Disabled and queer – reclaiming the words we live by

“Queer”, once used as a derogative expression, is more often used as an umbrella term for people who identify as LGBTQIA+. It is intentionally ambiguous, allowing flexibility for those who identify outside of cishet normativity. I call myself queer as this allows me to maintain flexibility in my gender and sexual identities without telling people my whole divergent story.

My being Autistic, ADHD and Disabled is also queer, it doesn’t necessarily affect my gender or sexuality but it does inform the way in which I live a queer existence. I do not lead a typical life (whatever that may look like) I communicate, dress, express myself and exist in a way that makes sense to my individual bodymind.

My brain will not allow for normativity, it will not follow or bow down to it and neither do my ideas on gender, sex and love. I didn’t buy into neuro-normativity and I’m certainly not buying into cis or hetero-normativity and its way passed me being able to hide or reduce myself in that way.

I’m here, I neuroqueer and I’d really like to have a nap now.


by Katie Munday (they / them)

On the 5th December 1998 the modern bisexual flag was created!

The flag was based on the ‘bi-angles’ symbol created by queer activist, Liz Nania, in 1987.

Both flags were created to make bisexual people, and our community, more visible during Pride marches and liberation marches.

The bi-angles are two triangles overlapping. A pink triangle and a blue triangle both of which have their dominant point downwards. The pink triangle represents that which was used in Auschwitz to label gay and trans prisoners. The blue triangle represents heterosexuality. The purple triangle at their overlap represents bisexuality and the queering of binary gender.

The bisexual flag was created by Michael Page in 1998. The pink stripe represents attraction to the same sex or gender, the blue stripe represents attraction to a different sex or gender. The purple stripe, the “overlap” of the blue and pink stripes, represents attraction regardless of sex or gender.

ID: the biangles symbol top left. A pink downward pointing triangle overlapped by a downward pointing blue triangle. The point at which they overlap is a small purple triangle. Black text reads: biangles.The bisexual flag bottom right. This is a horizontal stripes flag, (top to bottom) pink, purple and blue. Black text reads: bisexuality flag

Living under the double rainbow: Trans and non-binary Autistic narratives

by Katie Munday (they/ them)

Abstract / summary: Clinical impressions suggest a significant overlap of Autistic and transgender / non-binary identities. Most of this work focuses on prevalence rates and the perspectives of non-Autistic cisgender professionals and parent / carers, leaving the narratives of trans Autistic people overlooked. This study aimed to share trans Autistic narratives to contribute to knowledge around our lived experiences, as well as creating recommendations for future research in this area. This study represents findings from interviews with thirteen transgender and / or non-binary Autistic people (ages 20 to 50). Of interest was the way participant’s expressed their intersecting identities through narrative methods and what recommendations they would make for future research on transgender Autistic experiences. Participants spoke about a variety of life experiences including mental health issues, making and maintaining relationships, future aspirations and experiences with employment. Participants also gave recommendations for future work, including diversifying participant pools by ethnicity, age, physical disability and gender identity, as well as participatory approaches which include gender divergent Autistic people at all levels of study.

Read the rest of the research paper over at Autistic and Living the Dream

Teenage, Queer and Autistic: Living in Two Closets

by Katie Munday

The overlap of Autistic and LGBTQIA+ identities is a growing topic of conversation especially for those of us who occupy both spaces, and there are lots of us! We are all at differing points in our neurodivergent and queer journeys, some of us are clear of who we are, some of us are confused, some of us are more fluid and embrace the confusion, some of us are out and some of us aren’t.

So, what does it feel like to be living in two closets as a teenager? 

The teenage years are difficult for all of us, growing bodies, raging hormones, different expectations; no longer being a child but not yet an adult. These years, often referred to as “the best of our lives” (!?), can be even more turbulent when you are both autistic and queer. 

We spend so much of our teenage years confused by the seemingly illogical and irrational behaviours of others and perhaps even more so by our own changing behaviours! Most of us struggle with feeling like we don’t fit in and many of us are relentlessly bullied for being different.

Some of us as teenagers are unaware that we are autistic and may feel that our differences are due to being strange, lazy, useless, stupid–and all of us have heard those awful words at some point in our lives. No matter what we try, we don’t fit in. The rules keep changing and we are left adrift trying desperately to work out what is going on. 

