How Autistic Traits Can Be Mistaken For Gender Dysphoria

In recent years there has been an exponential rise in the number of adolescents and young adults adopting transgender identities, stirring intense debate about its underlying causes. Mainstream discourse on this issue has centered on factors such as social influence, greater societal acceptance, and expanding definitions of what it means to be transgender.

However, an important yet largely unexplored factor that may be contributing to this trend is undiagnosed autism, particularly in young girls. Without a diagnosis, and even with a diagnosis but without a clear understanding of how autistic traits can present, these traits can be easily confused for gender dysphoria and cause individuals to pursue inappropriate and irreversible medical interventions.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior that presents in varying degrees of severity from individual to individual. However, despite its history and prevalence, it remains a highly misunderstood disorder, especially in girls.

As many as 80% of girls with autism are not diagnosed until they reach adulthood, which can cause significant mental health problems and incorrect early diagnoses. This underdiagnosis is primarily due to the common misconception that autism is a predominantly male disorder. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still maintains that “ASD is more than 4 times more common among boys than among girls.”

However, autism experts now believe that the sex ratio is much more evenly matched than previously thought. Girls often fly under the radar because the diagnostic criteria is better at detecting male-typical traits. Girls are also better at masking their symptoms, adapting to social situations, and tend to have interests that don’t fit the stereotypical profile of autism. Read More»

Christina Buttons | “How Autistic Traits Can Be Mistaken For Gender Dysphoria” | March 24, 2023


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