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Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism
Posted on Monday, January 30 @ 09:04:17 EST by
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Recently, an article appeared in the New York Times featuring my boyfriend, Jack, and me. It was about how autism affects romantic relationships, though really it was about how our autism affects our relationship. Every relationship is different, and every autistic is different.

One criticism of the article that really resonated with me was about my comment about how learning to dress differently opened me up to more romantic venues. I said, "A lot of it is how you dress. I found people don't flirt with me if I wear big man pants and a rainbow sweatshirt." Now, like many autistics, I have trouble communicating my thoughts and intentions when speaking aloud. I am far more eloquent in text, thankfully, but nevertheless, my speech difficulties lead me to say things like this. I want to clear up exactly what I meant, because out of context, this statement can be quite hurtful to many people. After my explanation, I want to address the larger picture behind the controversy: the autism world is currently extremely hetero-normative.

Read on. . .




Now, the quote was part of a larger story. When I was in high school I cut my hair myself. I always kept it short, going so far as to simply cut as close to my scalp as I could with thinning shears. I wore ill-fitting men's clothing from thrift stores, and I had an obsession with rainbows. I had a rainbow belt that was my grandmother's in the 60s that I wore every day, I wore rainbow pins on my backpack, and I painted rainbows on my clothes with acrylic paint. I didn't learn until the end of high school from some classmates that plenty of boys had thought I was cute, but everyone had just assumed I was a lesbian because of how I presented myself. Interesting, isn't it? Without even realizing it, I was advertising a social niche. I was sending non-verbal signals about my identity to those around me.

Visual images telegraph quite a bit about identity to the community. Would you assume a male college student wearing a football jersey and a backwards baseball cap might be a sports fan, or a "jock"? Why? What would you think of the same boy with dreadlocks and a baggy sweatshirt? How about if that same boy wore a dress?

Many autistics are logical, straightforward thinkers. Is this shirt clean? Am I wearing pants? Ok, ready to go. For most of my life I put little if any thought into how I dressed, or how I wore my hair. I wore pigtails because a favorite cartoon character wore pigtails. My favorite shirt had a wolf on it because I liked wolves, and light-up sneakers sure were neat. As I got older it still never clicked. I wore a lot of teal because it was my favorite color, just like I wore rainbows because rainbows are pretty. I cut my hair short because I was too impatient to grow it out, and whenever I got bored, I would just cut it some more. I never once thought about how clothes could represent identity, beyond wearing a shirt with my favorite anime character on it.

I was a heterosexual girl, with no problems fitting into my assigned gender. Though I don't consider myself extraordinarily girlie, I feel like a girl on the inside. I liked boys, yet I was communicating myself as off limits through my clothing. When I learned this, I started to make an effort to buy clothes more appropriate for the image I wanted to present. I started wearing skirts and dresses—and rainbow dresses ! And I began to grow out my hair. This in no way means that, if you're a straight girl, to find love you have to turn into something you're not. I never faked anything. I still wear clothes that I like. I still wear men's clothes and rainbows sometimes too, though lately I'm making more of an effort to dress like an "adult," whatever that means. I've found that I really enjoy having long hair. I can play with it and style it, and it's an all around fun part of my body to have. I didn't turn into someone I'm not to get male attention, though I'll admit that I have tried and failed a few times. I simply learned how to speak the language of clothing.

If you're a heterosexual girl who wants male attention but is so not girlie, then you don't want to doll yourself up to attract guys who want something you're not. If you want to wear baggy cargo pants and metal t-shirts and shave your head, go for it. Believe it or not, everyone is different, and sexuality is far from black and white. There are more than a few guys out there who will love your shaved head and non-conformist attitude. Or who will love your grandma sweaters and peasant skirts, or your dreadlocks, or your Mohawk. And guys, the same goes for you. You don't need to like sports if you really couldn't care less, and you don't need to be something you're not. Because even if you do end up attracting a mate by faking a role, you'll never be happy with that person. You'll have to keep on faking.

Now, something I have never once seen mentioned in any mainstream autism media is the fact that--gasp--autistic people can be gay, bi, trans, gender queer, or anything else for that matter. It's hard enough for someone to whom social signals don't come naturally to find a mate, let alone someone whose sexuality strays outside what's considered the norm. How does an autistic teenage boy figure out whether the cute guy in his calculus class is gay or not? What about the autistic labeled by a driver's license as "female" who doesn't feel like either a girl or a boy? This stuff is hard even for neurotypicals, and autistics are basically left high and dry when it comes to sexuality in the first place.

