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J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 Dec;48(12):4039-4055. doi: 10.1007/s10803-018-3723-6.

"They Thought It Was an Obsession": Trajectories and Perspectives of Autistic Transgender and Gender-Diverse Adolescents.

Author information

1
Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine, Children's National Health System, Washington, DC, USA. jstrang@childrensnational.org.
2
Children's Research Institute, Children's National Health System, Washington, DC, USA. jstrang@childrensnational.org.
3
Gender Development Program, Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine, Children's National Health System, Washington, DC, USA. jstrang@childrensnational.org.
4
Division of Pediatric Neuropsychology, Children's National Health System, 15245 Shady Grove Road, South Building, Suite 355, Rockville, MD, 20850, USA. jstrang@childrensnational.org.
5
Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine, Children's National Health System, Washington, DC, USA.
6
Children's Research Institute, Children's National Health System, Washington, DC, USA.
7
Gender Development Program, Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine, Children's National Health System, Washington, DC, USA.
8
Alliance of Community Health Plans, Washington, DC, USA.
9
Yale College, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
10
THRIVE Program, Division of Psychiatry, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA.
11
Transgender Leadership Initiative, AIDS United, Washington, DC, USA.
12
Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Washington, DC, USA.
13
, San Diego, CA, USA.
14
Section of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC, USA.
15
Department of Psychiatry, Pediatric Mental Health Institute, Children's Hospital of Colorado, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO, USA.

Abstract

Despite research exploring autism in gender-diverse adolescents, no studies have elicited these individuals' perspectives. In-depth interviews with 22 well-characterized autistic gender-diverse adolescents revealed critical themes, including: recollections of pre-pubertal gender nonconformity; vivid experiences of gender dysphoria; a fear of social gender expression due to perceived animosity toward transgender people; and specific challenges that result from the interplay of gender diversity and neurodiversity. During the ~‚ÄČ22 month study social gender affirmation increased in six participants and gender dysphoria attenuated in four participants. Given the ethical imperative to understand and prioritize the voiced perspectives and needs of autistic gender minority adolescents as well as the discovery of shared themes and experiences in this population, results should inform clinical research approaches and priorities.

KEYWORDS:

Autism spectrum disorder; Autistic; Gender dysphoria; Gender minority; Gender nonbinary; Gender-diverse; Neurodiversity; Transgender

PMID:
30140984
DOI:
10.1007/s10803-018-3723-6

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