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  • Writer's pictureThe Autistic Realm Australia Inc.

Gender diversity is Autistic reality - Not "grooming".

Does the word "grooming" arouse a strong emotional response when you hear it? Would that be the "ick factor"? Concern? Maybe even disgust? Yes? Well that is what you are supposed to do. Respond unconsciously. Be influenced subconsciously. It is the latest weapon used by the opponents of the very idea of gender diversity. Those people who think that Autistic children are too stupid to know their own gender. That gender diverse adults are perverts that will destroy society as it "should" be.

Grooming is a word now associated with sexual abuse of children.

Look at this screenshot. This the very first page that came up when googling a definition of the word.

TARA calls bullshit.

Gender diverse people are up to 6 times more likely to be Autistic than the general population. Link to some recent evidence below*

Very recently a federal politician used the word in a vile attempt to raise "concern" about Australia’s “gender dysphoria problem”. The ABC was accused of “grooming Australian children” over a show that featured Courtney Act reading from a children’s book on Play School, about a girl who is not comfortable wearing dresses and finds out she loves to wear trousers. TARA is tired of our gender diverse children being weaponized in a culture war.

You'd think that girls wearing pants might not be controversial in the 21st century... It would be funny if it wasn't horrifying.

To state the obvious - gender diversity is real. Gender diverse children are real. Autistic people do gender Autistically, that is, differently! To support and validate gender diverse Autistic children is showing unconditional love. All children deserve that.

If you don’t understand about the link with gender diversity please - be open to learning about it from us. We encourage you to ask questions! Just be respectful, that is all we ask.

When you join any Tara online community we make it clear that respect for all diversity is expected. If you can’t do that, then these groups aren't for you. They are also not the place to try and change people’s minds. Our stance on this matter is based on the science and the evidence of Autism and gender diversity, as well as the experience of Autistic people.

To all the parents here with gender diverse children - that your child felt safe enough and trusted you enough to tell you their truth is evidence of supportive and wise parenting. Loving them as they are, in the moment, is the greatest gift you can give them. There is a link below to a video of TARA co founder Anna Cristina about how to support your child if they are gender diverse. It’s based on her own experiences a parent of a (trans) son, and on all the research she did when he came out. Anna Cristina is the leading chief author of Amaze's resource on gender dive Video What do you do when your child comes to you and says …: Practical support strategies

See also Red Flags: transphobic groups and content guide.

Notes *The study mentioned here used a number of data sets which added up to a cohort of more than 600,00 and was not limited to gender services as de Vries paper was. Link to this study below. In other words - "our study demonstrates that transgender and gender-diverse individuals have elevated rates of autism diagnosis, related neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions, and autistic traits compared to cisgender individuals. This study has clinical implications by highlighting that we need to improve access to care and tailored support for this under-served population."

Elevated rates of autism, other neurodevelopmental and psychiatric diagnoses, and autistic traits in transgender and gender-diverse individuals Warrier, V., Greenberg, D.M., Weir, E. et al. Elevated rates of autism, other neurodevelopmental and psychiatric diagnoses, and autistic traits in transgender and gender-diverse individuals. Nat Commun 11, 3959 (2020).

Autism Spectrum Disorders in Gender Dysphoric Children and Adolescents de Vries, A.L.C., Noens, I.L.J., Cohen-Kettenis, P.T. et al. Autism Spectrum Disorders in Gender Dysphoric Children and Adolescents. J Autism Dev Disord 40, 930–936 (2010).

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