As a straight, cis girl with only my own experience to draw from, I am in no way qualified to give advice on any of this. We live in a world where there are only two genders, and those genders are expected to always match up perfectly with biological sex. We live in a world where anything other than procreative intercourse is taboo enough to make most people uncomfortable, and any sexuality outside of heterosexual vaginal penetration is condemned. Why is it that a straight man that likes prostrate stimulation is seen as "gay," even if it's his wife he's having sex with? There are so many problems with the way our culture addresses love and sex that I won't try to get too far into it in this blog, but I will certainly write more on this in the future.

All I want to say for now is, if you're reading this—yeah, you!—and you don't feel like that daytime TV heterosexual, you're not alone. Just because you don't only like to have sex with a single someone of the opposite biological sex in missionary position with the man on top doesn't make you a freak. If you're a boy who wishes he could hug his friends like girls are allowed to, you're not alone. If you're a girl who's sick of being judged the second you walk into a video game store, you're not alone. If you're a trans woman who can't afford surgery who's tired of being treated like some sexual pervert, you're not alone.

We autistics are often classically considered to think in black and white absolutes, but I can't think of anything more black and white than the modern view of sexuality and gender identity.


See more of Kirsten on Autism Talk TV.


               


 
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Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Magneto Monday, January 30 @ 09:35:38 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) http://needsmoremarshmallows.blogspot.co.uk/
Hmm. What's the article called? I agree about the clothing-identity issue, though it does go further than that. Sometimes I wish people were all clones physically, just so we wouldn't jump to conclusions about someone based on what we see of their body. From my limited perspective, the big guy in the seat in front of me on the train could have wanted to be a princess when s(he)? was younger, while the dolled up young woman could be an exterior shell. There's no way, short of telepathy or being told - and even then they could be lying - of understanding who they really are. Feck, I want to be pretty and wear dresses, but that's socially off limits because of an accident of birth. :rolleyes:



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Grisha Monday, January 30 @ 09:48:28 EST
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This article is spot-on, personally, I tend to dress "metrosexual" which leads some people to assume that I'm gay (I'm not), but if it allows me to feel comfortable and being "myself" then who cares? I don't have a huge problem attracting women, some women like guys who tend to "dress up". Changing the way I dress to conform to some stereotype makes my feel like an awkward, fake NT instead of an Aspergian who has accepted his neurological identity.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by IamSonja Monday, January 30 @ 10:54:49 EST
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Awesome article... I totally agree on your point of view!



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by purchase Monday, January 30 @ 11:50:26 EST
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Really good article. The experiences you describe are really relatable for me personally.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by techstepgenr8tion Monday, January 30 @ 14:53:51 EST
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I think we're just at an awkward point in history where everyone's quite sensitive about the verbal minutia of things and hence walking on egg shells. I guess we've gotta just keep in mind that we practice a way of thinking that's still somewhat new and that as the 'isms' get flushed out of society people will likely have thicker skin again.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Lonermutant Monday, January 30 @ 16:40:12 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) http://home.online.no/~ojmalm/
Forgot the immature Aspie boys thing again...



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by aliensyndrome Monday, January 30 @ 17:54:57 EST
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I like the article. It's odd that the pictures for Kirsten's articles emphasize her beauty, especially considering the content of this article. I am not questioning her integrity, I am merely illuminating something that I found odd.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Tambourine-Man Monday, January 30 @ 19:53:59 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) http://www.facebook.com/pages/John-Scott-Holman/267958723228267
This is the best thing you've EVER written. As a gay autistic, I'm proud to call you my friend! Scotty



