Title

Neuroqueering Gender

Date

Spring 5-3-2019

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Citeroni, Tracy

Second Advisor

Marsh, Kristin

Third Advisor

Slunt, Kelli

Department Chair or Program Director

Marsh, Kristin

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Major or Concentration

Women's and Gender Studies

Department or Program

Sociology and Anthropology

Abstract

Autistic women are much more likely to be misdiagnosed, undiagnosed, and underserved than autistic men, yet our relationship with our identities is much more complicated than simply “underdiagnosis.” At least in part because we are not as interested in or responsive to social norms, we are more likely to be transgender, non-binary, and/or gender non-conforming: some of us may not identify as women at all. Furthermore, because autism is a way of being that is uniquely different from allism (i.e., not being autistic), we are capable of experiencing gender in ways that are inherently unrelatable and inaccessible to allistic people. With increasing awareness of and support for the neurodiversity paradigm, which posits that autism is an expression of human biodiversity rather than a pathological condition, and increasing availability of queer and transgender resources, more and more autistic people are able to both access and express queer autistic genders. Working within the neurodiversity paradigm and drawing from queer theory and neuroqueer theory, which suggests that it is possible and even potentially positive to intentionally “queer” one’s own neurodivergence, this study seeks to describe the ways in which autistic women and autistic woman-proximal people are neuroqueering gender. I establish the social and historical context in which autistics navigate queer genders and queer neurotypes, and examine existing writing about autistic woman-proximal gender. Given this context, I conduct qualitative interviews to describe how queer / non-cisgender, neurodiversity-oriented, woman-proximal autistics understand, create, and intentionally push the boundaries of our genders and our neurodivergences.

Language

English

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