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Neuroqueer: Understanding the Connection Between Neurodivergent and 2SLGBTQIA+ Experiences

Updated: Jul 12

We live in a society that is geared to the needs of specific populations. We live in a heteronormative and neuronormative society. 

This means that heterosexual relationships and neurotypical ways of being are considered the cultural norm. Anything that differs from these cultural norms is often looked down upon by society. 

Society is gradually becoming more accepting of ways of being that fall outside of this norm, but for those who identify as members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ and/or neurodivergent communities, several difficulties exist with being a part of a minority group. 

This is especially true for those who identify as neuroqueer, which is the connection between being neurodivergent and being 2SLGBTQIA+.

Bigotry still exists, and those who identify as neuroqueer are more likely to be bullied or ridiculed for who they are. 

They are also more likely to experience high levels of depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric illnesses as a result of this hate. 

If you are a mental health professional or a client seeking support from a mental health professional for 2SLGBTQIA+ and/or neurodivergent challenges, you have likely come across the terms 2SLGBTQIA+, neurodivergence, and neuro-affirming therapy before. 

But what exactly does 2SLGBTQIA+ mean? What does neurodivergent mean?

What does neuro-affirming therapy mean, and how can clinicians make their practices more neurodivergent and 2SLGBTQIA+-affirming?

Read on to discover more about neurodivergence, the 2SLGBTQIA+ acronym, neurodivergent affirming therapy and coaching, 2SLGBTQ+ affirming therapy and coaching, Canadian neuroqueer business owners, worldwide neuroqueer business owners, and 2SLGBTQIA+ and neurodivergent supports.  

What Does Neurodivergent Mean?

Neurodiversity represents the fact that every human on earth has a different brain. No two brains think alike. 

An extension of this term is neurodivergent or neurodivergence, both coined by Kassiane Asasumasu in 2000. 

Neurodivergent and neurodivergence are terms used to describe individuals whose brains diverge from average functioning. 

This includes medical conditions, mental health conditions, neurodevelopmental disorders, learning disabilities, and other conditions where your brain is different from the average functioning. 

Examples of neurodivergence include:

  • ADHD

  • Autism

  • Depression

  • Dyslexia

  • Dyspraxia

  • Epilepsy

  • Tourette’s

  • Anxiety 

There are also some conditions such as AuDHD that are the combination of neurodivergence. In this case, autism and ADHD.

Challenges for neurodivergent individuals include ADHD waiting mode, difficulty focusing, rejection-sensitive dysphoria, and more.

It is important to note that even neurodivergent individuals exist on a spectrum. No two neurodivergent brains are alike, even if they have the same condition(s).

It is this diversity in the way we all think, feel, and behave that makes the world stronger.

What Does 2SLGBTQIA+ Mean?

Society is gradually becoming more aware of 2SLGBTQIA+-related terms as education in this area becomes more readily available. 

Despite this, there is still a widespread lack of knowledge about the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. 

For this reason, some education on the basics of the term may be beneficial for everyone. 

At the basic level, 2SLGBTQIA+ is an umbrella term that is used to refer to anyone who doesn’t identify with cis heteronormativity.

The 2SLGBTIA+ acronym can be further broken down into:

  • 2S or 2-Spirited is a non-binary umbrella term in Indigenous communities for a variety of different gender identities.

  • Lesbian (L) refers to women who are emotionally, romantically, or sexually attracted to other women.

  • Gay (G) refers to men who are emotionally, romantically, or sexually attracted to other men.

  • Bisexual (B): Describes individuals who are emotionally, romantically, or sexually attracted to either men or women.

  • Transgender (T): people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.

  • Queer (Q): An umbrella term that encompasses diverse sexual orientations and gender identities outside of cisgender and/or heterosexual norms.

  • Questioning (Q): individuals who are exploring and questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • Intersex (I): a person whose sexual anatomy or chromosomes don't fit the markers of male or female.

  • Asexual (A): a person who feels little or no sexual desire for others. Asexuality is a spectrum and the level of sexual attraction varies from person to person.