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Brony2011 Monday, January 30 @ 20:46:03 EST
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Another great article! Although most of this is about clothing and appearances. I can relate in an interesting way. While I'm a heterosexual male, starting in my early teens there was a rumor that I was gay or bi that followed me for many years, based solely it seems on assumptions drawn from my appearance and behavior, specifically that I never dated or had relationships, looked and acted more "girly" than the average guy, and appeared to interact with girls and guys the same. It was a strange conclusion for anyone to jump to. Worse, I've always been shorter and skinnier than other guys, I hit puberty late, and I didn't know anything about fashion or what looked "manly" or not, so I was wearing children's clothes all the way into college. So there were things that caused me to stand out and get "picked on," but most of it had to do with how things seemed on the outside, not who I was on the inside, and even then, people's sexual orientation and gender identity are personal and important to them, and not things to be judged or mocked.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by artrat Monday, January 30 @ 21:30:20 EST
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I have criticized your articles in the past and if it offended you then it was not my intention. I have found that it is impossible to get male attention in the American south if you are a non-conformist. I am quite envious of all people with a boyfriend because I have never had one. Your not a bad writer and this article is better than your others.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by MindWithoutWalls Tuesday, January 31 @ 00:19:01 EST
(User Info | Send a Message | Journal) http://wayshelter.com
I got a nasty shock when a psychologist who was supposed to assess me to see if I'm on the spectrum not only didn't give me any of the tests I've since learned are used for such evaluation but also dismissed me in the end as a gay cross-dresser who should change my clothing in order to become more acceptable to other people. It was one of several reasons he apparently had for not being willing to even consider that I might be on the spectrum. It was as though he decided I was just weird and lazy, so there was no point in bothering to take my concerns seriously or really learn anything about me and my life. (I give details in my blog.) Now, I don't deny that I'm gay or that I shop in the men's department because I identify as butch. But I wasn't there complaining that people criticized my clothes. These days, nobody I know does. But he never bothered to find that out. He simply made an assumption and dished up his prejudice instead. I guess I hadn't expected that kind of thing to happen around where I live anymore. But it seems that type of attitude is still alive and well, at least amongst some professionals.<br><br> Thanks for posting this piece, Kristen. Once again, you've written something meaningful, insightful, and progressive.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by cathylynn Tuesday, January 31 @ 08:01:09 EST
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that gland you mentioned is the prostate. prostrate is a position you assume when in awe or extremely fatigued. i'm impressed with your knowledge of sexual preference terminolgy. in the social services agency where i work, we have a fairly (not universal) welcoming culture. welcoming is the official stance. in fact, a transgendered individual is on an important committee. times are not horrible here for LGBTQI folks. hopefully, things are improving everywhere.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by jamieevren1210 Tuesday, January 31 @ 08:55:13 EST
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Love love love this article kirsten! Totally agree with your point of view!!:))



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by jojobean Tuesday, January 31 @ 10:13:41 EST
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I am a bi-romantic asexual...which gets confusing for some people. I thought your article was very respectful to LGBTA folks on the spectrum. However I have found there are more of us than some folks realize. Your right in that autism makes navigating the non-hetro waters very frightful indeed. As far as gender identity, it is common for aspie girls to feel like both sexes or neither, myself included. In one site that is listed as a girl aspie trait. That was always my biggest secret...and then I find it is a girlie AS trait. ....And rainbows are cool, regardless what they mean. I never understood "symbolic" clothing. I just wear what is comfortable which is mostly cotton as synthetics irritate my skin. Anyway great post...and best wishes to you and Jack. Jojo Jojo



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by TheWingman Tuesday, January 31 @ 17:22:40 EST
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i could not explain what it is but my instinct always told me that there is something very wrong with homosexuality.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by PennySue Tuesday, January 31 @ 18:04:16 EST
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Wow! What a well-said, easily understood explanation of the situation! You have a real gift in writing on these subjects - you make no condemnation, just offer clear exposition. Nicely done. By the way, that's me all the way - is this shirt clean? Do I have pants that fit? Good enough for me! I wore a lot of fuschia and turquoise when I was a teen and in college, but also wore Salvation Army clothes. Then again, I was alway overweight, so I didn't figure clothes would help any way.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Agemaki Tuesday, January 31 @ 22:21:23 EST
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I always find it interesting (or surprising) when I hear how other people see me as I'm generally clueless about it. I wore a lot of dresses and miniskirts in high school, oftentimes with high heels, and I liked to wear ribbons in my long hair. I was once told that boys found me cute but were also intimidated by me. I think there is more to presentation than dress and physical appearance alone (I looked plenty feminine at least). Having talked to a few other friends in recent years I think I might have gained more of an understanding of what is going on in terms of the messages I am unconsciously sending. Apparently if you are a cute female who is also highly decisive and a good student then you will appear rather intimidating to many potential male romantic partners. I think the main issue I've had is that I'm not willing to play the flirting game that involves assuming a submissive feminine role in order to flatter potential male love interests. However, I entirely agree with Kirsten's statement that you can find people who appreciate you for who you are. I've managed to find boyfriends who aren't intimidated by me and who--being rather shy themselves--appreciate my forwardness and lack of game-playing.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Comp_Geek_573 Wednesday, February 01 @ 22:09:36 EST
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Excellent article! People need to be reminded that people can have more than one difficulty with social adjustment. There are people who are autistic and gay, or even autistic, gay and transgendered!



