In September 2020, the largest study to date to examine the connection between autism and gender identity found that people who do not identify with the gender they are assigned at birth are three to six times as likely to be autistic than cisgender people. (The term “cisgender” is used to describe people who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.)
Gender identity is distinct from sexual orientation or preference. Gender identity is one’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither–how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves.
Parents of transgender/nonbinary adults on the spectrum tell us that they belong to multiple support groups. They’ve joined support groups, such as those offered by PFLAG, for parents who want to support their adult child’s gender diversity. And they are also members AANE’s parents of adult support groups. Both sets of groups are extremely helpful to them, and group members are welcoming and supportive, but some parents feel like they can only share one part of their family’s story with each group. Because autism and gender identity are central to their adult child’s identity and evolution, many parents are looking for a single support group where they can share the whole story and get feedback from other parents in similar situations.