Pride in Neurodiversity and Neurodiversity in Pride

Dr. Jared Weihe speaks on the societal limitations imposed upon the neurodiverse and queer communities.

On Friday, June 17, Pride Corpus Christi partnered up with Islander Spectrum of Sexuality and Gender (ISSG) to host a panel on the intersectionality of neurodivergent and LGBTQIA+ communities. There were seven panelists, including professor of English and Gender Studies Dr. Jared Wiehe, TAMU-CC psychologist Dr. Alison Marks, and child psychologist Dr. Briana Sacco.

The free community panel was an opportunity for professionals and non-professionals alike to have a conversation around the problems facing neurodivergent individuals, such as people with ADHD or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), and queer individuals in today’s cultural climate. 

“There’s actually data coming in showing that there is a slightly higher percentage — an overlap — between queer identifying individuals and folks who have neurodiversity issues, identifications, or struggles. Do we fully understand that? No. Are there theories? Yes. Do I know which one I subscribe to? Eh, it’s too early to say,” Dr. Marks brought up during the panel.

It’s important to discuss these issues in tandem because they’re all linked together. Not only is there potentially an overlap in frequency, they suffer from a lot of the same social stigmas, misrepresentations, and inequalities.

“In my experience growing up in a very patriarchal, machismo, ancient mindset Mexican culture, queerness was not acceptable,” said Leticia Gomez, one of the non-proffessionals invited to speak on the panel. “Queerness is just now being reclaimed as a word. When I would use it or hear it growing up, it would be a fighting word… I think that thinking of queerness within people of color, we didn’t always have access to these resources. My parents didn’t have the ability to take seven children to a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and a doctor to get diagnosed with ADHD. So there’s that lack of accessibility, and there’s that lack of not being able to have the space or opportunity to talk about it openly with family.”

Although the panel was only scheduled for an hour, it continued for an extra hour after the allotted time, even when cutting the questions short, because there was far too much to talk about in one sitting. There’s not a simple solution to how we confront these problems. It’s a whole nest of problems and it’s deeply embedded in how our world is built and operated. Things won’t change overnight, but they are changing slowly.

“We do have representation, we are here, and although we were silenced a lot in youth and in childhood, there is room to speak up and be proud now,” continued Gomez on the subject.

One audience member asked a question at the end about how they pursue getting diagnosed with ASD, since it matters a lot to them that they get the validation of an official diagnosis. However, they’re afraid of the ramifications of that. People on the autism spectrum are often socially ostracized and have a much harder time being gainfully employed.

“I don’t want you to limit yourself to the label,” responded Dr. Sacco. “Whether you have the diagnosis or not, you can still pursue, from a treatment or therapy perspective, still work on the struggles that you’re having. This is where shifting what we’re valuing as the name of it, and focusing on what are the ways in which it’s negatively impacting you, regardless of what you call it, is something that us in the mental health field can be supportive of.”

This aligns with a common theme of the whole panel, which is that it’s important for individuals to recognize their limitations and work with it in a healthy way that will benefit them long term. Part of that is a need for our social framework to be more accepting and open to atypical individuals, but the other part of that is being more accepting and open to the atypical parts within ourselves and seeking the support that we need, if we do need it. 

Make sure to check out the Pride Corpus Christi schedule at to see the remaining events for Pride month! It’s not too late to enjoy the festivities.