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Freak-Z Thursday, February 02 @ 12:41:48 EST
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"never faked anything. I still wear clothes that I like. I still wear men's clothes and rainbows sometimes too, though lately I'm making more of an effort to dress like an "adult," whatever that means. I've found that I really enjoy having long hair. I can play with it and style it, and it's an all around fun part of my body to have. I didn't turn into someone I'm not to get male attention, though I'll admit that I have tried and failed a few times" Who are you trying to convince here? "I simply learned how to speak the language of clothing" And whats that exactly? sounds more like the language of conformity.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by goundreykruse Thursday, February 02 @ 15:11:23 EST
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Good for you, Kirsten! I didn't know I was autistic as a young person, I wish I had because I maybe would have felt more okay about my own fashion/clothing choices and sexual identity. Although I am physically female and a mother, inside myself I feel 'non-gender specific.' So I too have been mistaken for a lesbian and also had times in my life when I wanted to be fluffy girly (not so many of those tho...) Now I know that I am autistic, I feel free to be myself (thanks in part to people like you folks here). I dress A)for comfort - NO polyester or pokey/tight stuff, and B) because I like the garment. Perhaps it is the autistics of this world who can truly be free. Let's stop trying to fit ourselves into 'social norms' because often those norms make folk unhappy. Let us be authentic, free people and the neuros can follow our example for a change! :)



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by horcrux Thursday, February 02 @ 16:01:08 EST
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Kirsten is HOT.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by perpetualconfusion Thursday, February 02 @ 21:06:58 EST
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Kirsten, Good job on this article! I think you outlined it well and stated your opinions in a frank, matter-of-fact style. As to your original article about Autism and relationships (appearing in the NY Times), I had no trouble understanding your intent and took no offense to it whatsoever. In fact, that article is what led me to WP in the first place! Again, Kudos to you and I am looking forward to reading your next article :-) .



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by aussiebloke Thursday, February 02 @ 21:28:25 EST
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Are you wearing Mr Planks glasses?



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Scatmaster Friday, February 03 @ 01:16:21 EST
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I agree completely that sexual identity of aspies can be confused by people looking from the outside in, based solely on appearances. I grew up in a poor family and didn't pay much attention to appearances, so I ended up looking like a tom boy. But my sexual identity has been clearly heterosexual since the start, since I knew that I only had crushes on guys. Given how I was more interested in intellectual pursuit than that of the opposite sex, I can see why people would have called me lesbian throughout my growing years. Even my own current boyfriend didn't realize at first that I was into guys, which deeply confused me and I had to seek professional help to realize that my feelings rang true. Unfortunately, having people tell me who they think I am made me really confused, since I figured that if that's the way people saw me, maybe there was some truth to it. This made me much more unsure of myself than I should have been while going through puberty, and even made me a bit homophobic for that time, since I would do anything to not be perceived that way. Sad how people jump to conclusions because of the way you dress... Though I guess that's a bit of an aspies thing to say...



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Xyzzy Friday, February 03 @ 15:20:14 EST
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Great article. I can't say that I've ever taken the time to think about it much, but a lot of what you wrote about was very familiar to me. I'm not a slob, but I'm certainly no fashion plate. I completely relate to your comment about a clean shirt and the presence of pants. That pretty much sums it up for me too. With that said, I have the opposite problem to yours. Something about my body language seems to convey that I'm available to everyone. I don't dress out of the ordinary, I'm shy and somewhat non-social (not "anti"-social) and I'm as thick as a brick when it comes to recognizing flirting. My wife laughs about it and is convinced that even if a woman got naked in my office I'd probably just assume that the thermostat was up too high and she was just trying to cool off. I've been hit on by a lot of gay guys who assume that I'm gay and I've also had strange women just plant themselves on my lap in a club or bar and start really aggressively flirting with me. Usually I'm too dense to take the hint and it's not until they get frustrated and get very blunt or I have someone else explain it to me after the fact. It's not that I'm asexual or wouldn't be interested, I'm just never really "in the context" until something clicks and puts me there. As a result, women would generally perceive me either as "safe" or a challenge. I don't really get the gay guy thing, but it may be that I don't repel the inital testing and flirting because I don't recognize it. Of course it may all be pheremones or they just instinctively recognize our vastly superior minds :) As an FYI, I probably would have been attracted to you in high school. I always found the outliers much more interesting and they're usually much easier to relate to. I've never really been into the "girlie girl" thing. Give me a dorky geek librarian in a sweatshirt and jeans over a frilly overdone prom queen any day. I wonder if a similar dynamic exists with gay autistics?



