Transphobic actions

that has devastated the neurodivergent community

By Camilla Asra Engelby

Graphic Designer & Content Creator Camilla Asra Engelby

Let’s start with a little terminology:


Coined by Kassaine Asasumasu – an umbrella term that encompass a multitude of different ways one’s brain can be neurologically varied. Some neurodivergent conditions are innate others are acquired. Some may be temporary others are lifelong. This can include ADHD, autism, Schizophrenia, CPTSD and many others.


An individual whose neurology does not meet the diagnostic criteria for neurodivergence. This term is also attributed to Kassaine Asasumasu.


A term attributed to sociologist Judy Singer. The word neurodiversity means the variation in brain function we see across a group of people. Neurodiversity include both neurotypical and neurodivergent individuals.

Neurodivergent and trans voices will not be silenced 

During Pride month and in the the week leading up to Autistic Pride Day, Judy Singer began tweeting, retweeting and liking transphobic content.

As there is an extremely high proportion of the neurodivergent community, especially among autistics who are gender diverse this was both shocking and hurtful to our community.

Soon these tweets and comments got the attention of the community. And naturally there was a pushback from many within the neurodivergent community. Many tried to reason with Singer and explain how her actions were deeply hurtful.

An apology of sorts – mixed feelings among neurodivergent people

Soon after Singer published a formal apology on social media.

I made a clear mistake with my language in a few social media postd in the last couple of days. I want to take this chance to sincerely apologise.

I let my well known near-obsession for clean language be more important than recognising that Trans rights are human rights, and that they are under attack more than ever.. I can see now that the way I expressed myself caused harm and I’m truly sorry.

I’m going to take a few weeks away from social media and consult with some of my friends in the trans community to listen and learn. I hope that I’ll be given the chance to grow from this experience.

Iwant to reassure you all that my lifelong commitment to standing up for human rights has not changed. Being born into a different society 72 years ago, to Holocaust traumatised parents, then becoming a refugee in Australia at the age of 6 with no other family,, l’ve felt it to be my moral duty to stand up for those who have been marginalised. That includes people who are discriminated against on the basis of sexuality, socioeconomic class, gender, race and disability.

Over the last 48 hours I didn’t live up to the standards l’ve always set myself. I want everyone to know that I made a mistake in how I represented my actual beliets.

I’m devasted to have hurt some of my closest friends and allies that I’ve stood with for decades. I want to thank those who have taken the time to speak with me – I’m committed to continuing to listen.

l’Il be back in a few weeks and I’II let you know what I’ve learnt from my consultations.

Keep well


The apology however, received mixed reactions. I’m not going to go into details here. People who are far more eloquent than me made excellent points about various ways the wording in the apology was problematic.

Personally I was hopeful that Singer hadn’t yet fallen too far down the transphobic rabbit hole. But my hope was soon squashed.

After posting the apology Singer subsequently deactivated her social media accounts. Because this was unfortunately not the end of it …

Apology rescinded

The very next day Singer reactivated her social media accounts only to rescind her apology saying that she hadn’t even written it herself. She then proceeded to double down on her anti-trans rhetoric.

She further fanned the flames by accusing those advocating for human rights for all of being a “ravening mob baying for her blood”.

I am rescinding this apology. It was not written by me but by a conglomerate of well meaning supporters. I am grateful to them for trying to rescue me, but I only succumbed because I was wounded and weakened by the ravening mob baying for my blood. Having slept on it, realised that all it had done was declaw me. The Claws are back.

Watch this space. The context is that I have come to the end of my naive 60s egalitarianism. I’m finally about to defend Meritocracy and expertise. Can’t quite believe I have reached this point, but it took a hiding from the ignorant mob. Am over it. Let’s not twitterize or facebookize LinkedIn. If you are building your business using a concept that took decades of my blood sweat tears lived experience and scholarship to develop, which in my PollyGlossian 60s idealism naivety I did not trademark, how dare you castigate me

Reactions from the neurodivergent community

These events have – quite naturally – greatly upset the neurodivergent community.

People are currently debating whether or not to continue using the words neurodiversity and neurodivergence.

However, it is vital to understand that Singer does not own these words. They belong to all of us. It is astonishing to me that a person who is able to not merely grasp that humans are neurologically varied, but has formulated this in such a profound way is utterly incapable of comprehending that sex and gender are two different things.

Plenty of actually inclusive people who have come after Singer have used and expanded upon the word and the study of neurodiversity and neurodivergence. You might even say it has outgrown its creator. By her actions Judy Singer has  effectively removed herself from being a supporter of autistic and neurodivergent rights.

Trans rights are human rights!
Trans women are women!
Trans men are men!
Non-binary identities are valid!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Privacy statement | Cookie policy | Disclaimer | Imprint | Copyright Camilla Asra Engelby