  • + or plus: an umbrella term that represents the infinite varieties of identities that don't fit into the 2SLGBTQIA aspects of the acronym.

neuroqueer explained

There is evidence that suggests that neurodivergent individuals are more likely to identify as LGBTQIA+ or neuroqueer. This is especially true for autistic adults. 

Recent studies from the University of Cambridge found that autistic people are three times as likely to identify as trans (Elizabeth Weir et al., 2021). Moreover, neurodivergent individuals are eight times more likely to identify as asexual (Elizabeth Weir et al., 2021).

The understanding of why there is such a connection between neurodivergence and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community is not quite understood. 

One theory suggests that neurodivergent individuals tend not to follow societal norms.

Neurodivergent individuals may be more likely to break these societal norms when it comes to their sexual and/or gender identity.

2SLGBTQIA+ challenges explored in Therapy

2SLGBTQIA+ individuals often come into therapy with the same challenges as everyone else.

They search "therapist near me" like everyone else does to learn boundaries, explore self-discovery, and seek support for depression, academic challenges, the loss of a loved one, or relationship issues

Whatever the issues may be, all of these issues can be experienced by all of us, whether you identify as a part of the 2LGBTQIA+ community, neuroqueer, or neither. 

However, 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals also bring challenges unique to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community into therapy. 

This could include:

  • Bullying and bigotry for sexual and/or gender identity

  • Dealing with non-accepting loved ones

  • Being outed without consent

  • Systemic oppression 

  • Lack of acceptance

  • Trying to counteract societal shame and blame cycles

  • Trauma-related to 2SLGBTQIA+ hate

  • Biases they have experienced from friends, past therapists, or friends

  • Religious trauma related to 2SLGBTQIA+ hate

There are societal expectations of heteronormativity. Those outside of this norm may need therapy or coaching to work towards acceptance and confidence in their 2SLGBTQIA+ identity. 

Even individuals who are raised in homes that are tolerant or accepting may still experience trauma and harm at the hands of oppressive societal forces.

neuroqueer-Affirming Therapy

Simply put, a neuroqueer-affirming coach, or affirming mental health professional understands and is aware of the fact that you cannot change a person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or neurotype.

In therapy, the mental health professional works with you to encourage the development of a positive identity. 

One where you accept yourself for who you are and work to find supports that affirm your identity. 

The therapist or coach helps 2SLGBTQIA+ and/or neurodivergent individuals understand and accept the way they think, feel, and desire as 2SLGBTQIA+ and/or neurodivergent individuals. 

Gender diversity, diversity in sexual orientation, and neurodiversity are all viewed as strengths in society by an affirming therapist or an affirming coach. 

A safe space is provided to explore 2SLGBTQIA+ and neurodivergent-specific issues, such as systemic barriers and discrimination. 

2SLGBTQIA+-affirming mental health professionals also need to be aware of the shame and internalized biases that 2SLGBTQIA+ may face. 

They understand the real impact oppression has on these communities and that the issue is society and its view of what is "normal". 

The mental health professional counteracts the heteronormative and neuronormative views in therapy or coaching and embraces and affirms everyone’s identity as unique and beautiful. 

How to Make Your Practice More Neuroqueer-affirming

If you are a mental health professional in Canada wanting to make your practice more neuroqueer-affirming, here are some suggestions:

  • Include asking for pronouns on intake forms and assessments. 

  • Understand how heteronormativity and neuronormativity can cause hate and internalized biases. 

  • Focus on acceptance of identity and not changing who the person is.

  • Systemic oppression and barriers should be explored in therapy as a way to work away at shame cycles. 

  • Recognize and educate yourself on the way the media demonizes 2SLGBTIA+ and neurodivergent individuals. 

  • Understand your own biases about the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and continually educate yourself about them. All mental health professionals have these, whether you are a member of the community or not. 

  • Never out a client’s identity to a parent or anyone else without consent. If there are safety issues, consider if this is relevant to the situation.

  • Consult with other 2SLGBTQIA+ and neurodivergent-affirming clinics. 

Affirming coaches and mental health professionals also involve intersectionality in their practice: Understanding how sexism, ableism, racism, classism, and other isms all play a part in trauma and systemic oppression. 

