Bringing together a collection of narratives from those who are on the autism spectrum whilst also identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and/or asexual (LGBTQIA), this book explores the intersection of the two spectrums as well as the diverse experiences that come with it.
By providing knowledge and advice based on in-depth research and personal accounts, the narratives will be immensely valuable to teenagers, adults, partners and families. The authors round these stories with a discussion of themes across narratives, and implications for the issues discussed. In the final chapter, the authors reflect on commonly asked questions from a clinical perspective, bringing in relevant research, as well as sharing best-practice tips and considerations that may be helpful for LGBTQIA and ASD teenagers and adults. These may also be used by family members and clinicians when counselling teenagers and adults on the dual spectrum.
With each chapter structured around LGBTQIA and autism spectrum identities, Gender Identity, Sexuality and Autism highlights the fluidity of gender identity, sexual orientation and neurodiversity and provides a space for people to share their individual experiences.
This is a much needed book. In my 34 years of working with the autism spectrum, there have been several times when I have felt grateful for the information received, but never as much as I do with this book! So many times I have worked with people within the autistic spectrum struggling with gender, identity, and sexuality and related issues. Even as a psychotherapist, I have struggled many times to create awareness of these conditions even to fellow clinicians. So you can imagine the joy I felt reading about the courage and resilience of both, the clients and the clinicians on every page of this book! Gender Identity, Sexuality and Autism is an in-depth analysis of gender and sexual diversity on the autism spectrum and the intersections of these identities. Diverse voices explain why clinical and social practices need a transformation namely: self acceptance and others' recognition. Thank you very much!
— Carolina Campos, PhD, co-founder of the Clinica Mexicana de Autismo CLIMA and Asperger México
One of the central characteristics of autism is a difficulty understanding the interpersonal world and developing a sense of self, such that aspects of sexuality and gender identity can be particularly challenging. Those who have autism, their families and professionals need to listen to the personal experiences of those with autism who have navigated the world of sexuality to absorb their perspective, wisdom and advice.
— Tony Attwood, Minds and Hearts Clinic, Brisbane
With expertise and deep empathy, Eva Mendes and Meredith Maroney amplify the diverse voices of people on the autism spectrum. In exploring sexual orientation and gender, alongside other aspects of personal identity, the authors demonstrate and model respect for the humanity of autistic adults and teens. An important and timely read!
— Hillary Hurst Bush, PhD, Staff Psychologist and Instructor, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School
Eva Mendes and Meredith Maroney explore the intersection between autism, gender and sexual identities in this timely, sensitive and engaging work. The inclusion of first-person narratives greatly enriches the reader's understanding of these spectrums' considerable diversity.
— Daniel Tammet, author of Born On A Blue Day and, most recently, Every Word is A Bird We Teach to Sing.
About the Authors:
Eva A. Mendes is an Asperger/autism specialist, couples' counselor and psychotherapist. She facilitates workshops and training at various universities, mental health and medical centres. Ms. Mendes also has a private practice where she works with clients from all over the world.
Meredith R. Maroney is a doctoral candidate pursuing research in the intersection of LGBTQ+ and ASD. She has worked with children, adolescents and young adults on the AS/ASD spectrum for a number of years through Aspire MGH and in college counselling centres.