Health Disparities Among Sexual and Gender Minorities With Autism Spectrum Disorder

J Autism Dev Disord. 2020 Feb 13. doi: 10.1007/s10803-020-04399-2. Online ahead of print.


We explored the health and health care experiences of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ+) using data from a national, internet-based survey of adults with disabilities supplemented by focused interviews. LGBTQ+ respondents had significantly higher rates of mental illness, poor physical health days per month, and smoking compared to straight, cisgender respondents with ASD. LGBTQ+ respondents also reported much higher rates of unmet health care need, inadequate insurance provider networks, and rates of being refused services by a medical provider. Examining the intersection of LGBTQ+ identity and ASD reveals compounded health disparities that insurers and medical providers are not adequately addressing, particularly as individuals transition to the adult medical system.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder; Health disparities; LGBTQ+.