“You are the Expert of Your Own Experience”: A Thematic Analysis of Experiences of Autism and Gender Diversity in Adulthood
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Glackin, A., Pearson, A. and Davis, R. (2023) ‘“You are the expert of your own experience”: a thematic analysis of experiences of autism and gender diversity in adulthood’, Autism in Adulthood, p. aut.2022.0111. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1089/aut.2022.0111.
Background Autistic people are more likely to report gender dysphoric traits, and transgender and gender expansive (TGE) individuals frequently report higher scores on self-report measures of autistic traits. Despite the clear association between autism and gender diversity, there is a dearth of qualitative research exploring the lived experiences of autistic adults. Methods This study contributes to the evidence base by exploring the strengths and challenges of the intersectional experiences of autism and gender diversity in adulthood. Twelve transgender/gender expansive autistic people participated in an online semi-structured interview or an open-ended survey, and reflexive thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Results Three main themes were identified: (1) Navigating a gender journey, (2) The impact of social context on self and (3) Provision of healthcare. Conclusion The findings highlight the importance of acknowledging the unique experiences of being both an autistic and transgender/gender expansive person to further understand the intersection between autism and gender diversity.