INTERSECTIONS WITH GENDER AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION
Research shows that "gender identity and sexuality are more varied among Autistic people". Allistic researchers and clinicians say there isn't definitive information available to determine why there is a greater relationship between these identies amongst Autistic people, but they fail to consider or conceptualize the ways in which an Autistic person would interpret and internalize the social contruction of gender. Someone's autistic identity can not be separated from their gender identity, and it would deeply inform the way they see themselves and the way they would express that identity. This is best explained by Bernard Grant Âû, Ph.D., in their article Demystifying Autistic Gender.
Loved ones and professionals may also question whether a person with autism can fully understand topics such as sexuality and gender identity or that identifying as LGBTQIA+ will further "other" them. However, being Autistic doesn’t mean they are unable to explore, question, and determine their own identity.
In reality, stifling one’s full identity can be harmful. Autistic people who mask more show more signs of anxiety and depression and "depression occurs at higher rates for LGBTQIA+ individuals". This has a compounding effect on those who identify as Autistic and gender variant. These symptoms are significantly decreased when the individual feels safe, accepted, and validated.