Neuroqueer Business Owners

Another way in which you could be an neuroqueer-affirming mental health professional or individual in society is to seek out the work of neuroqueer business owners. 

Listening to and supporting the voices of a 2SLGBTQIA + entrepreneur or a neurodivergent entrepreneur will widen your experience of the world and counteract your views on cultural norms and biases you may have. 

So, with this said, here are five neuroqueer business owners in Canada and around the world.

These business owners in Canada and around the world identify as both a neurodivergent business owner and 2SLGBTQIA+ business owners.

Lived Experience Educator Founder Sonny Jane is a trans, multi-neurodivergent, and disabled public speaker, advocate, and author.

Sonny Jane of Lived Experience Educator has gone on to build an audience of over 100,000 people online and has written The Neurodivergent Friendly Workbook of DBT Skills and We’re All Neurodiverse.

The Neurodivergent Friendly Workbook of DBT Skills teaches DBT Skills by a neurodivergent business owner for ADHDers, autistics and other neurodivergent individuals. We're All Neurodiverse unpacks neurodiversity and seeks to advocate against the concept of a "normal" brain.

The Founder of Neurodivergent Rebel Lyric is a trans-nonbinary, autistic, self-advocate who runs the internationally recognized NeuroDivergent Rebel blog.

Lyric of Neurodivergent Rebel is also the owner of NeuroDivergent Consulting and the author of the best-selling business ethics book, Workplace NeuroDiversity Rising.

Terra of Supporting Neurodiversity is an ADHD coach in Toronto, an AuDHD coach, and a neurodivergent consultant.

Supporting Neurodiversity in Toronto works to expand clients' understanding of ADHD and neurodiversity while helping develop empowering strategies, environments, and relationships.

Calyssa Erb is a queer, autistic Canadian writer of books for young readers.

She currently lives in Toronto, Ontario. "Maya Plays the Part" is her first novel.

Dana Daniels (she/her) M.Ed., OCT, is the founder and CEO of Blue Sky Learning™ who identifies as queer and neurodivergent or a neuroqueer business owner.

Building Blue Sky Learning™ Tkaronto/Toronto-based services is her entrepreneurial dream. She desires to cultivate an inclusive space where equity, diversity, and well-being thrive. 

Her lived experience, local teaching roles, international leadership, and extensive experience supporting disabled folks, were all foundational moments embedded into the development of this initiative for accessibility. 

Blue Sky Learning is rainbow-registered with Canada's 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) as a safe space for 2SLGBTQ+ individuals.

They provide neurodivergent counselling, consulting, and coaching services. They provide one-on-one services for all neurodivergent individuals and a free group for neuroqueer adults.

Blue Sky Learning’s Supportive Resource for Adults Who Identify as Neurodivergent and 2SLGBTIA+ or Neuroqueer 

A neuroqueer support group for 2SLGBTQIA+ adults and neurodivergent community members exists to provide a safe space for neuroqueer discussion, reflection, and collective care. 

This neuroqueer support group runs the third Thursday of every month and brings a new discussion topic each month relating to the intersections of neurodivergence, queerness, and disability for us to explore. 

This neuroqueer support group is facilitated by Em/Kim (they/them) and Dare (they/they) from Learn, Grow, Repeat.

Book a Free Consultation With Blue Sky Learning

Are you a neurodivergent individual and/or member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community seeking a neurodivergent-affirming and 2SLGBTQIA+-affirming clinic in Canada or neurodivergent coaching in Canada, the United States, or the UK?

You've come to the right place!

Book a free 20-minute consultation with one of the Blue Sky Learning team members by emailing or on the website.

Blue Sky Learning team members embody values of compassion, empathy, and person-centered approaches. 

Blue Sky Learning provides the opportunity for students, professionals, parental guardians, and educators to connect with them regarding individual concerns and areas of growth. 

Blue Sky Learning strives to provide a service where clients feel safe, supported, and intersectionality understood. 

Blue Sky Learning aims to reduce stigma and shame cycles, deepen client understanding of internalized ableism, and empower areas of avoidance to increase your value of motivation.


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