Transitioning when you’re autistic
Something I have found, is that being autistic can make being trans harder in many ways.
Navigating healthcare, trying to change your name, or even just transitioning socially can be made even more difficult. It's hard living with body dysphoria every day and it's even worse when this can impact sensory issues or trigger depersonalisation. Simply noticing my chest can cause a meltdown, looking at myself in the mirror can make me cry for hours. Sometimes it’s dysphoria and sometimes it’s because I'm having a meltdown because I don't understand ‘why’.
It's one thing to not control your environment but it's another to not even be able to control the body that you live in.
I changed my name earlier this year and I'm still not quite sure if I did it properly. When you Google what to do you're given countless options - you're told you must go through courts but then something else tells you if you just pay £50 you're done. I have found the trans healthcare system to not only be full of transphobia, but hard to understand, with the information needed to start the process difficult to find and phrased in a way that is full of medical jargon. It has taken me hours to understand and has caused countless meltdowns.
Nobody tells you how to transition
Socially you're met with a chorus of “are you sure it's not just because you're autistic,” “are you sure you're not faking it,” “I think you’re too young.” I lived my teenage years, having YouTube videos full of transphobia directed at me and slurs yelled in corridors. People deadnaming me because it's funny or people calling me a girl because they choose not to even try and understand me. It breaks you down repeatedly. It was hard enough to simultaneously understand my gender, my identity and my autism without people attacking from the outside.
Self-acceptance and being free
Now, I am confident in myself and my identity; whether someone chooses to believe it or not. I think it's important to surround yourself with friends who care about you, and to find LGBT safe spaces. I'm not sure anybody will ever understand my experience because everybody's experience is unique no matter how many trans autistic people there are.
I want people to know that although on the outside I can put on a smile inside there are days I feel like I am dying because I am so dysphoric it causes severe meltdowns that those around me never seem to fully understand. It has been traumatic to say the least. The world needs to be more accepting and more open. It needs to be more accessible for all trans people to access healthcare and transitioning - not just those who can spend hours trying to understand some basic information the government barely gives.
A lot needs to change in our system but that doesn't mean we can't live our daily lives and work on accepting ourselves. Transitioning is freeing. Cutting my hair off stopped sensory issues and made me feel more comfortable in my own body. Everyone deserves the chance to transition and be surrounded by amazing people who accept them.
About the author
Max identifies as nonbinary who uses they/them pronouns. They currently live in Dundee and study Social Science at college and is going to go to university next year to do Psychology and Spanish. Max also runs an Instagram account where they work on educating people through their experiences as a young LGBT person with mental health issues. Max’s account is @the_gay_agenda_is_calling.