Neurodiversity and the LGBTQIA+ community
Neurodivergence is much more common in the LGBTQIA+ community: Here's our research on the link and how we're working to make life easier for those people.
Neurodivergence refers to an individual who has a less typical cognitive variation, this can fall under various diagnoses, such as; Autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia etc. Gender identities which differ from biological sex (non-cisgender identities) appear to be more common among neurodivergent people. For example, In recent years research has shown that statistically, autistic people are more likely to experience gender dysmorphia. It is estimated that for autistic people, the prevalence of also being LGBT+ is 2-3x higher. Autistic people also reported a significantly higher number of gender-dysphoric traits. Similarly, in a study on young people with ADHD, it was found they were 6.6x more likely to experience gender variance compared to their neurotypical counterparts.
Being neurodivergent can also affect how soon people come out as being LGBT+. Often people report a delay in recognising their gender identity as they face general struggles identifying with their own feelings and desires.
There may also be less education and fewer experiences for neurodivergent people which lead to developing an understanding of their gender identity. For example autistic students often had inadequate education about sexual orientation and have social barriers to exploring their gender and or sexual identity.
Many autistic people also have a limited network of social connections which can reduce their exposure to diversity, leaving them with fewer LGBTQ+ role models.
Autistic people may therefore take longer to explore what feels right and natural for them in terms of gender roles and expressions.
It’s really important to know this is okay and it’s great to take time in exploring your options until you find what feels comfortable for you.