“Just” something else, redux

The trend of “anything but trans” continues apace, and the latest theme is once again a misconception between autism and gender dysphoria. HJ Hornbeck has made a good case that no such correlation between the two even exists; still, even if we were to accept that it is true (which is a stretch with the data available to us), the attributes of autism do not preclude gender dysphoria.

Such practices do not reflect what is currently known about individuals with both gender dysphoria and autism. The assumption that a trans person’s gender has emerged from aspects of their autism, rather than this straightforwardly being their gender as in allistic individuals, is largely unfounded. There is a kernel of fact at the center of this speculation: those with gender dysphoria have an elevated likelihood of being autistic or exhibiting autistic features, and autistic people are also more likely to be dysphoric or gender-variant (May, Pang, & Williams, 2017).

But the observation of “some of these people are on the autism spectrum” is distinctly different from the claim of “some of these people are on the autism spectrum and their autism is causing the false appearance of a transgender identity”. A significant proportion of trans people are autistic. This does not therefore mean they aren’t trans.

Contemporary scientific literature on co-occurring gender dysphoria and autism generally does not conclude that autistic people’s trans identities are any less authentic than those of allistic people. May et al. (2017) note that autistic traits can actually make this group less likely than allistic individuals to refrain from coming out or visibly manifesting a gender-variant identity:

Again, I stress, HJ went mining through the literature and isn’t able to justify this correlation. However, Zinnia is pointing out that it’s irrelevant as to whether or not an individual is capable of articulating their own needs when it comes to gender identity. In addition, Zinnia points out that if allistic people are more sensitive to social pressures, then we’re actually more likely to closet ourselves for our own safety, which may account for the disparity if it can be confirmed in the future.

Read more here.