I’m glad you took the time to respond, Art. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from trans folks, but hardly any from people on the spectrum. Which is surprising, given how strong the correlation is between the two.
I just read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time a few months ago. The main character has more severe symptoms than I do (I never caused enough trouble to be diagnosed as a child), but there were a lot of things he said during his internal monologues that I think were meant to sound strange, but I was just nodding along like, “Finally, someone is stating the obvious.”
Eye contact. Ugh. I look at people’s mouths or noses during conversation, but even then there’s a constant anxiety about whether I’m creeping people out by staring or making them think I don’t care by looking away too much. If I actually make direct eye contact, it means nothing else can enter my thoughts until I look away. With people I’m close to, I basically tell them, “If I’m looking you in the eye, it means I’m not listening to you.”
Autism and gender are both on a spectrum, and I think that makes it even harder for us to understand because our brains don’t do gradations very well. In my mind, there is either true or false. I have it or I don’t. It’s a really hard mindset to break through. I’m working on it, though.
Apparently, and this still blows my mind, most men don’t have to resign themselves to being male. A big revelation I had when I was parsing through all this last year was a thread in the AskMen subreddit (I really wish I could find the link right now) where a neo-trans woman asked everyone about their gender identity and if they would switch or ever had thoughts of being female, etc etc. There were a couple hundred responses, and they basically read like this:
No. Nope. Nuh-uh. Never. Huh? What are you talking about? Well, there was this one time, maybe, sort of. It might be cool for a day. Nope. Forget it. Never even thought about it. No way in hell. No. Is that really a thing? I’m gay, does that count? This is a dumb question.
On and on and on. Maybe one person actually said they have these thoughts. Sometimes I wish more cisgender people would join the trans conversation, just so we could get this perspective. It’s weird how often we assume that everyone thinks and feels the way we do and we’re just somehow less able to suppress it. Turns out, no, it’s just us. We’re the odd ones out.
I wish you luck on your journey as well.