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What does NeuroQueer mean?

Updated: Jun 5

There are many ways to answer this question! Some use it as a verb, to neuroqueer, as an action or way of doing something. It is also often used as an identity that people use to describe themselves.

The word neuroqueer was created by Nick Walker* and is a combo of the words neurodivergent and queer. Both neurodivergent and queer are umbrella terms: meaning they cover a wide range of identities.

Neurodivergent people are those whose minds function differently than the ways systems of power have decided is “normal”. This includes Autism, ADHD, OCD, developmental disabilities, etc.

Queer is a word often used for people whose gender and sexuality falls outside of cis and straight norms. (Note, don’t use this word for another person unless you know that they like it. It does have a history of being used negatively and has been reclaimed by many, but not all.)

So neuroqueer can be used to talk about those who are both neurodivergent and queer. As a verb, it can also be used to talk about a way of doing things that is different from normative expectations.

Examples of people who may identify as neuroqueer:

  • Someone who is autistic and trans

  • A person who is bisexual and ADHD

  • A human with Down Syndrome whose isn’t sure what their gender and sexuality are

Examples of neuroqueering as an action:

  • Stimming by flapping arms in public when excited

  • Wearing clothes that have an enjoyable texture and feel gender affirming

  • Communicating using an AAC device at work when having a low verbal day

Personally, when I am speaking to neuroqueers, I am including people who are questioning or unsure of if the identity applies to them.

If you feel like what I wrote above describes you, but you don’t like the term itself, that is okay! You get to decide what words feel best to you.

If you want more information about living authentically as a neuroqueer person, sign up for my email list below.

*Dr. Nick Walker is a self identified neuroqueer academic who first coined the term neuroqueer. If you search Nick’s website you can find a lot more information on this topic:

I often capitalize the n and q in NeuroQueer to make it easier to read for those not used to the term, but it is also often used without capitalization. Email me if you have thoughts and preferences on whether or not to capitalize!

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