I recently read an article (I’m sorry I can’t find it anymore!) which contained a few statistics of interest. In the whole world’s population ( 7.6 Billion) approximately two percent (150 million) are LGBT+. Also if you look at word population approximately two percent of people are autistic worldwide.
If you narrow down and look specifically at the autistic population that statistic of LGBT+ people rises to 3.5% of autistic people identifying as LGBT+. Additionally a quarter of autistic people have some degree of gender dysphoria (defined as: the condition of feeling one’s emotional and psychological identity as male or female to be opposite to one’s biological sex.)
I am aware of several autistic people who identify as non-binary, agender, gender fluid and lesbian/gay or bisexual. I know a large amount of autistic people who are straight and cisgender.
It was in realising that I myself am not a straight woman, that I became interested in the LGBT+ world. Of course this was at the stage in life where everyone seems to be defining themselves and so naturally I became more accepting of myself as an autistic person also. It was in finding my partner who is also ASD and identifies some body image issues, that I began to notice how many LGBT+ people were also autistic, or people who were autistic and also LGBT+. This became interesting to me and made me ask one obvious question: Why?
Why are there more people who have ASD that identify diversly in other areas? Of course most people will jump straight on the wagon of ‘because people with ASD are more open and honest with themselves, so better accept their sexuality’. I believe this may be the case some of the time but I myself don’t work into that area.
I was terrified when I realised I was gay. I hated myself, I self-harmed and felt I was wrong and broken. I was whole heartedly willing to pretend to be straight in order to have a normal life. I felt if I acted with my sexuality I would never find anyone to love me, I was so niche. (ironically – or maybe fatefully – around the time I started having these fears I first met my best friend and now partner who I adore)
I did not fit the idea of being more accepting. I was disgusted by myself and so certainly would not have been an advocate for others. So that makes me think there must be more. This set me on a thought path, made me come to a conclusion which I was sure others must have noticed in the world of science. I was right.
For a long time people thought that those who saw a link between autism and LGBT+ were a bit off kilter. This is beginning to change. An article I found (linked below) shows a 2014 study which showed that autistic children were 7.59 times more likely to have variation in their gender expression. The more you look the more articles you find which link LGBT+ and autism, and surely this means that science is on to something.
Now, to get things very straight (pun intended) I am not and never will be a person that believes if we know what causes autism we should or could cure it. I believe we cure autism and we remain a boring race with no ingenuity and will only evolve in the classic sense. I feel autistic people, yes are influenced by the way this world has been made but it is genetic and will carry on and spread making the world beautifully diverse.
This does not mean that I don’t want to know where autism comes from, what causes it to happen in our bodies and the question most on my mind at the moment – is there something in the brain which ‘makes’ someone autistic and/or LGBT+?
I don’t think we should ever know the answer truly, because if we do some horrible people out there will try to cure autism and cure people who are LGBT+ and so I think we will always be safer in the dark on this topic.
So really I don’t have an answer on this topic. I know that people with autism are more likely to be LGBT+ and even more still will be the ‘T’ and be gender fluid or transgender, even non-binary or agender. I also know that autistic people may be less likely to lie to themselves about their sexuality or gender. I do think there is more to learn, that there may be brain links in this area but I also feel in this part of science not knowing is best for humanity. We have learned in the early days of genetics and in the early days of modern history that if we know too much those who are most privalidged in society are likely to wipe out the others, to make their world how they want it (anyone heard of a guy called Hitler?). We cannot do that again, we cannot change the things we only claim to understand.
And to prevent going totally off topic I will end this post here. I hope it has given you something to think about today, whether you are LGBT+ or not. I hope you enjoyed this post, as always comments and suggestions are more than welcome. Thank you so much for your continued support. I’ll see you in another post soon 🙂