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Dunzel Friday, February 03 @ 21:50:32 EST
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Excellent article. However I think that the issue goes beyond sexual expression. NTs, by culture and by physiology, rely on certain cues and feedback mechanisms in how they engage and relate to the world and each other. Cues can take various forms I have found. And NTs not only expect certain gender cues in dress and appearance, NT sub-cultures also expect certain variations of these as well. I was into industrial music for many years, yet people wouldn't consider me unless I had a "look" so I complied. In my corporate world, I must dress the part as well to stay employed and to be granted the opportunity to communicate my ideas. Again, I comply since that is the uniform required to play the game. Long story short, its an NT world, with their rules, and they outnumber us 99.7% to 0.3%. The best we can do is adapt just enough to live our lives comfortably. After that, keep private life private and who cares what they think. Just my two cents.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by invisiblespectrum Friday, February 03 @ 22:44:29 EST
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This is a great article. I'm an autistic cis gay man (or read in "homoromantic demisexual" in the pace of "gay" if you prefer). I'm fortunate enough in that while I certainly don't fit every male stereotype (not least the one about being attracted to women), I fit pretty well into the gender binary, enough that people probably assume I'm straight. But thank you for giving this the attention it deserves.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Nereid Friday, February 17 @ 03:04:08 EST
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I can relate to your article and to many of the attire-confused aspergians who replied. Even now being aware of how your outer shell affects others perceptions of who you are, I still get "resentful" about societal pressure to present yourself a certain way. Like some other posters, I went through a phase when I was younger of wearing baggy jeans and t shirts and once had a neighbor boy shout at me that I was a "lesbian", and "walked like a man". I dont like that I have to hide my face under makeup and dress like the rest of society's sheep in order for people just to not make them resent me. I dont like that in a country where we grow up being told to "be yourself", we are constantly condemned to following other's fashions, ideas, and behaviors. I have enough issues being a hetero and not being able to correctly read signals, so I feel sorry for people with specific non hetero interests trying to find a significant other. And to the commenter who mentioned going thru a fuschia/teal phase..... I literally wear that ensemble multiple times a week! I am always drawn to bright shades over dull, dark ones and thus have a rainbow in my closet. Even though I dress colorful, I am still told I dress "frumpy".



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by muzikislyf Wednesday, February 08 @ 22:39:36 EST
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People are cruel when you aren't a clone. From my life experiences I can tell you that being a butch lesbian aspie is definitely a rough way to grow up.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by iddles Thursday, February 09 @ 04:23:08 EST
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Gay autobots in the UK and especially London might want to check out thingbox [thingbox.com"]. It's just a generic gay chat forum but for some reason it seems to attract weirdos of all neurotypes and has a sizable AS clique. Autistic spectrum gay men I know seem to use beards as an indicator of the sexuality. I'd speculate that a higher than average proportion of bears (hairy/bearded gay men) are AS. Most of the straight aspies and autobots I've known have been gay-friendly; perhaps because of the shared experience of being an oppressed minority, or perhaps the more logical autistic outlook precludes a subscription to nonsensical homophobic views.



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Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by N0tYetDeadFred Friday, February 10 @ 15:44:05 EST
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Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by emtatiana Sunday, February 12 @ 16:03:04 EST
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I'm lesbian and aspergers - I too dressed all wrong (and often still do) when young. I sent out completely the wrong messages - wearing flowery dresses (they were comfy) and shaved hair. I was lucky enough to know I was lesbian because I experimented lots and knew what felt 'right' and what wasn't (for me). I was recently at a conference where a sepaker mentioned that a lot of autistic women don't conform to hetero-gender stereotypes and indeed some were lesbian. The lady next to me immediately told me she wasn't lesbian even though she was autistic. I replied - well I am, lesbian. Clearly I was wearing my 'hetero-gender appropriate clothes'.... It is all so complicated. I will only wear clothes that are comfy and not too bright coloured and I have smart clothes for work and conference and the rest I can wear in the house. My lovely partner guides me if it is socially important to be dressed 'properly' but loves me no matter what :-)



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by rondeau Wednesday, February 15 @ 12:18:02 EST
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Nice piece. Really, I think there is too much on our plate as is. Quite frankly, I never got the memo as it were…LOL. Folks when I was younger gave me too many labels to be sure. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been accused of being gay, and had to pay the price for that label. Yet, I don’t believe I dressed or acted in a manner that would suggest any such thing. Perhaps as I was developing, I chose the wrong colors or spoke on the wrong subjects. Quite frankly, looking back, it should have been great that I was speaking at all…LOL. Such as it is, I just took it all as being very different from those around me. I would say I was different not like someone from another country, but like someone from a different planet. Maybe that was a bit much input…LOL. Later in life it was sooo cool to find wrongplanet. Maybe there is something to that birds of a feather notion…LOL.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by The_Face_of_Boo Friday, February 17 @ 09:52:35 EST
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Nice cleavage.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by 2ukenkerl Saturday, February 18 @ 22:35:04 EST
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Nice article. and some good points, MY GOD though, are males that are straight that are comfortable with their sexuality now to be called CIS males? If people like homosexuals want to be better accepted, maybe they can start with not coopting the language and forcing EVERYONE ELSE to change. I once referred to "my partner" which I had done off and on for a while, and someone said "Are you homosexual?". I had to explain that I meant partner in the same way that I understood it for like 40 years. A BUSINESS partner. Whenever I spoke of him, it was about business and technological views, but an excoworker used the term to hide the fact that he was homosexual. And the time when females were expected to dress a certain way, at least in most western societies, is LONG gone. I guess the rainbow color scheme seemed to associate you with homosexual groups, like an "=" sign might. Outside of things like that, or kind of trying to look physically masculine, people probably won't assume you are homosexual. As for "men's" clothing, it IS more utilitarian than anything else, and women can wear it, without any westerners caring. Of course they usually tweak it, for women, to better show the figure and it may even be more comfortable for women. I just saw a comedy where a woman tried to wear baggy mens clothing to turn a guy off, though she really liked him. It did NOT work! :) Still, I have known at least 2 women that seemed very "butch". One even had cards all over her cube that said she was ok with GLBT, or whatever it is called, and both were straight and cis female. I know that ONLY because one was VERY much against GLBT, and the other ended up telling me about her love for her husband who had died. I never brought up any related issue. Who knows? BOTH had severe mobility problems. BOTH were overweight, and had Ruematoid arthritis. Maybe they figured their style was very low maintenance and they had no interest in relationships.



