss. He’s not predictable. He can be chill for a bit and then completely fly off the handle at the most random thing. I never know what will set him off. There’s no pattern to his emotion or reactions. It’s absolutely walking on eggshells.
And yes, we all have plans that fall through. And yes, we may get disappointed when they don’t happen, especially when it was something we were looking forward to. But for me, I have a hard time rolling with changes to plans. I spend time mentally preparing for something, and then BAM! A change. I have to mentally prepare for something new, something different.
There were a LOT of things that lead to my diagnoses. I had a lot of appointments with different specialists and doctors and I did a lot of tests and assessments. I was very open and honest with everything. I wanted to KNOW if I was autistic. I wanted to know if there was, well, a reason, an explanation for my stimming and my hyperfocus on patterns and the anxiety I develop when plans change.
Some of the other traits that contributed were my lack of social skills, inability to pick up on social norms (more on this in a bit), my vocabulary, how easily I am overstimulated and overwhelmed, my short social battery, and my hyperfocus on my interests. I either have no time for something or I am almost obsessed with it. (But I don’t like the word “obsessed” for things that people are passionate about.) I either know a LOT about SOMETHING or I have zero interest in it.
I mean, this blog is pretty much proof of how much I think and know and care about gender identity.
Real quick side note on my social battery: If you know me in real life, especially if you know me through the MN T-Girls, I am usually the first to leave the event. Organizing and preparing (especially mentally) for something is very draining for me and I tend to be ready to leave before most of the other girls.
Honestly having this diagnoses confirmed was a huge relief to me. These days instead of wondering why I do whatever, I take comfort in knowing that it’s a common autism trait and it’s one of the things that lead to my diagnoses.
It’s not unlike having a different gender identity. Instead of wondering why I like to wear what I wear or wondering why this side of me makes me happy, I just remember I do what I do and I am who I am because I am transgender.
Up until now, I could talk about my autism with people in my boy life, and I could talk about my gender identity with, well, you, but I couldn’t really talk to anyone about both of them.
So, let’s talk about autism and gender identity, if that’s okay?
I’ve been hesitant to talk about my autism on here because I didn’t want people to look too in-depth about any sort of link between the two. I don’t think there IS a link per se, but I will expand on that in a moment. What I mean is that some people want to look for a reason someone crossdresses. Some of these reasons are things like someone is secretly gay or someone is a fetishist or someone is in denial about their gender identity or someone had a less than typical or a traumatic relationship with their parents and so on.
I don’t think there is a reason I am who I am beyond the reason being is that I am transgender. This side of me wasn’t born out of trauma or the repression of anything. This side of me is beautiful and something I love and embrace. Like my autism, I am so so so happy I am transgender. I don’t want people to think that any sort of neurodivergent diagnoses is a reason someone is gender non-conforming.
Although I was honest with my doctors during my assessments, I kept my gender identity to myself. I did wonder, of course, if my gender identity would be relevant to my autism and I think it is.
I don’t think that I am _____________ BECAUSE of _______________. And almost any adjective that I could describe myself with could be used in those blanks. It’s more like… everything is connected.
I think being autistic was a major factor when I started to crossdress. But more specifically, one of my traits didn’t prevent me from, well, wearing what I wanted to wear.
Some autistic people misinterpret social cues. I do. I have a hard time with adhering to social norms. If you’ve ever had a conversation with me in real life you may have noticed that I will, ah, just walk away in the middle of it. I promise I am not being rude. I promise I am conscious of it and I am working on it. I don’t know why I do this. I don’t like that I do this. HE does this a LOT more than SHE does.
I know a lot of us felt/feel that we are doing something wrong with wearing clothes that the gender we were assigned at birth doesn’t normally wear. With this can come shame and that’s an awful way to feel about something that is really beautiful.
But I never ever thought I was doing something wrong when I tried on, well, anything I could growing up.
I didn’t think there was anything wrong with a boy wearing a dress. This contradicts soooo many social norms and was even more true decades ago. I never felt I was doing anything wrong. Ever.
I still kept it a secret, though.
Why, though? Why did I conceal this when I didn’t think it was wrong? Three reasons.
My dad would have beat the daylights out of me if he knew. Although I didn’t think there was anything wrong with people wearing whatever they wanted, I knew my dad felt otherwise.
Secondly, I saw so many instances of men wearing a dress for a laugh in movies. I didn’t think that this side of me was funny and I didn’t want people to ridicule me. I didn’t want to be misunderstood. I wasn’t wearing what I was wearing for comedy.
And finally, my siblings and I were always told to ask for permission if we wanted to borrow something. I knew I couldn’t ask to borrow a dress for my sister (see reason one) so I kept this to myself because I was wearing a dress without asking her if it was okay.
I never thought what I was doing was wrong. Never. I learned as I grew that many people did, though. I didn’t know why and I still don’t know why.
Anyway, that’s enough introspective for a Friday. That’s probably enough vulnerability for a while, as well.
Have a lovely weekend!