content/trigger warning: ABA, suicide attempts, religion.

My name is Kristian Young, but you can call me Kris.  I’m a Black, genderqueer, asexual Autistic person.  Here’s my story.

I was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified) when I was 3 years old.  From there, I was placed in a special education early childhood center and had to go through early intervention, which was a nightmare for me.  I was not allowed to hum or repeat phrases or do anything that made me uniquely me.  The “experts” made me feel like I was a weirdo for doing these things.

When I was 16, I was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome.  I had to learn “social skills”. They made me make eye contact and other things while I was growing up.

About my gender identity, I never liked people calling me a girl or people using she/her pronouns for me.  It just didn’t feel right, even when I was really little.  I didn’t know about the word transgender until I was 14 years old when I saw a Discovery Channel special.  Even so, I was still confused: people could change from one gender to another?

I first learned the word genderqueer at age 16.  This person was describing that they didn’t feel like a boy or a girl, and I was like, this is exactly how I feel.  Still, I just brushed it aside and said I was a cisgender girl because I wanted to fit in so badly.

I was so ashamed of myself for not being a neurotypical, straight, cis girl that I attempted suicide twice in my 20s.  But I was saved by Jesus Christ, and I’m very thankful for that.

Today, I’m a co-chapter leader of The Autistic Self Advocacy Network’s Washington, DC chapter and life is great for me.  There are still some difficulties for me, but God helps me get through it.  I’m proud to be Autistic and genderqueer!

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