Embracing Authenticity: Coming Out as a Neurodiverse Transgender Parent

by Kris McElroy

My journey to coming out as a neurodiverse transgender parent was a rollercoaster of self-discovery, courage, and vulnerability. Navigating the complexities of my neurodiversity and my transgender identity made me realize the power of authenticity and the importance of creating an inclusive and accepting environment for my family within our communities.

Coming out as a autistic neurodiverse transgender parent brought unique challenges. On one hand, I had to navigate the complexities of my neurodiversity, which often involved sensory sensitivities and social anxieties while trying to engage in the day to day tasks of being a dad. On the other hand, I was taking steps to transition and embrace my true gender identity while navigating being misgendered and questioned. The journey was not without its struggles, but it was also filled with moments of triumph.

Sensory Overload: Being neurodiverse often comes with sensory sensitivities, and the physical changes of transitioning can be overwhelming. I had to find ways to cope with these sensory challenges, like allowing myself to stim or taking breaks when needed.
Communication and Social Interactions: I’ve always found social interactions to be challenging. Coming out meant having to communicate my feelings and identity to friends, family, and colleagues. I had to learn to express myself more openly and honestly, which was a transformative experience.
Self-Advocacy: Being both transgender and neurodiverse required a great deal of self-advocacy. I learned to speak up for my needs and rights, whether it was in healthcare, at work, or within my community.

The Power of Support

One of the most significant sources of strength throughout my journey has been the support from my loved ones and my support communities. I’ve discovered a beautiful tapestry of individuals who understand the complexities of my experience and have offered guidance, empathy, and love.

Family: My family has been a source of unconditional love and acceptance while showing unwavering support as I embarked on this deeply personal journey.
Transgender Community: Joining support groups for transgender individuals was a turning point in my journey. These spaces allowed me to connect with others who had walked a similar path, providing a sense of belonging and understanding.
Autistic/Neurodiverse Parent Community: Connecting with other parents with helped me navigate the unique challenges I faced as a neurodiverse while also celebrating the joys.

Celebrating Authenticity

As my journey continued, I realized that embracing authenticity was the most empowering and transformative aspect of my experience. By coming out as an autistic transgender parent, I was not only accepting myself but also modeling to my children the value of living authentically and being true to oneself.

I get to model and celebrate that being different in all the ways each of us in our family are, is a beautiful thing. They hopefully get to see that love and acceptance know no bounds, and they’ve become advocates for diversity and inclusivity.

Coming Out and Continuing Forward

Coming out as an neurodiverse transgender parent to our community was a life-changing experience, one filled with trials and triumphs. It taught me that authenticity is a powerful force that can create a more inclusive and accepting world. My journey has been a testament to the capacity of the human spirit to overcome obstacles and embrace one's true self, and it’s a journey I am proud to share with my children, our support network, and the wider community.

Kris McElroy
Kris McElroy is a freelance writer, artist, and advocate. He is passionate about social justice issues and exploring race, disabilities, gender identity & sexuality, mental health, identity, trauma, and intersectionality. Born and raised in Maryland, Kris is an autistic biracial black transgender man with multiple disabilities who enjoys spending time with his wife and family. He received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Maryland and a Master of Science in Multidisciplinary Human Services from Capella University.

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