andy (Score: 1)
by wangwangni Wednesday, February 15 @ 21:33:18 EST
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It is often said that louis vuitton monogram have nine lives, that they are lucky enough to escape from danger again and again. Here is a science fiction tale about how one such lucky escape by a cat led to a discovery that was able to change the course of louis vuitton Antheia. The problems stemming from the discovery also make interesting reading. Somebody someday will make a study of the influence of animals on history. Among them, Mrs. Graham's cat should certainly be included in any such study cheap louis vuitton online. It has now been definitely established that the experiences of this cat led to the idea of quick-frozen people. We must go back to the files of the Los Angeles newspapers for 1950 to find lv monogram handbags. She suspected no connection between the two events. The cat was not to be found until six days later, when its owner went to fetch something from the deepfreeze. Much as she loved her pet, we may imagine that lv monogram bags was more horror-than grief-stricken at her discovery. She lifted the little ice-encased body out of the deep--freeze and set it on the floor. Perhaps it is unfair to pull all the responsibility on one louis vuitton outlet. Had such a thing happened anywhere else in the country, it would have been talked about, believed by a few, disbelieved by most, and forgotten. But it happened in Los Angeles. There, and probably only there cheap lv monogram, the event was anything but forgotten; the principles it revealed became the basis of a hugely successful business. The Zeritskys were businessmen, first and last. Anyone who had the fee could put himself lv monogram purses away for whatever period of time he wished, and no questions asked, The ironclad rule was that full payment had to be made in advance. Law enforcement agents, looking for fugitives from justice lv uk, found no way to break down this system, nor any law which they could interpret as making it illegal to quick-freeze. Perhaps the truth is that they did not search too diligently for a law that could be made to apply lv us. As long as the Zeritskys kept things quiet and did not advertise or attract public attention, they could safely continue their bizarre business. ZHC



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by edgewaters Friday, March 16 @ 05:47:46 EDT
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The rainbow thing I get, because it's actually a symbol used by the gay rights movement. One could be forgiven for mistaking someone wearing a cross as Christian, just as one could be forgiven for mistaking someone wearing a lot of rainbows as homosexual. But baggy pants etc? Who told you this? Many, many guys find women who dress like tomboys to be very attractive. But here's the rub: most of those guys are introverts and introverts (whether male or female) have difficulty making the first move, so if you're an introvert too, well ... you see the problem.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by NMCB3299 Sunday, February 19 @ 17:07:37 EST
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Me, I've found my fashion style in the Junior/Misses department at Target. So far this winter I've found two very fashionable jackets' by Merona with toggle buttons' and I have added my Ted Baker scarfs and a woven hat that I won in a online contest. This adds a feminine expensive look to my outfit which previously people have criticized as looking masculine. I also got two Mossimo spring jackets with toggle buttons for when the weather warms up and will wear them instead of hoodies so much. I still feel very strongly about dressing comfortably. For footwear I have chosen Lands End shoes from the kids' catalog that look just like the womens', but are a fraction of the price. I favor slip on boot-shoes that cost $25. Comfort in shoes is foremost particularly since my left leg was injured and is now home to 7-8 pins plus plates and hardware. A friend tried to get me to admire stilletos in a fashion magazine. That is a big no because I would be in an unbelievable amount of pain from that venture ino the high fashion world and it would not be me.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by CockneyRebel Tuesday, February 21 @ 09:43:16 EST
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Due to my gender issues, I enjoy looking the way Mick Avory did in the January of 1964, with the short hair and the plaid cap. I feel that society has more expectations of people from a gender standpoint than from any other standpoint. I'm female by an accident of genetics, but my brain, voice and soul are male.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Palakol Tuesday, February 21 @ 14:55:44 EST
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I was the guy with the mohawk AND dreadlocks (dread-hawk/mo-locks?), who was supposed to be an art student, but instead studied political science. And I like telling people I work with that I'm gay. I enjoy the conflict.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by pinkbowtiepumps Sunday, February 26 @ 18:36:50 EST
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Great article! I am a an open-minded cis female, and am comfortable being this way. That said, I definitely have gone through phases of change in the way that I dress. Some days I feel comfortable wearing a dress, others I'll wear grungy boots and pants with baggy pockets. To my knowledge, others have never questioned my sexuality in spite of these changing clothing habits, probably because I generally have long hair and behave in a traditionally feminine manner. I, like almost everyone else I've ever met, have tried to change my appearance due to having been bullied. I don't think there's anything wrong with that as long as you are comfortable with how you present yourself to the world- fitting in is a defense mechanism, after all. It shows that you're not afraid to assimilate into society, and if people are comfortable with your appearance then I've found you have more wiggle room to act as eccentric as you please. I still love getting secondhand clothes but now I know how to wear them in a socially acceptable manner. Goodwill is the best. Don't be afraid to be yourself. Thank you for writing this Kirsten!



