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Understanding gender and the Austim spectrum

Photo courtesy of WikiMedia Commons

By Nick Hughes
Opinion Editor

There is a lot that I understand about autism, and I pride myself on that. Having autism is a struggle that I deal with daily, yet there is a lot that I have not uncovered about it and that is what I want to look at today. I am a part of a few Facebook groups geared towards supporting others on the spectrum and, as of late, I have seen the term, “autigender,” a lot. I am in no respects an expert on gender identity, so I decided to ask some questions in the group. According to members of the group, I am a part of, autigender is how someone with autism understands their gender.

People with autism see the world a lot differently than other people, so this made sense to me. I myself perceive a lot of different situations differently than others. Why could this not apply to gender? It made sense to me, and I thought that was the end of the whole inquiry; but I was sadly mistaken.

Members of the group attacked other members for using the term autigender. They used hate speech and slurs that I was upset to see. As a result, I deleted the original post. I did not want anyone to feel upset or attacked. What this whole experience taught me is that everyone needs to respect each other in terms of their identity in any form.

I do not identify as autigender myself, but I respect the people on the spectrum who do. It is their choice, not mine, and it is important to remember that. This is all about a person’s choices that they make. Let everyone be who they want to be. If being autigender makes the world more sensible to a person, why is it anyone’s business to tell that person why they cannot call themselves that? This mindset applies to all gender identities in my mind. I admit that I do not know a lot about the various identities that people can have, but once again, I have no place in determining that for them.

I want everyone to be comfortable in their own bodies; even if I do not understand what they are. I admit that I know little when it comes to gender issues, but as someone who knows little, it is more important that I have this perspective.

There is a lot of hatred directed towards those that have alternate gender identities and I do not get it. Why do others feel that they have the right to tell others how to view themselves? It is ridiculous to me. The same way all hate is ridiculous to me. Hate is perpetuated by a lack of understanding and if those who hate would take the time to, at least, try to understand the world would be so much better.

However you express your gender identity,  know this: I accept your decision to do so. I know that you are doing what is best for you and that you know yourself better than anyone else. Your identity is one of the few possessions that you will always have and it is important to know exactly what that identity is.