the “effeminate boys” studies
by Emma at Lemon Peel
This post was originally posted at Lemon Peel here: https://emmapretzel.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/the-effeminate-boys-studies/ and is excerpted with permission
“in one of my little flurries of tweeting a month or so ago, i made reference to the direct parallels present between current (and past) attempts at gender-role/sexual-orientation normalization therapy and behavioral normalization therapies as practiced upon autistic people. i got a few remarks in response to that tweet specifically, most of which were relatively obnoxious–primarily ableist and accusing me of exaggeration, plus one or two homophobic “pro-neurodiversity” people who wanted to tell me how gay “conversion” therapy actually helps people (yes, really). so this has kind of been sitting around in my head for a while. i, of course, like to do my research. so that’s what i did. i wanted to find some of those “effeminate boys” articles. so that’s what i did.
but in my reading of these studies, i found that the language and justifications of scientists and healthcare professionals was remarkably familiar. so i think it’s important for people to read this stuff, and understand that the language you hear today used to talk about autistic people is not brand new, nor is it socio-politically neutral. it has been used before, in contexts we might now consider far removed from that of “neurodiversity” and disability rights. and the more deeply we examine this language, and think about its broader implications, the better we will be at helping ourselves and each other.”