It’s not really about human connection

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“We need to talk about connectivity”, my manager said during a video-conference team meeting about a year ago. “Yes”, I responded, “the network connection is really unreliable and IT support needs to be a lot more accessible”.

But she wasn’t talking about tech issues. She was talking about staff members connecting with each other. Since then, connectivity has become a buzzword denoting some kind of social glue that binds people in the era of COVID-19 workplace arrangements.

I grappled with this strange new concept and realised that it meant something quite different to my idea of connecting with colleagues.


Living an ordinary life is an achievement worth celebrating

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Until last year, I lived under the assumption that I was living an ordinary life. Undoubtedly, doing ordinary was a lot harder for me, and I was never sure if I quite pulled it off. But I never thought there was anything that marked my life as significantly different from everyone else’s.

Then I realised I was autistic and I got diagnosed. The wave that washed over me carried validation, self-compassion and clarity. A feeling that I was failing at ordinary life gave way to a feeling of pride that I had managed to live one. …

You may be advocating for yourself and others without even realising it

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I was running late to the airport after a four-day regional escape. It’s not a scenario I’d recommend for an autistic person with Generalised Anxiety Disorder. Needless to say, I was highly stressed about whether I would get on that plane.

Instead of losing my shit as I entered Departures, I decided to come clean, telling airport ground staff: “I’m really anxious about being late and I’m not thinking clearly and it would really help if you could tell me exactly what I need to do”. Or something to that effect.

It worked like a charm.

I didn’t even need…

Starting with the workplace

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When you discover that you are autistic as an adult, you realise that certain things have to change in your life. There’s no turning back: you can’t go on living your life in a way that is more about fitting into a neurotypical world than meeting your own needs.

No-one tells you how to self-advocate as a newly diagnosed autistic adult. You have to figure it out yourself. You have to examine every area of your life and work out what needs to change.

I had never seen myself as someone who had needs over and above those of the…

Freedom from religious discrimination isn’t the same as freedom to discriminate

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When the Australian parliament legislated marriage equality in 2017, there was cause for celebration among the LGBTQ and broader communities.

But under the rainbow confetti lurked the ugly truth of homophobia that had been exposed during the campaign.

Despite the sense of achievement, a niggling unease remained. A sector of the population that didn’t support the right of LGBTQ people to marry who they love didn’t go away.

The legalisation of same-sex marriage resulted from an awkward compromise between then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, himself a supporter of marriage equality, and fringe right wing members of his party. …

It shapes your sense of who you are

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In the autistic world, masking refers to the way in which we adjust the way we function in the world to conform to perceived neurotypical norms. It’s sometimes used interchangeably with camouflaging or mimicking. But it is so much more than that.

As children, we are trying to navigate a world in which we feel fundamentally different to our peers, often without knowing why. We respond by withdrawing or learning to fit in. Both come with a cost.

It is true that autistic children mimic others in an attempt to fit in…

Because my need to write is greater

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I write because I need to. That need is always there. It’s my capacity to meet it that waivers. I seem to veer between having so many ideas that I just want to write all day, and struggling to finish a sentence only to abandon it.

I love those weekends. I have the house to myself, I have a few ideas floating around that I can’t wait to shape into a story. It flows freely, punctuated only by the odd kitchen flourish or urge to sort shelves.

But then there are weeks like this week. Pulled in every direction, each…

A personal exploration of emotional connection and attraction

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What is demisexuality?

Like many people, my introduction to the term demisexual was seeing it in someone’s social media post/dating profile/blog and googling it. For me, the search results were a revelation.

In essence, to be demisexual is to need a strong emotional connection with someone before experiencing sexual attraction to them. It’s about the mechanism of attraction rather than who you’re attracted to. It can sit alongside any sexual orientation: lesbian and demisexual in my case .

Do we need the demisexual label?

To be honest, it’s not something I feel the need to demonstrate outwardly to the world. It’s not unavoidably public in the same way as…

They’re part of a continuum of behaviour that controls women’s bodies

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There’s the man on the train talking at a brain-addlingly loud volume on his mobile phone and the one who reaches in front of me to grab the hand rail. Then there’s the man with his legs stretched out in front of him blocking my path in an airport waiting area. My experience tells me he probably went on to claim the armrest on the plane; the spread of his legs spilling into the space of the passenger next to him.

The way men occupy public space is so pervasive that it can feel like an assault on the senses…

You may as well use them for something

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I recently listened to a podcast in which two female comedians gave accounts of how they had met each other on a date. They didn’t find love. But that was totally fine as neither of them had been looking for it. Unbeknownst to each other, they had been using the dating app for social networking during a city comedy festival.

Some apps actually include social networking as a “what are you looking for" option. With others you need to be a bit vague about what your motives are and go forward with a spirit of curiosity.

Sometimes it’s just about…

Justine L

A keen observer of life, here to put in my two cents worth. I write about neurodiversity, relationships and LGBTQ issues.

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