I received an eARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
I read this book for the Autistic Pride Readathon hosted by Becca @ Becca’s Book Realm and Kitty @ Jellyfable. I’ll post my full wrap-up and possibly some more recommendations at the end of the month!
Before sharing my review, I wanted to start with a small reminder to not use person first language (“person with autism”) unless the autistic person asks you to. In her book, Dale uses person first and identity first language (“autistic person”) interchangeably, so I wanted to clear this up to avoid confusion. Of course it’s very much valid for any autistic person to choose to use person first language!
CWs: transphobia, ableism, attempted suicide, discussion of suicidal ideations, depression, bullying, alcohol/drug addiction, assault/harrassment, misgendering.
“So while the assumption when I was born was that I was or would grow up to be a neurotypical heterosexual boy, that whole idea didn’t really pan out long term.”
In this candid, first-of-its-kind memoir, Laura Kate Dale recounts what life is like growing up as a gay trans woman on the autism spectrum. From struggling with sensory processing, managing socially demanding situations and learning social cues and feminine presentation, through to coming out as trans during an autistic meltdown, Laura draws on her personal experiences from life prior to transition and diagnosis, and moving on to the years of self-discovery, to give a unique insight into the nuances of sexuality, gender and autism, and how they intersect.
Charting the ups and down of being autistic and on the LGBT spectrum with searing honesty and humour, this is an empowering, life-affirming read for anyone who’s felt they don’t fit in.
As a queer and autistic reader, I was very excited to be able to review this title. Since autistic people are statistically more likely to be part of the LGBTQ+ community, it was very interesting to see this intersection of identities highlighted and explored.
Of course, Dale’s experience is different from my own in a lot of ways, because every autistic person will have a different experience, and I’m not transgender myself. But we are the same age, and her experience with autism is rather similar to mine. So her book was hugely relatable to me personally. And because she compares her experience of being trans with her experience with autism, I’ve also gotten a more thorough understanding of what it’s like to be a trans woman. In that sense, this book was a win-win for me, and I think it will be a very insightful read regardless of whether or not you’re autistic and/or trans yourself. However, I hope and, honestly, expect that this book will be quite relatable for anyone who’s autistic and/or transgender!
When it comes to the descriptions of autism, there were so many small details that were genuine light-bulb moments for me, as I still become (more) aware of aspects of my own autism every single day. I really saw myself in the way Dale explained how she experiences and processes the world around her.
This was such a valuable reading experience for me, and I will definitely be buying a physical copy so I can reread it and mark the most relatable passages.