by Katie Munday
Neurogenders–genders which are understood to be intwined with diverse neurologies–are beginning to be recognised, transformed, and adopted by those across neurological spectrums. These neurogenders include (but are not limited to): autigender, bordergender, cloudgender, foggender, genderanxious, gendermute, posigender, systemfluid, and vaguegender. These genders are often understood as reciprocally determinant of different neurologies including borderline personality, ADHD, schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression.
Although these genders can support self-understanding, they are not reflective of every neurodiverse person. Indeed, these genders are contentious across different neurological communities, being both championed and challenged in equal measures.
So, what about autigender?
Neurodiverse Tumblr users first coined autigender in 2014, defining it as a gender which can only be understood in the context of being autistic. This definition suggests that some people’s gender experience and knowledge is influenced by or attached to their being autistic.
Autigender can be understood as a definitive gender or as a way for some autistic people to explore and understand their gender expression and identity. Autigender can be used as an explanation for gender, a standalone gender or used alongside other genders, for example, someone could be autigender, trans masculine and bi-gender. Autigender is not inherently queer but may make sense for autistic people who tend to be more diverse in their genders (please see my previous post: Gender Creativity and the Spectrum).
Definitions of autigender are now being used by respondents to census’ across the world. In the 2016 Nonbinary/Genderqueer Survey, one of the respondents called their gender identity ‘autisgender’ whilst another described theirs as ‘autistic’. Similar answers were seen in the 2019 Worldwide Gender Census, with 66 of the respondents calling their gender identity autigender, autgender, autistic, or autiqueer. Several of these survey respondents explained that their being autistic had a significant effect on their understanding of gender. Numbers of autigender identities were higher still in the 2020 Gender census, which saw 92 respondents identify as ‘autism gender’ or ‘autigender’.
Neurogenders, including autigender, have allowed some neurodiverse people to understand their gender through their own distinct neurology, making the double rainbow all the more brighter.