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Neurogender identity was originally proposed as "a gender feeling that is strongly linked to one's status as neurodivergent".[1] It was further elaborated upon as the following: "Neurogender is a gender feeling that is linked to someone's neurodivergence. It can be both an identity and an umbrella term for genders that are limited to neurodivergent people. Obviously, you have to be neurodivergent to identify as this gender. And no, it is not 'turning neurological disorders into a gender'. Neurogender just means that a person's perception of their gender is influenced by them being neurodivergent."[2] As the meaning of the term "neurodivergent" has been debated, it is unclear which definition was intended.[note 1]

By 2016, "neurogender" had been redefined by others as "an umbrella term to describe when someone's gender is somehow linked to their neurotype, mental illness, or neurological conditions. There are many different neurogenders related to most, if not all, neurodivergencies."[3] This specific redefinition has been cited in at least one print source.[4] In another redefinition from 2018, neurogenders were described as "genders specific to neurodivergent people whose experience of gender relates to their neurotype or who feel they can't fully understand gender due to their neurotype."[5]

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Etymology

The Tumblr user aflutteringlaney contributed the term "neurogender" to the now-defunct MOGAI-archive blog by July 30, 2014,[1] then further described it on their own blog by August 12, 2014.[2]

Before its current usage, the word "neurogender" was proposed more than once with unrelated definitions that were not widely adopted. A 1978 article in The Advocate on the topic of "why we are gay" proposed that people who were "exclusively homosexual" on the Kinsey scale were "cross-gendered", saying: "Here the term cross-gendered means someone for whom the gender/sex of the brain—neurogender—is not the same as the morphological/physical/genital gender." In short, the authors theorized that fetal development had caused "masculinization" of lesbian women's brains and "feminization" of gay men's brains, viewing sexual orientation as a neurological misalignment between mental gender and physical sex.[6] In the early 21st century, a group of feminist neuroscientists variously called The NeuroGenderings Network or The NeuroGender Network has held biennial conferences on "neurogenderings", or the "complex ways in which brains become sexed and gendered in the world and in the neuroscience lab".[7]

Community

Neurogender was coined in part via the MOGAI-archive that was dedicated to topics related to MOGAI,[1] an umbrella term for people who are not cisgender and/or heterosexual,[8] and an acronym for Marginalized Orientations, Gender Alignments, and Intersex.[9]

Identities under the umbrella

Gendervague

Gendervague is a term coined within the autistic community to refer to a specifically neurodivergent experience of transgender identity. It can refer to a unconventional understanding of gender. The neurodivergency can impact one's life and affect one's gender, all interconnected.[10] Gendervague can be used similarly or interchangeably with neurogender, or sometimes autigender.[11][12]

Flag

In addition to the term, aflutteringlaney designed the neurogender flag. The colors are red, green, blue, and purple; they represent a rainbow or spectrum of gender identities and neurotypes that neurodivergent people have. The infinity sign is used to represent neurodiversity and is black to represent the aromantic and asexual spectrums.[2] Along with the flag, aflutteringlaney designed a button, scarf, and banner; the images were subsequently collected in the Pride Archive blog.[13]

Controversy

According to aflutteringlaney, who coined the term, neurogender does not mean that a person's neurodivergence or neurological disorder is itself a gender; rather, their "perception of their gender is influenced by them being neurodivergent".[2]

Notes

  1. Neurodivergent is a term associated with the neurodiversity movement. Neurodiverse, coined by Judy Singer, is not equivalent to "neurological disorder" or "autistic"; an individual person is not neurodiverse. Neurodiversity is comparable to biodiversity and refers to the neuro-cognitive variability found in all humans, such as mood, learning, attention, social behavior, and other mental traits. The neurodiversity movement is primarily associated with people who are on the autism spectrum, as well as "cousin" conditions such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, intellectual disabilities, learning disorders such as dyslexia, and motor disorders such as dyspraxia and Tourette's Syndrome. The term neurodivergent, coined by Kassiane Asasumasu, refers to neurologically divergent from typical or a brain that diverges. Asasumasu has said it is not limited to neurodevelopmental disorders and includes people with mental illnesses or no specific diagnosis. Others have redefined neurodivergent as specific to neurodevelopmental or neurological conditions, and not mood, dissociative, or personality disorders. Further explanations of neurodiversity versus neurodivergence are available on the Neuroqueer blog.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "neurogender". MOGAI-archive. (content no longer online) (backup link not available) (archived reblog)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 aflutteringlaney: "Neurogender is... (untitled post)". (offline). (content no longer online) (backup link not available) (archived reblog)
  3. "Neurogender (Revision as of 00:00, 25 August 2016)" (2016-08-25). Gender Wiki. (Archived on February 8, 2022).
  4. Cited in: Harner, Vern and Johnson, Ian M.. "At the intersection of trans and disabled". Social Work and Health Care Practice with Transgender and Nonbinary Individuals and Communities. Shanna K. Kattari, M. Killian Kinney, Leonardo Kattari, and N. Eugene Walls (eds.), Taylor & Francis, 2021. ISBN 9780429443176.
  5. corbin, endever*: "I'm trans and autistic, and yes (for me), they're related" (2018-11-14). homo qui vixit. (Archived on February 8, 2022). Reprinted in: Spectrums: Autistic Transgender People in Their Own Words. Maxfield Sparrow (ed.), Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2020. ISBN 9781787750142.
  6. Gengle, Dean and Murphy, Norman C.. "Revolutionary Extinction? An Emerging Model of the Origin of Sexualities". The Advocate. no. 253, 1978-11-01.
  7. Cipolla, Cyd and Gupta, Kristina. "Neurogenderings and Neuroethics". The Routledge Handbook of Neuroethics. L. Syd M Johnson and Karen S. Rommelfanger (eds.), Taylor & Francis, 2018. ISBN 9781315708652.
  8. Feraday, Christine: "For lack of a better word: neo-identities in non-cisgender, non-straight communities on Tumblr" (PDF) (2015-12-31). rshare.library.ryerson.ca. Ryerson University. (graduate thesis)
  9. cloud (as cisphobeofficial): "MOGAI FAQ". cisphobeofficial.tumblr.com. (Archived on September 9, 2021).
  10. Brown, Lydia X. Z.: "Gendervague: At the Intersection of Autistic and Trans Experiences". Asperger / Autism Network (AANE).
  11. "Gendervague: Autistic + Trans". Halifax Public Libraries.
  12. Holmans, Lyric: "What is AutiGender? – The Relationship Between Autism & Gender – An Autistic Perspective". Neurodivergent Rebel.
  13. Lyric: "Neurogender Pride" (2014-08-13). Pride Archive. (Archived on September 2, 2018).
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