gay people more likely to be autistic

LGBTQ+ and Autism: The Perfect Pairing

Research indicates that autistic people are more likely to identify as belonging to the LGBTQ+ community. This means that autistic people can experience a wider range of gender expression. Furthermore, autistic people are more likely to not be straight. Basically, it’s not uncommon to be gay and autistic.

Obviously this doesn’t mean that being autistic makes you queer. (Or being queer makes you autistic.) All this means is that autistic people tend to be a more diverse group when it comes to gender identity and sexual orientation.

Exploring the LGBTQ+ and autism link

A study conducted by the University of Cambridge indicates that autistic people are more likely to identify as LGBTQ+. The team at their Autism Research Center used an anonymous self-report survey that was filled out by over 1,000 autistic and 1,000 non-autistic individuals. The results were fascinating – autistic people are 8 times more likely to identify with a sexual identity that wasn’t heteronormative. In other words, these autists aren’t straight. Go us! I feel that!

Other research indicates that autistic people are more likely to be gender diverse. This means they’re more likely to be transgender, non-binary, gender fluid, two spirit, or otherwise gender non-conforming. In fact, the research on this topic is pretty consistent – autistic people are 7 times more likely to express gender variance over neurotypical study participants.

Why autistic people are more likely to be queer

It’s hard to argue with the research. In fact, I’m finding that people who aren’t neurotypical – meaning my friends who are neurodiverse are generally more likely to be queer. It’s interesting to me that this means they’re more likely to have non-traditional sexual orientations and/or gender identities. Fascinating, right? However, when we start asking ourselves “why,” we really start getting speculative.

Here’s my take: autistic people are navigating a world in which they don’t fit well. We’re not neurotypical. The world wasn’t made for us. We’re not pressured by social norms in the same way as others. We don’t feel the pressures to change our behaviors in the same way. Furthermore, some of the more damaging therapies utilized for autism force us to “mask” – pretend we’re not different.

(It’s interesting to note that the person who founded the therapy I’m talking about, ABA, is the same person who started “Conversion Therapy” – the horrific method of forcing queer people to renounce who they are. Man, he really hated anyone who was different than him, huh?)

But we’re learning to stand up! We’re learning to take our space in this world! We’re not letting society force us to be something we’re not. We’re beautiful. We’re neurodivergent. We’re queer. And we’re not going anywhere.

My BIG hypothesis

Sexuality and gender identity are not binary, but exist on a spectrum. And despite centuries of erasure and heteronormativity, more people are finally able to openly identify as queer than ever before.

As the world slowly becomes more accepting of LGBTQ+ people, we’re seeing a surge in the number of individuals who proudly embrace their identities. According to Gallup, a staggering 20% of Gen Z identify as queer, compared to just 3% of Baby Boomers.

The world isn’t getting more gay. The world is getting more accepting. It’s easier to explore and express your true self in a more accepting society.

And then there’s us autistic folks. At our best and most unmasked, we don’t give a damn about societal norms. We’re unapologetically ourselves.

Maybe we’re just ahead of the curve.

The benefits of having a queer and autistic therapist

You read that right! I’m queer and autistic! I delight in working with members of both communities. LGBTQ+ folks and autistic people have something in common – they’re navigating a world that wasn’t built for them. That’s hard. It’s ok to struggle. Therapy can help – especially therapy from someone with lived experience. If you’re interested in talking with me, click here to schedule a free consultation!

I specialize in offering therapy to LGBTQ+ clients and autistic clients. Click the links to learn more.

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