Earlier this month, I shared an article about the results from THIS STUDY that suggest that transgender and gender-diverse individuals had higher rates of autism diagnosis than cisgender individuals.
Many of my readers were not at all surprised by this information. Many of us have noticed that there seems to be a lot of transgender and gender-nonconforming autistic people: I, myself, am a gender-nonconforming autistic person.
This connection has been on my mind since coming out non-binary (specifically gender fluid) on social media recently. My gender has never been a huge secret, just never something I felt was anyone’s business, but lately, with all of the claims that autistic people can’t possibly understand and know their own gender, I felt compelled to speak up.
Growing up, I didn’t know there were options outside of male and female, which left me stuck feeling someplace in between two sides that never felt completely me. I’ve always been somewhere in the middle, not 100% girl or boy. Discovering this fact bought me peace, gave me clarity, and helped me revisit my life, as my autism diagnosis did for me at the age of twenty-nine.
“I’ve never liked living in closets, the feeling of living a lie. As someone who values the truth, and prefers honesty, being untrue to myself is soul-crushing.”
I came out of the closet for the first time in middle school when I took my first girlfriend to a school dance. Unfortunately, our relationship was utterly dysfunctional because I didn’t know how to properly love someone at that point in my life.
Years later, when I was diagnosed autistic, I came out of another closet – the autism closet. Surprisingly, the process and experience were actually quite similar. Some people will get it, some people won’t. You will learn pretty quickly who you can talk to safely, and who to hide around. There’s also a painfully familiar exodus of people from your life who can’t accept the new information about you and become toxic to your continued personal growth.
When I came out Autistic and started finding other autistic people, I couldn’t help but notice there was a LOT of LGBTQ+ autistic people. Which is just another reason I absolutely LOVE our community. Finding the other Autistics people was like coming home from a long journey, lost wandering for way too long.
I had already noticed that for me personally, a lot of my experience with gender and sexuality seemed intertwined with being autistic, so much so that I’m not sure if I could really separate the two.
Although, that’s one of my core feelings about autism – it’s so entangled with the very fiber of my being that it cannot be removed from me (or else you’d be left with a completely different person).
I wonder if any other autistic people out there have similar feelings. So, I ask the question:
What role (if any) do you think autism plays in gender and/or sexuality?
I consider myself agender and demisexual. I definitely think their related to my neurodivergency. Traditional gender roles make no sense to me – it seems to be socially imposed ‘rules’ that have no rhyme or reason. I have never identified well with either binary gender. | @neurodivergical
Idk actually, maybe yes? I’m demi/straight and, though I don’t consider myself nb, I think there’s a lot of things that society implies into both female and male genders that are completely non sense. If I have a very short haircut or shave my head I’m seen as less of a woman… (continued…) when this is not correct, and for men it happens the same thing if they have longer hair, or decide to be look good and get their nails and hairs done. I always disagreed with the majority of things that society agrees and sees as correct | @bangtanniebabyv
I identify as LGBTQ+ and quite a few of my autistic mates are, definitely know more LGBT Autistics than straight ones.
The curiosity, creativity, seeking of connections and deeper understanding… everything about being Autistic, for me, feeds into my identity as a polyamorous pansexual. | Magnus Hedemark, @Magnus919
“I don’t know what I am but I have no strong attachments to either the male or female gender.”
Europa from Twitter, @Era_Europa
Bisexual and have never been gender conforming but being autistic has probably made me able to see through the nonsense of gender stereotypes rather than question and then conclude that my own gender is wrong. | Anne Woods, @Abstract_Tygr
It affects both my sexuality and gender. I’m femme leaning non-binary, and my experience of gender is fundamentally altered by my neurology. I’m sex repulsed ace, but my sex repulsion is partly due to sensory issues. | Meredith
I agree with this. I’m also sure I was born Trans, it wasn’t a choice for me. Non-binary/Trans identities may also reflect specific aspects of neurodiversity. Research is producing new pieces of the puzzle all the time. | Jenny
“I’m straight and cisgender but I don’t conform to gender stereotypes.” Tamsin Parker