Neuroqueer is a word that was coined by Athena Lynn Michaels-Dillon, Remi Yergeau, and Nick Walker and means (among other things) that you can’t separate your neurodivergency from your gender experience.
They are intrinsically linked and one affects the other. It can be for example that you understand your autism from a gender point of view or that your gender expressions are directly linked to how you feel your ADHD. I’ve written more extensively about it before, and in this post, I wanted to go deeper into how that is manifested in myself.
As a neurodivergent and autist, I understand the world in a different way than neurotypicals. I can be both very black and white and at the same time see nuances that neurotypicals miss.
This means I can have difficulties knowing where the delimitation is. How can you clearly define something when there is a myriad of nuances to take into consideration. Where does something end?
Maybe that’s why I can have such difficulties with simple instructions that are not clearly defined because there is a myriad of nuances in those instructions that the neurotypical doesn’t see.
I once heard the example of someone saying “Clean the floor, there’s the mop”, and the neurodivergent replied “Shall I do all of it? What if someone comes and needs to pass, then the floor will be wet, how do I deal with that? How will I know when I need to change the water, is it okay to keep going with dirty water because it’s a floor or shall I change it because it needs to be cleaned?” And on and on and on.
Nuances that neurotypicals don’t see but for me can grow into something huge in my head if I don’t understand the task and instructions.
This way of understanding the world affects my gender experience as well. It’s not “one or the other”, “either-or”. It’s everything all at once and gender never is “just this” or “just that” for me.
Am I a man? Yes, sometimes I have the experience of being a man (although prefer to call it that Karl comes out). Am I a woman? Yes, sometimes Åsa comes out and then I feel like a woman.
But are they clearly defined and non-affected by my other genders? No, they interact and affect each other, just as my agender personality of Therese also affects the others.
When it comes to my non-binarity, it’s an experience of never-ending nuances that keep affecting each other and can’t be clearly defined. As binaries, we are divided into either or; man or woman. But my autistic self says life is a gradient, a never-ending mix of everything and nothing is ever “either-or”, it’s “everything at the same time”.
That’s how my neuroqueer experience is manifested.