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Research and attention on the intersection between ASD and LGBTQ+ has been minimal. We need to acknowledge individuals in order to get better support, understanding, and practices regarding sexuality and gender identity among those on the autism spectrum.

Autism and LGBTQ+

Pride Holding Hands
Written by Holly Shan
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Autism essentially is a social communication disorder which makes individuals on the spectrum are less responsive and influenced by societal expectations. This inclination to be immersed in one’s own norms instead of the wider societies may correlate to why initial findings have indicated that those on the ASD spectrum are more likely to identify as homosexual and experience more fluid gender identity.

Research has found that the LGBTQ+ have been marginalized by most sectors in society including health and social services, special education, and the disability rights movement. Even though these individuals are also a part of these groups, they are left out of the conversation.  

AAO members attend Pride in Washington DC

Many students with disabilities receive inadequate sex education, and information about sexual orientation is extremely limited or non-existent. Young adults with disabilities have limited access to peers. While other young adults gain much information about sexuality and intimate relationships from peer groups. This limited network of social connections reduces their exposure to diversity, leaving them with few, if any, positive LGBTQ + role models that share their diagnosis.

 

 

A weak network of social connections reduces their exposure to diversity, leaving them with little, if any, guidance having ASD and identifying on the LGBTQ+ spectrum as well. Providers typically have no policies in place for sex education, and there is a lack of recognition by families and support staff that some individuals with disabilities who may desire sexual activity or intimate relationships. This issue is largely ignored (Brown & McCann, 2018).

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Political and Media Manager Julian at the Pride Parade in New York City, New York spreading love and acceptance
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It is crucial for us to embrace every person as the whole person – not neglecting any part of their identity. This way, we can make sure that no one gets left behind in the movement for change.

Service Coordinator Ria at Pride San Francisco, California
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