Transgender and gender-diverse adults are three to six times more likely as cisgender adults (individuals whose gender identity corresponds to their sex assigned at birth) to be diagnosed as autistic, according to a new study by scientists at the University of Cambridge’s Autism Research Centre.
This research, conducted using data from over 600,000 adult individuals, confirms previous smaller scale studies from clinics. The results are published today in Nature Communications.
A better understanding of gender diversity in autistic individuals will help provide better access to health care and post-diagnostic support for autistic transgender and gender-diverse individuals.
The team used five different datasets, including a dataset of over 500,000 individuals collected as a part of the Channel 4 documentary “Are you autistic?”. In these datasets, participants had provided information about their gender identity, and if they received a diagnosis of autism or other psychiatric conditions such as depression or schizophrenia. Participants also completed a measure of autistic traits.
Strikingly, across all five datasets, the team found that transgender and gender-diverse adult individuals were between three and six times more likely to indicate that they were diagnosed as autistic compared to cisgender individuals. While the study used data from adults who indicated that they had received an autism diagnosis, it is likely that many individuals on the autistic spectrum may be undiagnosed. As around 1.1% of the UK population is estimated to be on the autistic spectrum, this result would suggest that somewhere between 3.5.-6.5% of transgender and gender-diverse adults is on the autistic spectrum. […]
Warrier, V et al. Elevated rates of autism, other neurodevelopmental and psychiatric diagnoses and autistic traits in transgender and gender-diverse individuals. Nat Comms; 7 Aug 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-17794-1