In 2016, the Disabled Students’ Campaign (DSC) organised an event entitled ‘Autistic People, Not Gendered Minds’ in opposition to a talk given by Simon Baron-Cohen in Cambridge at the time.
‘Autistic People, Not Gendered Minds’ challenged Baron-Cohen’s extreme male brain theory of autism and his refusal to consult autistic people on their own experiences of their neurotype and gender by creating a space for honest and safe discussion of how these issues are interlinked. [A transcript of the talk (in three parts) can be accessed on the CamNeurodiversity site.]
This one–off zine, ‘In Camouflage’ (a reference to the phenomenon of ‘autism camouflaging’), aims to create a space to further develop thoughts on this theme: How are autistic traits gendered? Why is autism underdiagnosed in certain groups of people, particularly non-men? How do autistic people experience gender?
Collectively, its contributors (from students of Cambridge, Oxford and Anglia Ruskin Universities) call for a better understanding of how gender and autism interact. All contributors self-define as autistic, though only some have managed to obtain official medical diagnoses, and those who have often obtained them in adulthood.
If, after reading this zine, you feel that you too may be autistic, see the National Autistic Society for more information: www.autism.org.uk. If you’re a Cambridge student, you can also speak to the Disability Resource Centre (DRC; www.disability.admin.cam.ac.uk): email reception firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment with an advisor. Any responses or questions about this zine should be directed to email@example.com.IN CAMOUFLAGE ZINE FINAL_3.0