Here’s something only a non-autistic person would find surprising: autistic folks are much, much more likely to identify as queer than so-called neurotypicals.
Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s disclaimer time: We haven’t seen any peer-reviewed research yet, but we did find this interesting article in US News (an outlet we weren’t previously familiar with).
The study’s author, Elizabeth Weir, is a Ph.D. candidate at Cambridge working in the autism research division of the university’s psychology department. Seems pretty legit.
The big idea: Weir’s work here seems to focus on uncovering the differences between so-called neurotypical sexuality and that of autistic individuals if any.
The long and short of it is: Autistic folks seem to be queerer by far.
Per the aforementioned US News article by reporter Amy Norton:
In a survey of nearly 2,400 adults, researchers found that those with autism were three to nine times more likely to identify as homosexual, asexual or “other.”
Among men, those with autism were over three times more likely to say they were bisexual, while women showed a different pattern: Those with autism were no more likely to identify as bisexual, but were three times as likely to say they were homosexual.
Setting aside the “those with autism” discussion for another time, this seems to line up with anecdotal evidence. In other words, if you take a look at the autistic community online you may find it to be a bit queerer than other similar communities.
But there’s no point in working with anecdotal evidence when you can conduct a clinical survey. In this case, respondents appear to have merely self-identified.
It’s unclear from the article as to the exact demographics of the study, but it’s mentioned that persons aged 16 to 90 participated.
We could speculate endlessly as to why the difference exists – are autistic persons more inclined to gayness, empathy, sensitivity, or just generally being “different” all the way around?
But we’ll wait until we can read the whole paper.
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