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I am a queer, polyamorous, kinky autistic and I don’t care why.

I am a queer, , kinky autistic and I don’t care why.

So often when you talk about these things that’s the question which comes up over and over again. Why?

Why are you : is it because you were indoctrinated?

Why are you : is it because you’re still half in the closet?

Why are you kinky: is it because you were traumatised?

Why are you : is it because you’re a addict?

Why are you autistic: is it because of vaccines?

(Yes these are all real examples, quite a lot of them have been published by academic researchers). Setting aside these offensive and ludicrous explanations, the question of why we exist outside of the norm remains pervasive. Even the common refrain among LGBT+ people that we were “born this way” falls into this pattern, implying that my identity as a non-binary bisexual is determined solely by genetic markers.

These questions might be worth exploring in scientific research; perhaps that knowledge could help improve our understanding of these identities. But it shouldn’t sit in the centre of the discourse around these communities. If you’re not convinced then let me ask you this – why should it matter?

Imagine that tomorrow you looked at the news and saw scientists had found a definitive answer about why people are autistic; what would that change? Would that make the world more accessible and less stressful for us? Would we suddenly become more or less deserving of support? Would people stop being so infantilising towards us? In short, would our lived experiences be changed by that knowledge?

So, I really don’t care why I am the way that I am. I care about whether I have equal rights under the law, whether I face harassment, whether I have access to healthcare, whether I’ll lose my job or my house or my life if I don’t hide parts of myself. Knowing which confluence of genetic, environmental, and random factors might have shaped my identity doesn’t help me with any of that.

This fixation on causes must be understood as part of the pathologisation of difference. This is the idea that anything outside the norm must be understood as a disorder, a problem which needs to be fixed. With we can trace this back to the garbage ideas of Freud. Homosexuality only stopped being classified as a psychiatric disorder between 30 and 50 years ago, and this is still how many trans and autistic people are treated. This medicalisation assumes that my queerness, my , my kinkiness is something wrong with me. But these aren’t diseases I’m afflicted with, these are parts of my life, my personality, my perspective. These things which make me different also bring me joy and pride. The pain and fear I live with as an enby (non-binary person) is not a problem with my transness, it’s a problem with other people’s transphobia. We must resist this pattern of automatically treating anything outside the norm as a problem to be fixed. Instead, let’s ask whether the problem is with the deviation from the norm, or with other people’s response to that deviation.

And this is where the conversation takes a dark turn, but one which I think needs to be recognised. If we found the causes of our differences, how long would it be before people began to ask how we stop them from happening? We know that children are denied access to healthcare because their parents fear vaccines might make them autistic. We know that across the world queer people are abused or tortured in an attempt to cure them. These practices continue despite the overwhelming evidence that they don’t work. If there was actually an effective way to stop people from being queer, or autistic, or otherwise divergent, how many people would adopt this form of eugenics? You might call this hyperbole but I know there are people who would happily see me erased from existence because I don’t fit the model of humanity which exists within their mind. Our society grudgingly tolerates difference, and if a choice did exist I don’t know whether the beauty of diverse identities and experiences would be valued.

Living lives outside of the norm is not an illness or a threat to you. So don’t treat us as something to fix, exotic curiosities, or intellectual thought experiments. Please, just treat us as people. And stop asking us why.


  • Performer, writer, event organiser. Queer as shit, unapologetically feminist, really nerdy. Trans stuff, comedy, , and poly things. (they/them)

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