Republicans: A Relentless Source of Minority Stress

30 anti-LGBTQ bills have been filed in the Texas Legislature this year — that is 50% more than last session.

Equality Texas

So much of our life-force goes into fighting GOP bigotry and enduring the hate they seed, sew, nurture, and grow. The Republican Party is a relentless source of minority stress.

As we come to understand depression in the transgender community more accurately, it’s become clear that the major cause is what’s referred to as “minority stress;” that is, “stressors induced by a hostile, homophobic culture, which often results in a lifetime of harassment, maltreatment, discrimination and victimization.”

Source: When Worlds Collide – Mental Illness Within the Trans Community – Lionheart

Why are there greater mental health stresses on autistic people from gender-minority groups? To quote from the research paper,

“The increased rates of mental health problems in these minority populations are often a consequence of the stigma and marginalisation attached to living outside mainstream sociocultural norms (Meyer 2003). This stigma can lead to what Meyer (2003) refers to as ‘minority stress’. This stress could come from external adverse events, which among other forms of victimization could include verbal abuse, acts of violence, sexual assault by a known or unknown person, reduced opportunities for employment and medical care, and harassment from persons in positions of authority (Sandfort et al. 2007).”

Source: Ann’s Autism Blog: Autism, Transgender and Avoiding Tragedy

So. much. stress.

The Republican Party generates so much stress. It actively and directly harms productivity and life, at scale.

And it does so with the insistent ignorance of bigots that I know so well from childhood and from fighting for inclusion in our school district.

“SB 1646 (Perry) in Senate State Affairs, would add transition-related care to the definition of child abuse in the state of Texas and would target parents, guardians and anyone involved in administering that care.”

Equality Texas

This turns science and care on their heads. This inverts the moral universe. This is government-mandated conversion therapy that would force transgender kids to go through the wrong puberty.

So enormously ignorant and cruel.

And so very stressful.

Previously,

There’s No Glory in Dysphoria, Victoria

This is the Story of Victoria

Just like a mourning dove

And there’s no glory in Dysphoria

Victoria

Source: Bad Cop/Bad Cop – Victoria Lyrics

With Republicans criminalizing transgender existence and pushing for government-mandated conversion therapy—forcing youth to have the wrong puberty—the chorus to Victoria has been running through my head on this Trans Day of Visibility.

CW: suicide, dysphoria

For more songs—and perspective—on dysphoria, minority stress, and queer and neurodivergent mental health, check out my playlist ”Chronic Neurodivergent Depressed Queer Punk: Punk Rock, the Social Model of Disability, and the Dream of the Accepting Community”.

As we come to understand depression in the transgender community more accurately, it’s become clear that the major cause is what’s referred to as “minority stress;” that is, “stressors induced by a hostile, homophobic culture, which often results in a lifetime of harassment, maltreatment, discrimination and victimization.” The good news, then, is that as social relations and culture change over time, negative attitudes toward transgender people may be reduced, which will then reduce the stressors which trigger anxiety and depression.

Source: When Worlds Collide – Mental Illness Within the Trans Community — Lionheart

Why are there greater mental health stresses on autistic people from gender-minority groups? To quote from the research paper,

“The increased rates of mental health problems in these minority populations are often a consequence of the stigma and marginalisation attached to living outside mainstream sociocultural norms (Meyer 2003). This stigma can lead to what Meyer (2003) refers to as ‘minority stress’. This stress could come from external adverse events, which among other forms of victimization could include verbal abuse, acts of violence, sexual assault by a known or unknown person, reduced opportunities for employment and medical care, and harassment from persons in positions of authority (Sandfort et al. 2007).”

Source: Ann’s Autism Blog: Autism, Transgender and Avoiding Tragedy

Autistic and queer folks share some dark history-and some bad actors. Chapter 7 of NeuroTribes, Fighting the Monster, shares the legacy of Ole Ivar Lovaas, the twisted father of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and conversion therapy. He applied his abusive, torturous techniques to autistic kids and “sissy boys” to make them “indistinguishable from their peers“. He had little regard for their humanity-they were engineering projects.

Protecting queer kids protects also neurodivergent kids-and vice versa. The fight is for inclusion and acceptance-for all operating systems, for all of our different ways of being human. Supporting our kids means supporting all of their possibilities and expressions.

Source: Neurodiversity and Gender Non-conformity, Dysphoria and Fluidity – Ryan Boren

And that is what happens when you soak one child in shame and give permission to another to hate.

Source: Hannah Gadsby: Nanette – Netflix

Republicans are killing us. Music can only do so much. What are you doing? Are you emptying the pews of the toxic Christianity fueling this bigotry?

