The Awesome Autistic Guide For Trans TeensReview published: October 15, 2022
By Yenn Purkis and Sam Rose, illustrated by Glynn Masterman
Content warning: mentions of mental health, suicidal ideation
Disclaimer: Noting that I’m not trans or a teenager, I can only review this from my perspective as an Autistic/ADHD adult.
I think this book is a great resource for autistic teenagers who are trans, gender diverse, or otherwise questioning and exploring their sexuality and gender identities.
According to one study that included 641,860 people: “people who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth are three to six times more likely to be autistic as cis-gender people.” (Source: Neurodivergent Rebel).
Some parts that I thought were really helpful:
Definitions of words, including a glossary and index at the back. As an autistic teenager, there’s many feelings you might have but not be able to put into words, which makes it harder to find information on in a word search. Understanding what certain words mean can help you find communities and support.
List of role models (teenagers and adults). Autistic and trans teenagers are vulnerable to feeling lonely, and like they don’t belong. This can lead to depression and anxiety, as well as higher rates of self-harm and suicidal ideation. Learning of others that have experienced the same or similar circumstances as your own and found happier times on the other side can be vital to feeling like there are better things in your future as well.
Examples of how to disclose and discuss your trans identity. This can be very helpful for autistic teens to have a better understanding of what that conversation might be like, and responses they might give to questions or statements, whether the person they speak to reacts in a positive or negative way.
List of helpful organisations. This book is published in Australia and has contact information for helpful organisations trans and gender diverse can contact in Australia, the USA, and UK.
Different, Not Less by Chloé HaydenReview published: September 22, 2022
Some thoughts on “Different, Not Less” by Chloé Hayden now that I’ve finished reading it.
This book is the book I wish I could have read when I was diagnosed.
This is a book every adult going through late diagnosis of either ADHD or autism should read. This book is for every parent of a child who has just received a diagnosis.
It's just fantastic. The balance of Chloé’s personal story and helpful resources and information is perfect. I am sure I laughed out loud at least as many times as I felt myself tearing up.
When the issues you face aren't able to be resolved by someone asking if you're okay, it is easy to become resentful of this day. Especially when it feels like a corporate check box for many organisations - an opportunity to talk up their position on mental health but not follow through in a way that enacts meaningful change.
Many parents of autistic children have said to me or to other advocates that they need a crash course in the neurodiversity paradigm and neurodivergent advocacy. That they find our spaces unwelcoming or get taken to task for not understanding the language or nuance of long-standing issues that affect the community. This book is that crash course.
More than that, Chloé’s words are validating and affirming of the experiences of Autistic and/or ADHD peoples experiences. There were events in my life that I hadn’t connected with my diagnoses, especially those from my childhood, that I’m now reconsidering how my neurodivergence impacted them.
If any of the above doesn’t make it clear, I highly recommend this book as one to read. I will certainly be reading it again.
Ten Steps to Nanette by Hannah Gadsby
Hannah Gadsby's book Ten Steps to Nanette is a both a wonderful read, and absolutely heartbreaking. I'll admit, it took me several months of putting the book down and picking it up again to get through due to the traumatic material it covers.
This book will hit home for autistic and other neurodivergent folk, and LGBTQIA+ folk, and women and the more of those groups you belong to, the more I recommend you make sure you've read the trigger warnings at the start of the book. I'd absolutely read it again. And if you're up for it and you don't belong to any of the groups I listed above, I think you should read it as well.
Ten Steps to Nanette details Hannah's life growing up in country Tasmania as a closeted lesbian and undiagnosed Autistic ADHD woman. Homosexuality was illegal in Tasmania until 1997 and homophobic attitudes were both rife and accepted a lot longer than that. Hannah's experiences lead to the creation of her world renowned show Nanette in 2017, for which she received a Peabody award and an Emmy.