Gender identity and autism spectrum disorders

Yale J Biol Med. 2015 Mar 4;88(1):81-3. eCollection 2015 Mar.


In this review, we briefly summarize much of the existing literature on gender-related concerns and autism spectrum disorders (ASD), drawing attention to critical shortcomings in our current understanding and potential clinical implications. Some authors have concluded that gender identity disorder (GID), or gender dysphoria (GD), is more common in individuals with ASD, providing a range of potential explanations. However, existing literature is quantitatively limited, and our capacity to draw conclusions is further complicated by conceptual challenges regarding how gender identity is best understood. Discourses that emphasize gender as a component of identity formation are gaining prominence and seem particularly salient when applied to ASD. Individuals with ASD should enjoy equal rights with regard to treatment for gender dysphoria. Clinicians may be able to assist individuals in understanding this aspect of their identity by broadening the social frame and facilitating an exploration of gender roles.

Keywords: autism; gender identity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Male