'The Lost Girls Project' is a collaborative art installation that seeks to shine a light on the experiences of late-diagnosed Autistic women & non-binary people and the inherent gender bias experienced by them, respectively.
"Misdiagnosed, misunderstood or missed altogether, Autistic women and non-binary people often struggle to get the help they need when they need it."
'The Lost Girls Project' invites late-diagnosed Autistic women and non-binary people to come together in an act of catharsis, writing a letter to their undiagnosed self, revealing THEIR truth and shaking away the secrecy, confusion, labels and loss that often comes with a life lived without diagnosis.
What does the term 'Lost Girls' mean?
The term 'Lost Girls' comes from academic and medical literature that refers to the many Autistic children who assigned female at birth went undiagnosed due to systemic gender inequality.
You do not need to identify as a 'girl' to have been a 'Lost Girl'. Those that were assigned female at birth were seen through the lens of ‘girls’ and was the very problem.
These 'girls' were made to feel small as their problems were brushed off, masking their way through formative years.
Too quiet, too loud or too weird, these 'Lost Girls' experienced mental health issues that were dismissed by parents, doctors and teachers as simply anxiety or poor self-esteem, because what ‘girl’ didn't feel that way?
Hiding in plain sight, these 'Lost Girls' didn’t fit the model.
This exhibition is not about embracing the term ‘Lost Girls’, It’s about breaking away from it.
Welcome to 'The Lost Girls Project'.
Who is behind 'The Lost Girls Project'?
Ebony Wightman is a recently diagnosed disabled autistic woman, artist, designer and illustrator from Sydney, Australia.
Having dealt with mental health issues since childhood, Ebony has found a sense of belonging within the Autistic Community.
Ebony hopes that through 'The Lost Girls Project' she can help bring catharsis to those women and non-binary people who have lived most of their lives not knowing where they belonged, and to advocate for the awareness and acceptance of female and non-binary Autistics.
Late diagnosis can have a significant effect on the development and health (particularly mental health) of Autistic women and non-binary people.
How can I get involved?
If you're a late-diagnosed autistic woman or non-binary person (clinically diagnosed or self-diagnosed) you are invited to partake in this project and write a letter to your past self (before your Autism diagnosis or discovery.)
Through your contribution and story, you will help raise awareness of the experience had by undiagnosed Autistic women and non-binary people and illustrate the power and personal understanding that comes with diagnosis.
How will my letter be used?
Letters will be collated and printed, to form a gallery wall of 'Lost Girl' letters.
In an effort to make this exhibition as accessible as possible, the exhibition
will take place both online and in person.
This exhibition uses the gender pronoun ‘Girls’ in an effort to highlight the gender inequality experienced in psychiatric and standard healthcare had by those assigned female at birth.
'The Lost Girls Project' does not exclude those who for whatever reason choose to
self-identify and acknowledges the privilege that is a formal diagnosis.