Autistic Transgender and Gender-Diverse Adults

Principal Investigator(s):
Anna van der Miesen, M.D., John Strang, Psy.D., & Meng-Chuan Lai, M.D., Ph.D.
Grant Type:
Applied Research
VU University Medical Center and Children's National Medical Center
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Year Awarded:


Transgender/gender-diverse people experience a mismatch between their gender identity and sex assumed at birth, which often results in gender dysphoria. International studies have identified a significant over-occurrence of co-occurring autism and gender-diversity/dysphoria: as many as 22.5% of transgender individuals have existing ASD diagnoses (Strauss et al., 2017), and up to 15% of autistic adults report a transgender identity (Walsh et al., 2018). Autistic gender-diverse/dysphoric (ASD+GD/D) individuals have been neglected in both research and support. Of all of the common co-occurring conditions in ASD, the ASD+GD/D co-occurrence has received the least clinical research attention, and the few existing studies have focused primarily on ASD and GD co-occurrence rates in youth. To fill this gap, our study aims to identify primary needs, risks, and resilience factors in ASD+GD/D adults and to translate these findings into an ASD-friendly information and support guide for the ASD+GD/D community to use. Our community-driven research approach engages diverse international self-advocates and key stakeholders as research partners in this study of ASD+GD/D adults. Our study team includes collaboration between The Netherlands, United States, and Canada. Two of our investigators are autistic and transgender themselves, which affords an authenticity of lived experience integral for the execution and interpretation of research with this double-disparity population.


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