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by aryaunderfoot Monday, February 27 @ 10:53:17 EST
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I'm actually bisexual and I discovered when I was 15. Just a few months earlier I understood for the first time that one of the reasons why I was constantly rejected from my peer-group was my outward appearance: colours that don't fit, jeans that are not "in" and plain sweaters. No one except me was wearing these things during those years, but I still never expected that I could be excluded for the way I dress! Today I still don't go with fashion but I celebrate my "own style" - only wearing black and white. Makes it easier to buy clothes and sends somehow different signals. I tried butchy too once but it never got me any attractions. Now I'm kinda comfortable with the way I look and how others react to it - and I'm also comfortable with my gender identity which wasn't always the case...



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by damipenny Tuesday, February 28 @ 20:15:51 EST
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Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by GrungeFlannel Tuesday, March 20 @ 02:53:28 EDT
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Might I add that "prostate" stimulation is unhealthy and a risk factor for cancer, and increases the likely hood of HIV positive people. My friend Daniel got some sort of infection from having butt-sex with a girl who was clean as he later found out, but it was the fecal matter inside his eurethra that made the ecolai come and hit his testies. It all runs with the what the majority good is. "Don't stick things where they don't belong." As for condoms, their not 100% so while I indentify with people who are against condoms I don't like them cause their fake, and don't treat the problem of America being Over-Sexualized. Especially the females for Trevor's sake. I don't aggree with the homosexual lifestyle cause it interferes with something that we were meant to do, which is procreate. Even if the kids come out as homosexuals or bi or trans or simply apathetic to the nature of sex. It doesn't stop the problems associated with the above quote. Simply put. "Don't stick things where they don't belong." - Myself. No source because I founded this quote myself upon studying both sides of the fences. Take it for what you for want. But my words won't change the factors above or the status I have with myself.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by spookiewon Friday, March 02 @ 14:58:04 EST
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A friend of mine directed me to your article, and an interview with you and your boyfriend. I do feel the need to correct some misconceptions you seem to have. Rainbows may indeed make people believe you are gay, but lesbians most definitely DO "feel like girls inside." The best way I can explain this to you is that I KNOW I'm a "girl inside" and I think that being female is really super special, and about the most attractive thing on earth. ALL women are beautiful. I can't imagine why, since being female is so special, I'd be attracted to males, who, at least APPEARANCE wise, are clearly inferior. And because females are so much more attractive, why would I want to be male? You are also wrong that there are only two genders among humans. That is the "old fashioned" veiw. The "modern view of sexuality and gender identity" are much more complicated. (Yes, we all prefer black and white, but real is real.) Male and female are phenotypes, not genotypes. There are people born with varying GENOTYPES, and XX and XY are not the only possibility, who also vary in PHENOTYPE. And I'm not just talking cis vs trans gendered. The Intersex Society of North America has some great information on the complexities of what sex and gender are. http://goo.gl/YEDSU



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by markb Saturday, March 03 @ 09:12:25 EST
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great article, thanks for sharing.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by OllyThedude Sunday, March 04 @ 10:39:22 EST
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I'm an transgender aspie. Feel free to interview me via my email at allyallen1@hotmail.com



