LGBTQ+ and Neurodiversity
If you’re pattern-prone, it probably won’t surprise you to hear that there’s an overlap between LGBTQ+ and neurodiversity. Maybe you’ve noticed most of your gay friends seem to be neurodivergent or maybe your neurodivergent friends all seem to be queer. Regardless of how you got there, the reality is that yes! We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re probably a little skittish.
LGBTQ+ and Autism
No, you don’t just live in an echo chamber of Spicy Queers (although that does sound fun.) Research from the University of Cambridge has confirmed a connection between LGBTQ+ and neurodiversity: “Autistic individuals are less likely to identify as heterosexual and more likely to identify with a diverse range of sexual orientations than non-autistic individuals.”
Some studies have found that autistic people are “more likely to experience a wider diversity of sexual orientations” as “autistic adults and adolescents are eight times more likely to identify as asexual or ‘other’ than their non-autistic peers and may be up to three times more likely to identify as trans. Additionally, autistic men are 3.5 times more likely to identify as bisexual compared to non-autistic men and autistic women are 3 times more likely to identify as homosexual than non-autistic women.
LGBTQ+ and ADHD
While studies have been limited in both autism and ADHD in regards to identifying as LGBTQIA+, we do have some insight based on what has been done thus far. According to one study, people with ADHD were 6.64 times more likely to express gender variance.
It’s worth noting that none of this research goes to say that ADHD is likely to cause queerness nor cause gender dysphoria. Rather, neurodivergent people are more likely to reject rigid gender expectations that society places on us.
In another study, researchers studied brain imaging of women with bipolar disorder and ADHD. They found evidence of differences in cortical volume among nonheterosexual female patients that provides early insights into the neurobiology of sexual orientation. This could lead to a better understanding of neurobiological complexities and the associations between sexual orientation and mental health. I’d like to emphasize that this, by no means, is some kind of claim that being LGBTQIA+ makes you mentally ill. Rather, the way society treats both LGBTQ+ and ADHD people triggers rejection sensitivity, depression, and anxiety.
The Threat to Human Rights
This post is more than just an info dump about some interesting tidbits about how LGBTQ+ and neurodiversity merge. A study done in 2018 found that one-third of the respondents had been repeatedly questioned about their gender identity due to their autism. This comes from a place of prejudice that falsely assumes autistic and neurodivergent individuals are not competent enough to understand their own gender identity or sexuality. This directly leads to the underdiagnosis of neurological conditions in the LGBTQIA+ community.
Additionally, anti-trans activists claim autistic youth are ‘tricked’ into identifying as queer or transgender; groundless claims that create barriers for receiving gender-affirming health care. This can have life-threatening consequences and lead to long-lasting trauma. In a time when the US has seen a record-breaking 417 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced into legislation since the beginning of 2023, it’s vital people understand the ramifications. Denying neurodivergent people access to gender-affirming care is denying their human right to healthcare, their right to self-autonomy, and is a less-than-subtle attempt at eugenics.
Celebrate LGBTQ+ and Neurodiversity This Pride Month
While I love to problem solve, I, unfortunately, can’t fix the American political system and the hateful ignorance that seems to permeate it. What I can do is create Neurospicy Pride Merch! I wanted to do something this pride month to help all the neurodivergent queers celebrate all sides of themselves. You can find all of it over at my Etsy store but here are five of my favorites!
- The Evil Eye Pride Sports Bra
- This “My Special Interest is Being Queer” Top
- The ‘Actually Autistic‘ Shirt
- And last but not least, this SpicyQueer shirt
To help you celebrate this pride month in Neurospicy style, I made discount codes for my readers!
- For orders over $15, use the code SPICY15
- For orders over $20, use the code SPICY20
Happy Pride Month, SpiceHeads! Please remember to pride responsibly.