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Featured Is there a connection between Autism and Gender Dysphoria?

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by BrokenBoy, May 5, 2019.

  1. No there is not.

    5 vote(s)
    25.0%
  2. Yes there is.

    5 vote(s)
    25.0%
  3. IDK.

    10 vote(s)
    50.0%
  1. BrokenBoy

    BrokenBoy 戯言使い(Nonsense User)

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    I've seen some studies that show (https://www.jaacap.org/article/S0890-8567(17)31682-9/pdf) that there is speculation on a link between the spectrum and gender dysphoria. I've even heard some people go as far to say that dysphoria is caused by autism. However I haven't seen any reliable study say this is the case so I'm gonna have to take that with a grain of salt.

    Can anyone here tell me their take on this topic and whether or not there is a connection?
     
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  2. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    I think that there is, but that's just an opinion. It is known that there is statistically a higher proportion of people with gender dysphoria who are also on the spectrum.
     
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  3. BrokenBoy

    BrokenBoy 戯言使い(Nonsense User)

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    Can you go deeper into your opinion so I can come to my own conclusions and stuff? I wanna get everyone's opinion on this topic.
     
  4. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    I watched a BBC documentary a while ago about transgender kids, where one of the kids was autistic and they mentioned a high prevalence of autistic children also having gender dysphoria. Apart form that, I have met autistic people with gender dysphoria online, and also, if you look around the forum, there are quite a few posts or threads on it - or, at least, people on the spectum reporting feelings of not identifying with their biological gender, or not fitting in with society's expectations of their biological gender. It's something that I can relate to and experience myself to some degree, as although I am heterosexual and identify as female, I have always been very much a tomboy and don't fit in with society's gender norms and expectations of what a woman should be; I have never had this strong sense of femininity that most females have, and I know that many (but not all) women on the spectum feel the same way as I do. Also, there are some males who don't identify with society's idea of maleness and feel that they don't fit into society's gender norms.

    What I'm not sure is whether gender dysphoria can be a result of autism or not, or whether it is always a separate condition. In my case, I feel that my feelings on gender are the result of my my autism and different perception and way of processing, it's more a reaction against societal gender norms being in conflict with my own self identity rather than a feeling that I'm in the wrong body, so I know I don't have gender dysphoria.

    difficulty with gender identity
    Androgynous essence vs. gender dysphoria
     
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  5. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    This is potentially a very controversial topic as it can lead into the wider debate about being transgender and starting treatment to actually change gender.

    I have read that some people consider autistic people vulnerable to this.

    This could be,in part, because they don't 'fit in' and, if they come across information regarding being trans, the could find that it fits for them.

    The reality is they don't fit in because of their autism and could identify as transgender mistakenly.

    There are many who are autistic who strongly want to fit in and they can latch on to this identity to try to do so.

    My take is , just because you are autistic, it does not necessarily mean you understand what autism is. The same rules apply to all children - if you're young you can be mistaken about many things.

    There is money supporting the 'industry.' so there is a lot of information out there which supports transitioning.

    So it can be an interesting and controversial topic from that angle.

    In larger society womens and mens roles are changing so there is nothing wrong with challenging gender stereotypes in my opinion.
    Yet I feel at some level, the 'being born in the wrong body' could sometimes be an expression of a stereotype - it shouldn't matter what you do in the world - man or woman.

    For all the good involved in accepting people who are different there can be bad attached when there is money involved. Especially when young people are encouraged to have a life-changing operation or to be heavily medicated (puberty blockers etc).
     
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  6. Juliettaa

    Juliettaa Black Sheep. Society of One. V.I.P Member

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    I agree @Fridgemagnetman

    There have been cases where people have embarked on treatment for gender re-assignment only to discover they're on the wrong path. Or even completed the transition only to realise they still 'don't fit'.

    While there may be a higher proportion of autistic people who have gender dysphoria, I do wonder will they ever believe they now 'fit in' irrespective of gender?
     
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  7. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    For me it's about following the money. The medical treatments etc is big money.

    Autistic people can be more vulnerable to this kind of thing, I feel.

    On a wider level, there's a poisonous debate involving women's rights and the way sensible debate is being closed down - which we shouldn't get into here.
     
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  8. Monachopia

    Monachopia ...spiral out... keep going.

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    My sibling who is suspected to be on the spectrum also has gender dysphoria and identifies as non-binary... They mentioned that autistic individuals as a whole do experience more dysphoria, but I'm not sure where they got that information from - I didn't really ask. But I do know that quite a few of us are lost in how we identify in one way or another so I do think there is some truth in it. Whether it is influenced by Tumblr communities spilling out into the mainstream or an actual feeling, I cannot say for sure though. There is a case to be made for both of those ideas (and that's just purely from a sociological point of view - not my own opinion).
     
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  9. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    Yes, I believe this can certainly be the case.
    Yes, it is a stereotype, I guess, but I have heard transgender people say it to describe how they feel, and that's where it comes from. It shouldn't mattter what you do - your gender shouldn't define who you are and what your role is in society - I use the word 'role' but don't really even like it too much because it implies constraints - but unfortunately gender norms are still encouraged, ingrained or even enforced, it many cultures, and it's a part of fitting in for most people. I have never felt this strong need that I want to fit it, or that changing my gender will make me any happier, but I can understand why others, perhaps influenced by social media and media hype, may go down that route.
     
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  10. Jojo_LB

    Jojo_LB Brilliant Enigma V.I.P Member

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    I too have read from multiple sources that when you compare proportions of people who do not identify as women or men, that those proportions are higher in autistic populations than non-autistic populations.

    Personal experience with gender identity and dysphoria:

    I identify as non-binary or genderqueer.