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by SanityTheorist Monday, March 05 @ 13:34:58 EST
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I find wearing dresses very nice but it's socially condemned because of shallow viewpoints in regard tog ender. The way I see it love is love...for such emotional beings humans really don't want to just be truly fair towards each other. At some point though it'd be nice to go for an adrogynous look I uppose, for comfort as much as it would be to mess with people's notions of "normal." I do think aspergians are often counter-cultural by nature though hehe.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Atrice Tuesday, March 13 @ 05:16:09 EDT
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As an Aspie who has struggled with gender identity issues, I just want to thank you for writing this fantastic article. Like many people have already said, your comments are spot-on. A lot of the things you mentioned clicked with me personally -- in high school, I wore practical, comfortable clothing at the expense of "looking good," cut my hair short because I didn't see the point in growing it out, etc. Of course, these decisions motivated by the most logical and practical of reasons… at the time, it never really occurred to me that people were judging me based on my choice of dress. Although I identified as heterosexual at the time, my classmates -- and everyone else who met me -- just assumed that I was a lesbian. It's a sad truth that most people's first impressions are motivated by snap judgments, based on physical cues such as height, weight, gender, race -- and especially clothing. There's really nothing to be done about it, and eventually I learned how to express myself more accurately through the way I dress. I *wish* it was different, but sometimes, the best thing you can do is adapt!



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Sorenzo Sunday, March 25 @ 08:15:00 EDT
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I love her previous perspective on clothing. I felt the same way, although I expect my bad habits and devastating acne had more to do with the fact that women wouldn't look at me. Now I'm a fairly good-looking guy, and I'm not gay, but I insist on wearing pink and purple shirts. I like pink. I don't know if women would think I was gay, but they're welcome to - The only time I've ever been able to get women to talk to me was when they thought or knew I had a girlfriend (as if single guys are rabid or something), so I imagine seeming unavailable is gonna help me in the long run. Correct me if I'm wrong.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Jedipinkkid1138 Tuesday, March 27 @ 10:05:21 EDT
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I think I can? Uhmmm........ Autism, and people calling other Autistic people "autistics"... Ya know, that's called labeling!! And if you think the way "gay" people are being treated is unfair.... THINK AGAIN! You don't know me? You do NOT know how much crap I've been through, just to be diagnosed mere days after my 18th birthday, with Asperger syndrome!!! VERY rare or at least uncommon for my gender (female)!!!!!



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by whiteflower Thursday, March 29 @ 18:47:26 EDT
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great article, a lot of us are more likely to be lgbt than NTs so articles like these are very helpful.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by awriterswindow Saturday, April 07 @ 22:07:26 EDT
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Thanks for this article, and even more thanks for the one that ran in the Times. It meant so much to me and my boyfriend, and we saw so much of ourselves in it. Thanks for sharing that with all of us.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by ibtiamat Tuesday, April 24 @ 21:21:17 EDT
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Awesome article. You are such a unique person! I have been diagnosed with Asperger's very recently and I am also a lesbian. It can be very hard since I hate being lonely but I also can't figure all the ins and outs of the social world and since I look like a heterosexual female I get guys hitting on me all the time, most of the time inappropriately and my anxiety gets so high up I can barely stand it.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by AShadowintheLight Tuesday, May 22 @ 22:47:53 EDT
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This was one of the first articles on the site that I saw, and it really tugged at my heart strings. I couldn't help but applaud in approval over this article, and I loved reading every single sentence.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Bliss Sunday, January 13 @ 07:12:34 EST
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Fairly new to the site and just read your post. I think it is wonderfully well written and wanted to let you know I am very impressed with what you have to say.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Matt1988 Sunday, July 01 @ 18:35:49 EDT
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Fascinating part at the end. Having finally arrived at a point in life where I can honestly say things are good, as a gay aspie, at 23, I know what she means about trouble getting to grips with sexuality while you're dealing with other problems as an aspie (I wasn't diagnosed until 21, so had most of that fun with no idea why). I've found that NTs can be good friends and considerate to us spectrum peeps, but you have to do something that goes against all our instincts: trust and be open. Now, this has downsides, you will get sh*t in life from morons who don't like anything that isn't the same as them, you will mess up and over-share on occasion. On the upside, I love my job, get on well with almost everyone there, I am open about being gay and having AS, and use the wonderfully easy access to contempt as a method of dealing with people who have a problem with me. My friends know I would quite literally do anything for them, and when I need help (last time was getting a job) several always come through for me...in essence I found that NTs have no problem with gays or aspies so long as we are good people and use the skills the poor NT weaklings don't have to help them. Sure, I still feel like more of an observer than a participant in most social situations, but I get involved more than I used to and the fact that people keep inviting me out must mean I'm not the worst of company! General rule of thumb though: there's a huge difference between being open and honest and banging on about something. Keep it short and sweet and related to what the last person said...even if only an aspie could make the connection lol. Peace.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by JN Thursday, November 22 @ 14:10:57 EST
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Excellent article :) Would have loved to read more of your thoughts, but the article ended... Keep up the good writing, please.



Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Blackman Sunday, August 04 @ 09:17:33 EDT
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All of you asperger people should move to an isolated country so you can breed your new alien civilization.


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