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,

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.

Disclosing You’re Neurodivergent at Work

Regarding recent disclosure at work discussions, I’m thinking about John Elder Robison’s piece that talks about using “neurodivergent” instead of diagnostic labels to make disclosing at work less stigmatizing.

When schools and workplaces move from autism programs to neurodiversity programs, they include every person with a cognitive difference, not just autistic people. The tent gets bigger, and it has room for all.

Whether your goal is competitive advantage or human service, you should be able to meet your goals better under a Neurodiversity at Work banner, as opposed to an Autism at Work one. In both cases the supports needed are similar, but the neurodivergent population is substantially larger than the “only autistic” population so your chances of success are magnified.

While labels like ADHD, autism, dyslexia, or PDD-NOS may be useful for therapists and childhood educators, the community-sourced alternative “neurodivergent” is probably better suited for colleges and workplaces. In those spaces, medical labels carry stigma that leads to conscious and unconscious marginalization. Expectations are always lower for people with disability diagnoses.

Neurodiversity is a new concept but the underlying reality has been part of human society forever. In the modern era work and school programs designed for the average person have excluded those whose cognitive styles fall outside that narrow midrange. Despite that, workplaces – including colleges – already contain plenty of neurodiversity so a primary program goal should be the better support of those people. Neurodiversity at School and at Work is not just about bringing new people into the fold.

The newest Neurodiversity initiatives recognize this fact.

By embracing the neurodiversity model instead of autism, employers can move toward a more inclusive welcoming environment.

Source: The Next Step for Neurodiversity | Psychology Today

Sounds good to me.

As I’ve witnessed, the opposite approach to universal design inclusivity leads to the likelihood of increased segregation, such as the implementation of entirely separate hiring processes for job candidates who have a specific neurological difference. Neurodiversity isn’t meant to be a means of setting individuals apart. Siphoning a member of a marginalized community into a separate process leads to discrimination. Imagine if we encouraged all women to go through a segregated hiring program! It’s easy to see the problems with such an approach — and the benefits that universal design inclusivity can bring in its stead.

Source: Neurodiversity: Paving the Way to Universal Design Inclusivity in the Workplace