The call for submissions for the WAU Congress 2024 in Johannesburg is now closed, and we thank all participants; paper evaluations will be ready on June 14.




( pn46 )

Feminisms, Childhood, and Neurodivergent/ Neuroqueer


    Helen Macdonald

    Nationality: New Zealand

    Residence: South Africa

    University of Cape Town

    Presence:Face to Face/ On Site

    Marisa Ruiz Trejo

    Nationality: Mexico

    Residence: Mexico

    Universidad Autonoma de Chiapas


IUAES Affiliation: Global Feminisms and Queer Politics


queer, neurodivergent, neuroqueer, neuronormativity, heteronormativity


Two nights ago, on a warm barmy evening, I found myself sitting outside with my 15-year-old trans son, his ‘assigned female at birth’ gender fluid partner, and his best friend, a trans girl. The conversation was about neurodivergence, with all three identifying as being on the ‘spectrum’, although only my son has been formally diagnosed. They poked fun at their ‘autism’ and queerness, until my son abruptly stood up and announced ‘each week we move further and further from god’ thereby evincing huge laughter. In that moment I knew this panel would focus on ‘neuroqueerness’ to explore queerness, neurodivergence and/or the significant overlap of the two for many children and other individuals. The term neuroqueer has taken on a number of ideas very rapidly. One body of scholarship has focused on the relationship between neurodivergence and queerness using the term ‘neuroqueer’ or ‘autigender’ to describe people who are both neurodivergent and identify as queer. Others understand the idea as individuals who do not to conform to neurotypical standards as neurologically queer. Yet others critique these terms as falling into an essentialist trap where they become a mere synonym for neurodivergent, or for neurodivergent identity combined with queer identity. Instead, Nick Walker and others (2023) pose ‘neuroqueering’ as a verb: ‘as the practice of subverting, defying, disrupting, liberating oneself from neuronormativity and heteronormativity simultaneously’ ( In her book Neuroqueer Heresies, Nick Walker explains that neuroqueer, neuroqueerness or neuroqueering escapes authoritative definition (as it should) and is about recognising the fundamentally entwined, fluid and creative nature of cognition, gender, and embodiment. This panel seeks to explore queering, neurodivergence and neuroqueering in their fullest ‘horizon of possibilities’: as practice, as identity, as knowledge, as violence. We welcome papers that explore but are not limited to: • Being queer, neurodivergent or neuroqueer. • Medicalising the queer, the neurodivergent or the neuroqueer. • Neurodivergent and/or queer childhoods and those around them. • Raced and classed queerness and/or neurodivergence. • The similarities of the masked autistic and closeted gay or trans individual. • The embodiment, experience and expression of queering other aspects of identity. • Practices intended to undo and subvert (or reinforce) cultural conditioning and ingrained habits of neuronormative and/or heteronormative performance. • Producing literature, art, scholarship, and/or other cultural artifacts that foreground queer and/or neurodivergent experiences, perspectives, and voices. • The experiences of significant others, family and friends (SOFFAs) of the queer, neurodivergent or neuroqueer individual. • The efforts to create social and cultural spaces and communities where queer and/or neurodivergence is permitted, accepted, supported, and encouraged, or its opposite.