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Nonfiction Theory

Stranded at the intersection of gender, sexuality, and autism: gray’s story

By Leia K. Cain and Juliana C. Velasco, 2020

In this study we examine the life story of Gray, an individual who identifies as having both a non-binary gender identity and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We argue that Gray’s story of transitioning from female to male and then detransitioning to a non-binary identity is unique and presents a counter to the more typical stories of transitioning individuals. We utilized a life story narrative protocol with an intersectional theoretical framework in order to examine how Gray’s different identities have intersected, evolved, and entangled throughout their life. We found that Gray’s story is a complex web from which they have made decisions concerning their gender identity and plans to transition and detransition, which we argue can inform the way researchers examine gender identity and how it interacts with ASD and other identity markers. We further wish to acknowledge that this topic is rife with tension, and we do not wish to portray a trans-exclusionary study or say that gender dysphoria is related to mental illness or disability.

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