Even for those who have formal diagnosis teenage years can be just as awful–the names, the isolation, the weird looks–and this can come from school staff and parents as well as from our peers!

Some of us try to hide our behaviours and needs, adapting to others. This is usual for everyone in their teenage years but is scary and invalidating nonetheless: through this assimilation we lose a vital and beautiful part of our identities. We do this so we can make friends, feel belonging or simply so that we can go through school with the least amount of trauma possible. 

A lot of the time this behaviour is called masking, but I think in relation to school especially that it makes more sense to call it ‘shielding’. We are emotionally and physically shielding ourselves from the awful remarks, bullying and abuse which reinforces the idea that we are strange and unlovable.

Unfortunately, acceptance isn’t always found within our families or with other people in our lives who are meant to support us. This can make us shield all day at school and then all evening and weekend at home.

Then add the confusion of gender and sexual divergence!

It is a mess for any teenager to understand their feelings towards their body, mind, and heart and that of others. When friendships are already difficult and exhausting, adding romantic and sexual attraction (or realising you don’t experience these) can make this even more bewildering. Being LGBTQIA+ has rules of its own, how do I flirt with someone who has the same body as me? Do I treat this gender the same as the other genders? How do I know a boy fancies me? Goodness knows this is confusing enough for heterosexual neurotypical teens let alone the rest of us!

Some of us also struggle with understanding our gender, or lack of gender, and there aren’t always words to express our feelings. Add this with alexithymia, an inability to articulate or understand our own feelings, and we are in for one rocky ride! 

No wonder so many of us sit in these two closets for so long. 

But there is hope, safe spaces for young people and adults who are both Autistic and Queer are emerging. Online there are groups and forums where we can ask for help and advice or just share interests with people with similar life journeys. There are face-to-face groups too and information and resources which cater to our access needs. There are even quiet and sensory spaces for Autistic people at a lot of UK Pride events (see No Pride without Disability Pride). 

Spaces are opening for us as we are being more readily understood and accepted. The world is slowly getting better. 

If you are struggling with being Autistic and Queer, know that there are others out there like you and there is acceptance, love and belonging to be had. And these people and spaces get easier to access as you gain more independence, as you question and understand yourself better. 

And sometimes, it isn’t safe to come out of the closet and that’s okay too. You and your identity are just as valid. We see you and you are loved. 

I am aware that I write about better acceptance and safe places for us from a place of privilege and that this is not improving for everyone across the World but hopefully together, through living our beautiful, and sometimes scary truth, we can get to that World quicker.


We all have stories to tell, advice to give, experiences to share. Communities are built on sharing, and we’d love it if members of our community here at AIM for the Rainbow wanted to contribute towards Iggy’s Initiative.

We’re asking for submissions that have some connection with the Double Rainbow–with neurodivergent and LGBTQIA+ lives and experiences. You might write about the experience of coming out, about your hopes for the future or your fears today. You might want to offer help and advice to others on similar paths through life, or perhaps share an account of something fun you’ve done.

Submissions can be creative fiction or factual. They might take the form of a list, or an essay or a poem. They might be long or short. You can also submit photographs and visual art. All we ask is that it is your own work, and you own any images you send in.

We’re sorry that we can’t offer payment for submissions, and we can’t promise to publish everything we receive. Anything you submit remains your work and you will be credited as the author/creator. We may edit submissions for clarity or length, but we will ask you to approve the draft before it appears online.

You can contact our editorial team using the form below to propose your ideas, or to submit a piece of writing directly. Please use our Contact page for general enquiries.

Taking Shape

Screenshot of a closed Facebook group called The Rainbow Room showing the header image which is an AIM for the Rainbow graphic

On Saturday I (Alex) was at the Neurodivergent Labour launch in London with dear friend and AIM CEO Emma Dalmayne, and had the great pleasure to meet up with fab Erin (@queerlyautistic). We talked about our AIM for the Rainbow initiative which had never really got off the ground, and how we feel it’s so important and necessary.

We talked about refreshing and relaunching it to provide information and support, to campaign for acceptance and the rights of LGBTQIA+ neurodivergent people of all ages. So it’s less than a week later and we now have this website, a Facebook page and group, and a Twitter account! Who says autistics can’t organise or plan?

All this and we’ve not had our “official” launch yet! Please follow us on social media, like our page, join our group. We’d love to see you all there!