Being LGBTQ is incredibly common among autistic people. If you’re involved in the autistic community, this is easily observed, but there is also factual evidence – and we all know how much us autistics love factual evidence! Pride is a great month to spend some time learning about the way being LGBTQ and being autistic intersects, so we wanted to share some of the facts with you. Here are some studies and articles detailing the science behind the intersection of autism and queerness.
In a 2017 study by the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR), 69.7% of autistic participants reported being non-heterosexual. Researchers surveyed both neurotypicals and autistics. Only 30.3% of the neurotypical participants reported being non-heterosexual.
In this study by the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, they discovered that compared to neurotypical participants, autistic participants where 7.59x more likely to express gender variance; participants with ADHD where 6.64x more likely to express gender variance.
An article by the Daily Herald touches on the statistics of being autistic and LGBTQ, and showcases the stories of three autistic and LGBTQ individuals.
In an article by John Strang for Spectrum News:
“There may be solid biological and psychological reasons for the high prevalence of sexual orientation and gender diversity among autistic people.
Autism and sexual identity may share a biological pathway, perhaps one involving sex hormones in early development. Or sexual orientation and gender diversity may be expressed more often in autism because of a decreased adherence to social conventions. Or perhaps a greater forthrightness and honesty in autism allows some autistic individuals to acknowledge feelings beyond traditional sexual orientation and gender identity categories.”
A Spectrum News deep dive article tells the stories of autistic and trans and/or gender-nonconforming kids, teens, and adults. “Trans people with autism express a gender at odds with societal expectations, or reject the male-female divide entirely. Many are breaking new ground on how identity is defined — and what it means to also have autism.”