- Dr. Lee Bess
His Profile Stated: He/Him, Queer, Trans, Neurodivergent
When I met my friend Abe at the beginning of the pandemic, the top of his Instagram profile
stated: He/Him, Queer, Trans, Neurodivergent. I did a double take. As I got to know him, I learned that Abe’s autism diagnosis was new – he began his self-assessment and diagnosis for autism as he was finishing a PhD. Although my ADHD diagnosis was a couple decades old, I was truly surprised by Abe’s willingness to publicly self-identify as neurodivergent. Social media was an important avenue for Abe to meet friends and dates. Why put neurodivergent right up front?
I was truly surprised by Abe’s willingness to publicly self-identify as neurodivergent. Social media was an important avenue for Abe to meet friends and dates. Why put neurodivergent right up front?
So I asked him about it. “Most of my friends are neurodivergent queers, like you are,” he told me. “We have the most in common. Why hide it if it helps me find my people?”
I was not yet comfortable identifying as neurodivergent. But Abe had pointed out something that was also true for me – most of my friends are neurodivergent queers, and nearly all of the others are punks, artists, and other self-expressive oddballs. My involvement in queer community has made my life rich with connection and creativity. Being queer has always felt like a blessing to me, although, as a small town Midwesterner, my queerness has introduced countless complications to my life. Abe challenged me to consider whether that sense of community and connection might also ring true in my experience as a person with ADHD.
Now, three years into the pandemic, I’ve gone through the seemingly universal experience of a shifting social network – some ties loosened while others became stronger. Like so many others, I used long quiet days and months to consider my identities, priorities, and relationships. I began settling into a comfort and resonance with my neurodivergence, claiming it as a source of creativity, connection, and community.
...science is catching up to our lived experiences as people at the intersection of queerness and neurodivergence.
In a future blog post, I’ll write about the study published in August 2020 that gave the world
(including my home-bound self) some remarkable insights into the connections between gender diversity and neurodivergence. (For a spoiler, check out the original publication and an excellent explainer piece by the study’s authors.) What I want to say here is that science is catching up to our lived experiences as people at the intersection of queerness and neurodivergence.
Catching up to our lived experiences as people at the intersection of queerness and neurodivergence. There are many of us, we share many of the same challenges, and we are truly remarkable. Like Abe and me: in forging a friendship that includes our many identities, we have found understanding and appreciation for one another, and that made the pandemic more survivable.
Interested in joining our upcoming Neurodivergent Queer Support Group? Request a no-cost consult with Dr. Lee Bess, the author of this post and the group facilitator. Christina Higgins, M.S., will co-facilitate this group.