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Autism and GenderFrom Refrigerator Mothers to Computer Geeks$
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Jordynn Jack

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038372

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038372.001.0001

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Inventing Gender

Inventing Gender

Neurodiverse Characters

(p.181) Chapter 5 Inventing Gender
Autism and Gender

Jordynn Jack

University of Illinois Press

This chapter studies how individuals may invent alternative gendered identities from available gender topoi. Memoirs by Donna Williams and Dawn Prince-Hughes, along with blogs and online forum posts, reveal that autistic individuals offer alternative understandings of gender, using and combining disidentificatory or idiosyncratic terms such as nongendered and third gender or combining terms such as trans, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and androgyne. Indeed, when autistic individuals write about feeling nongendered or ungendered, they contest hegemonic genders and develop new types of gendered characters with which to present themselves and their experiences. Thus, genders can be invented using available terms, in that some autistic individuals employ a gender copia, or multiplicity of gendered topoi, to understand themselves and their roles in the world.

Keywords:   alternative gendered identity, gender topoi, nongendered, hegemonic genders, autistic individuals, gender copia

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