Usually, for adherents of this kind of repressive Christianity, queer people are not supposed to exist, and when their existence cannot be ignored, it poses a problem to be solved, sometimes literally with references to Satan. Given that objections to the legalization of same-sex marriage and the now seriously threatened expansion of transgender visibility and rights are flashpoints in the contemporary right-wing backlash, it is of the utmost importance to amplify the voices of members of the LGBTQ community harmed by conservative Christianity.

it has become clear that right-wing Christians—evangelicals, radical traditionalist Catholics, and Mormons—are authoritarians who will dismantle democracy before they will give up power.

Source: Empty the Pews: Stories of Leaving the Church: Stroop, Chrissy, O’Neal, Lauren, Schaeffer, Frank: 9781946093073: Amazon.com: Books

Type Integrity: Falsification of Type, Prolonged Adaptation Stress Syndrome, Minority Stress, Masking, and Burnout

Prolonged Adaptation Stress Syndrome is what happens when someone pretends to be something they’re not on an everyday basis. It is exhausting and soul-eating. This greatly contributes to the high level of mental illness in the trans community or autistic burnout in the neurodiverse community.

Source: ysabetwordsmith | Poem: “Type Integrity”

Well said, and with interesting links I’ll quote from below.


For purposes of sharing her observations in a more formal manner, Taylor arrived at the acronym PASS, Prolonged Adaptive Stress Syndrome, to describe the eight commonly observed symptoms that may be present in varying degrees in individuals who have spent years living an energy-exhausting lifestyle.

  1. Fatigue
  2. Hypervigilance
  3. Immune System Suppression
  4. Reduced Function of the Frontal Lobes
  5. Altered Neurochemistry
  6. Memory Problems
  7. Discouragement or Depression
  8. Self-Esteem Problems

Source: Prolonged Adaptive Stress Syndrome (PASS) – Arlene R Taylor PhD, Realizations Inc

That wasn’t written specifically about autistic masking and burnout, but it sure does resonate.

Related:


we call “falsification of type” the development of some typological attitudes that allow the creation of an adaptive functional persona, through the repression of our “natural” gifts. This adaptive persona is developed for the sake of acceptance and adaptation to different environmental contexts.

Sometimes it is difficult to realize one’s natural gifts, due to an over-identification with an adaptive persona. And a person might be extremely good and skilled with “false gifts” since they were trained and developed over a long time.

The way to encountering the deeper Self and ones natural gifts is not necessarily thinking about what one is good at, but rather noticing what brings enjoyment, meaningfulness, abiding pleasure, ease and peace. Each of us knows, at a deep level, what brings those qualities, independent of how much space and time they have in our lives. They are qualities of being, not qualities born from living falsely.

Source: Falsification and the Un-lived Life – Giftcompass

Again, that wasn’t written specifically about autistic masking, but “over-identification with an adaptive persona” sounds like my life before learning about masking and burnout from other autistic people.


As we come to understand depression in the transgender community more accurately, it’s become clear that the major cause is what’s referred to as “minority stress;” that is, “stressors induced by a hostile, homophobic culture, which often results in a lifetime of harassment, maltreatment, discrimination and victimization.” The good news, then, is that as social relations and culture change over time, negative attitudes toward transgender people may be reduced, which will then reduce the stressors which trigger anxiety and depression.

Source: When Worlds Collide – Mental Illness Within the Trans Community — Lionheart

Related:

Why are there greater mental health stresses on autistic people from gender-minority groups? To quote from the research paper,

“The increased rates of mental health problems in these minority populations are often a consequence of the stigma and marginalisation attached to living outside mainstream sociocultural norms (Meyer 2003). This stigma can lead to what Meyer (2003) refers to as ‘minority stress’. This stress could come from external adverse events, which among other forms of victimization could include verbal abuse, acts of violence, sexual assault by a known or unknown person, reduced opportunities for employment and medical care, and harassment from persons in positions of authority (Sandfort et al. 2007).”

Source: Ann’s Autism Blog: Autism, Transgender and Avoiding Tragedy


I’ve experienced several moments of burnout in my life and career. Being something that I neurologically am not is exhausting. Wearing the mask of neurotypicality drains my batteries and melts my spoons. For a long time, for decades, I didn’t fully understand what was going on with me. I didn’t understand the root causes of my cycles of burnout. Finding the Actually Autistic community online woke me to the concept of autistic burnout. When I found the community writing excerpted below, I finally understood an important part of myself. Looking back on my life, I recognized those periods when coping mechanisms had stopped working and crumbled. I recognized my phases and changes as continuous fluid adaptation.

Source: Autistic Burnout: The Cost of Masking and Passing – Ryan Boren

Oh, hey, that’s me. 🙂

This sparks a future blog post idea: “Continuous fluid adaptation” and “over-identification with an adaptive persona”


Let’s conclude with a snippet from the poem that started this post and gave it its title.

So many others were encouraged

to throw off a false role and free

themselves from expectations,

empowering themselves

to find their own path.

Source: ysabetwordsmith | Poem: “Type Integrity”

Throwing off the false roles of adaptive personas “developed for the sake of acceptance” sure does feel good. I work toward a future where everyone is safe to do so.