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Is there a link between Autism and Gender Diversity?

Autism and Gender Diversity

There is a growing recognition of the overlap between the autism community and the LGBTQ+ community, particularly among individuals with gender identity differences. Recent research has uncovered significant occurrence¹ between autism and gender diversity, highlighting that gender dysphoria is more prevalent among autistic individuals compared to the general population². This is observed not only in adults but also in children and young people with autism. In this article we take a look at the link between Autism and Gender Diversity.

Communication and Interaction

One of the core aspects of autism is a difference in social communication and interaction. People with autism approach interactions in a different way to those who would be considered Neurotypical. This divergence can make autistic people more comfortable with non-conformity in various aspects of life, including gender identity.

Samantha Lavender, Grace’s Special Needs and Neurodiversity Advice Manager says; 

'One theory is that those with autism don’t fall in line with social norms or expectations in the way that they communicate due to unwritten, or unsaid, social rules.. This can lead to a greater willingness to explore and express gender identities that do not fit traditional gender stereotypes.'

Having autism can often mean that people have less social awareness³; as a result, those with autism are more comfortable in ‘walking their own path’ and therefore not falling into gender norms or expectations.

Autism and Gender Diversity

Sensory Differences

Gender dysphoria or gender fluidity often involves physical discomfort or a sense of disconnection from one's body. For autistic individuals, who frequently experience heightened sensory sensitivities, these feelings can be even more pronounced. For example, an autistic person who feels uncomfortable with their body due to gender dysphoria might experience this discomfort more intensely. The heightened sensory awareness can amplify feelings of disconnect between their physical appearance and their gender identity.

Marginalised Communities

Both the autistic community and the LGBTQ+ community sadly face societal marginalisation. Autistic individuals often encounter social challenges and isolation due to differences in communication and behaviour. Similarly, LGBTQ+ individuals can face exclusion and discrimination based on their gender identity or sexual orientation. This shared experience of marginalisation creates a natural intersection between the two communities, with mutual understanding and support.

Many autistic individuals within the LGBTQ+ community find a sense of belonging and acceptance that can be harder to come by in other social circles. This intersectionality promotes an environment where differences are celebrated and supported, contributing to the well-being of those who navigate both identities.

In summary

The connection between autism and gender diversity underlines the importance of recognising and supporting the experiences of individuals who belong to both communities. This growing awareness not only helps in building more supportive communities but also highlights the diverse ways in which human identity can manifest. As research continues to evolve, so too does our understanding of the rich tapestry of human experience, paving the way for a more inclusive and understanding society.

How we can help

We know that navigating 'the system', accessing assessments, and managing symptoms can be frustrating and often feels like an uphill struggle. Get in touch, and our dedicated team of Neurodiversity Advisers can provide you with the support you need.



Grace Consulting are the UK’s founding providers of expert independent advice on elderly care advice, special needs advice and neurodiversity advice. 

Independence and client wellbeing are at the heart of everything we do. We listen, reassure and advise you on how to move forwards and find the best possible solutions for your unique life challenges. 


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