    Since childhood, I never really felt like a girl. I mean, I was not totally uncomfortable with the label, but it didn't feel totally right. I don't know how to describe that better.

    People usually labeled me tomboy. I did "boy" stuff. I loved to climb stuff, be really acrobatic and daring, wrestle. I was aggressive. I picked fights with boys at school. People thought I did not "sound" like a girl lol I didn't really know what that meant, but I guess you could say my voice was a little deep for a typical girl's and quite raspy.

    I remember being told often that some of the stuff I liked and the activities I enjoyed being involved in weren't "proper" for little girls like me and I was always just so confused. I actually used to think it was total nonsense. I thought, "I like this. I'm having fun. What could possibly be wrong?" I was always an extremely logical child :D

    I never liked dresses very much. I wore them sometimes in the summer, because they're comfortable and keep me cool. But I was never one of those, "Oh my goodness that is so pretty I want to look pretty!" type of people. It was usually for comfort in hot weather.

    I excelled in all subjects, but especially mathematics and science. People thought boys naturally did better in math and science. This of course we all know now is total bull. I am in fields that are notoriously unwelcome to non-men (physics, data science).

    When boys started noticing me more when I was 12, 13, I thought, "Ew. Why??" Lol When I got to high school and boys there noticed me, again, I'd be like, "Why??"

    I just thought that boys would be more interested in quite feminine girls, not this non-feminine person. But I was wrong I guess!

    When people would refer to me as "woman" it didn't feel right. I didn't know why, so I did some research on it and learned about gender dysphoria. I mean, I certainly do not identify as man, but I appreciate my more masculine qualities. I do have feminine qualities too, and most who see me would automatically assume I am a woman. And I guess I am not too bothered by it, but that's not quite accurate.

    So I decided the best fitting gender identity for myself was non-binary or genderqueer. I have no strong ties to any gender. I am "ok" with being called a woman, but I'm not totally comfortable with it either. My ties to that gender are rather loose. I don't mind she/her pronouns, but also like them/they.

    I see myself as a person, and that's that. Gender is a social construct anyway. I always found it nonsensical that a lot of human attributes, and even non-human attributes for goodness sake, are assigned genders. It makes absolutely no sense.

    While the concept of gender makes zero sense to me, I of course would not go around telling binary folks (those who adhere to a gender binary) that they're stupid and make no sense. I always believe that when it comes to stuff like gender, sexual orientation, etc., that anyone should be free to choose how they identify, and they should not be attacked for their identities.
     
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  11. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    Sounds good to me.

    I think some people get threatened when 'difference' appears and their traditional viewpoints are called into question.

    In the wider sense of having operations to change from a woman to man or vice-versa, if there was a greater freedom to act in a way that was 'gender free' there may be less of a demand in that way.

    That is not to say that such operations are invalid, more that my worry is that it is still being,in some sense,driven by a gender stereotype.

    Anyway a great post.

    Nothing to make fun of. Very disappointing :)
     
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  12. Ronin82

    Ronin82 Dog Trainer Extraordinaire

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    I've heard that the reason the ratios are disproportionate is because Autistic folks are used to not fitting in, so are more comfortable pursuing their own truth when it comes to gender presentations. Personally, I KNOW I'm transgender, a male born in a female body, so I'm pursuing exploring that feeling to make DAMN sure I'm right before doing anything permanent. So far, I feel I've never been so right-on. It all boils down to what makes an individual more comfortable in their own skin? And yes, gender is a social construct, so I don't care what people call me. It just makes me feel good when someone uses male pronouns instead of female...just feels more "right" for me.
     
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  13. Butterfly88

    Butterfly88 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I too have seen some studies that show a correlation. I know one autistic transgender person.
     
  14. Jojo_LB

    Jojo_LB Brilliant Enigma V.I.P Member

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    It's OK. You can be rest assured, you'll find plenty of things in future posts to make fun of. I am often unnecessarily wordy and my meds don't work all the time, so there will be material for you.
     
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  15. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    That's great to hear :)

    If you throw in the odd post when your meds are running low, that would be great :)
     
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  16. Jojo_LB

    Jojo_LB Brilliant Enigma V.I.P Member

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    Ok. Best times to watch out for my posts are morning, any time before 11 EST. And any time after 5 PM EST.

    But especially evenings.

    ADHD symptoms at their most disruptive. I'm hyper, impulsive, and less able to regulate my emotions.
     
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  17. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think they need to differentiate between not fitting into gender norms and being transgender, as they are completely different things.

    Gender expression is separate from gender identity.

    Autistic people, less good at fitting in or less inclined to mold ourselves to outside expectations (or both), I can see frequently not fitting into gender norms. And we might be less able to live a lie and pretend to be something we are not, when we are transgender....but without separating gender expression/adherence to gender norms from being transgender I don't think any valid conclusions can be drawn.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
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  18. Bronzelincolns

    Bronzelincolns Well-Known Member

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    not aware of any hard evidence that would substantiate such a claim.
     
  19. Jojo_LB

    Jojo_LB Brilliant Enigma V.I.P Member

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    Right, gender expression is not the same as gender identity. But they are not totally separate.

    They can be separate, and should be normalized as such. Folks who aren't into the whole strict gender binary, and/or don't conform to gender norms take to this idea more naturally.
     
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  20. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Well, yes, gender expression flows to whatever degree from gender identity.

    But I'm just saying that just because you might be a more traditionally effeminate male-identified person doesn't mean your gender identity is less male, or that just because you are a more traditionally masculine female-identified person doesn't mean your gender identity is less female.

    The things (like preferences, activities, mannerisms) that any society deems male and female are rather arbitrary, and change over time -- but gender identity is much more innate thing, it tends to be whatever it is regardless of the upbringing a person experienced, the gender norms/expectations in a person's environment.
     
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