Jun 2, 2023

LGBTQ+ creatives are shifting stereotypes about what it means to be neurodivergent.

It is well documented that women, ethnic minorities, and individuals from the LGBTQ+ communities are underdiagnosed regarding neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD, Dyslexia, and Autism. Many adults from these communities were not diagnosed as children and receive neurodivergent support much later in life or never receive support at all. As a result, they are less likely to gain access to the health care they deserve and rarely see themselves represented in mainstream media. 

Motivated by their own experiences, LGBTQ+ neurodiverse individuals are shifting the narrative through creative projects highlighting this inequality. A few of these projects are featured below. Each has a unique way of engaging the audience through captivating imagery, inviting conversation, or reflective storytelling. Most importantly, they all bring awareness to the many diverse individuals who are typically overlooked in neurodiversity.

Homeless: Growing Up Lesbian And Dyslexic In India by K. Vaishali

Image of book standing on table titled “Homeless: Growing Up Lesbian And Dyslexic In India” by K. Vaishali

K Vaishali is the author of Homeless: Growing Up Lesbian And Dyslexic In India, a memoir about her experiences as a marginalized child and young adult. In a recent interview, she talks about her challenges and how support from family, teachers, and others can help a child growing up with a learning disability. Throughout the book, she shares her toughest experiences, especially related to her invisible disabilities, such as dyslexia. Readers are invited to reflect on her experiences as though they were in her shoes, creating an empathetic and engaging narrative journey. 

Neurodivergent Rebel: Rebelling Against A Culture That Values Assimilation Over Individuality by Lyric Rivera

Photograph of Lyric Rivera sitting in a brightly lit room smiling and looking at the camera.

In addition to being a neurodivergent author and consultant, Lyric Rivera produces the internationally recognized neurodiversity lifestyle blog, Neurodivergent Rebel. The blog introduces concepts of neurodiversity as both an introduction to people who are unfamiliar with it and as a creative lens for sharing stories and experiences. Known as the pioneer of the #AskingAutistics hashtag, Rivera engages people through the blog and on social media by asking simple questions that prompt open-ended responses about everyday Autistic experiences. Neurodivergent & neurotypical people are invited to engage with each other in conversations related to the topic.

The Queer Faces of ADHD by Nora Nord

Portrait of individual in their personal space

A portrait by Nora Nord that depicts one of her subjects in their personal space.

Nora Nord’s Photography showcases under-represented beauty in neurodiversity through intimate photography. As a queer woman with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), she seeks to change misconceptions about who is represented when depicting the condition. Motivated by her and her friend’s experiences, she embarked on a project to photograph queer individuals with ADHD who are typically overlooked. Each photo captures the subject in their personal space and is accompanied by an interview between Nora and the subject. In an article from 2020, Nora described starting the project “as a way to overcome my own symptoms and to connect with people who also have it.” –  Nora Nord in an interview with i-D Magazine

The field of research exploring the intersection of Neurodiversity, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation has grown and continues to grow. You can learn more in a recent report from the National LGBT Health Education Center that highlights how  “Increasingly, clinicians and researchers are seeing a correlation between gender diversity and neurodiversity among adolescents and young adults.”

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