Skip to main content

“Gender Is Not on My Agenda!”: Gender Dysphoria and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Abstract

Many people treat the terms “sex” and “gender” as though they were synonymous. Biological sex comprises physical attributes such as external genitalia and internal reproductive structures such as gonads, sex chromosomes, and sex hormones. Gender, on the other hand, can be a little less straightforward and is not inherently or exclusively associated to one’s physical anatomy. Gender is a product of the complex interrelationship between an individual’s biological sex and one’s gender identity, which is an internal sense of self as male, female, both, or neither.

Keywords

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Gender Identity
  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder Group

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-29695-1_10
  • Chapter length: 12 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-29695-1
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

References

  • Abelson AG (1981) The development of gender identity in the autistic child. Child Care Health Dev 7(6):347–356

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • American Psychiatric Association (2013) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).

    Google Scholar 

  • Auyeung B, Baron‐Cohen S, Ashwin E, Knickmeyer R, Taylor K, Hackett G (2009) Fetal testosterone and autistic traits. Br J Psychol 100(1):1–22

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Baron-Cohen S (2002) The extreme male brain theory of autism. Trends Cogn Sci 6(6):248–254

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Baron-Cohen S, Richler J, Bisarya D, Gurunathan N, Wheelwright S (2003) The systemizing quotient: an investigation of adults with Asperger syndrome or high–functioning autism, and normal sex differences. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B: Biol Sci 358(1430):361–374

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Behringer RR, Finegold MJ, Cate RL (1994) Müllerian-inhibiting substance function during mammalian sexual development. Cell 79(3):415–425

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Bejerot S, Eriksson JM (2014) Sexuality and gender role in autism spectrum disorder: a case control study. PLoS One 9(1):e87961

    CrossRef  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Berenbaum SA, Bryk KK, Nowak N, Quigley CA, Moffat S (2009) Fingers as a marker of prenatal androgen exposure. Endocrinology 150(11):5119–5124

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Blumberg SJ, Bramlett MD, Kogan MD, Schieve LA, Jones JR, Lu MC (2013) Changes in prevalence of parent-reported autism spectrum disorder in school-aged US children: 2007 to 2011–2012. Natl Health Stat Rep 65(20):1–7

    Google Scholar 

  • Bogaert AF, Hershberger S (1999) The relation between sexual orientation and penile size. Arch Sex Behav 28(3):213–221

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • De Vries AL, Noens IL, Cohen-Kettenis PT, van Berckelaer-Onnes IA, Doreleijers TA (2010) Autism spectrum disorders in gender dysphoric children and adolescents. J Autism Dev Disord 40(8):930–936

    CrossRef  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Deogracias JJ, Johnson LL, Meyer-Bahlburg HF, Kessler SJ, Schober JM, Zucker KJ (2007) The gender identity/gender dysphoria questionnaire for adolescents and adults. J Sex Res 44(4):370–379

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Dessens AB, Slijper FM, Drop SL (2005) Gender dysphoria and gender change in chromosomal females with congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Arch Sex Behav 34(4):389–397

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Dörner G, Rohde W, Stahl F, Krell L, Masius WG (1975) A neuroendocrine predisposition for homosexuality in men. Arch Sex Behav 4(1):1–8

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Eckert P, McConnell-Ginet S (2003) Language and gender. Cambridge University Press

    Google Scholar 

  • Fombonne E (2005) The changing epidemiology of autism. J Appl Res Intellect Disabil 18(4):281–294

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Gagnon JH, Simon W (2011) Sexual conduct: The social sources of human sexuality. Transaction Publishers, Piscataway

    Google Scholar 

  • Gallucci G, Hackerman F, Schmidt CW Jr (2005) Gender identity disorder in an adult male with Asperger’s syndrome. Sex Disabil 23(1):35–40

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • George R, Stokes MA (submitted) Sexual orientation and gender-identity among high functioning individuals with autism spectrum disorder

    Google Scholar 

  • Gladue BA, Green R, Hellman RE (1984) Neuroendocrine response to estrogen and sexual orientation. Science 225(4669):1496–1499

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Golubock S (2003) Different on the inside. In: Miller JK (ed) Women from another planet? Our lives in the universe of autism. 1st Books Library, Fairfield, pp 157–70, Print

    Google Scholar 

  • Gooren L (2006) The biology of human psychosexual differentiation. Horm Behav 50(4):589–601

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Happé F, Frith U (1995) Theory of mind in autism. In: Learning and cognition in autism. Springer US, pp 177–97

    Google Scholar 

  • Hembree WC, Cohen-Kettenis P, Delemarre-van de Waal HA, Gooren LJ, Meyer III WJ, Spack NP, Tangpricha V, Montori VM (2009) Endocrine treatment of transsexual persons: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 94(9):3132–3154

    Google Scholar 

  • Hines M, Brook C, Conway GS (2004) Androgen and psychosexual development: core gender identity, sexual orientation, and recalled childhood gender role behavior in women and men with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). J Sex Res 41(1):75–81

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hollander E, Soorya L, Wasserman S, Esposito K, Chaplin W, Anagnostou E (2006) Divalproex sodium vs. placebo in the treatment of repetitive behaviours in autism spectrum disorder. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 9(02):209–213

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Jenkins WJ (2010) Can anyone tell me why I’m gay? What research suggests regarding the origins of sexual orientation. N Am J Psychol 12(2):279

    Google Scholar 

  • Jones RM, Wheelwright S, Farrell K, Martin E, Green R, Di Ceglie D, Baron-Cohen S (2012) Brief report: female-to-male transsexual people and autistic traits. J Autism Dev Disord 42(2):301–306

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Knickmeyer RC, Baron-Cohen S (2006) Topical review: fetal testosterone and sex differences in typical social development and in autism. J Child Neurol 21(10):825–845

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Knickmeyer RC, Wheelwright S, Taylor K, Raggatt P, Hackett G, Baron-Cohen S (2005) Gender-typed play and amniotic testosterone. Dev Psychol 41(3):517

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Knickmeyer R, Baron-Cohen S, Fane BA, Wheelwright S, Mathews GA, Conway GS, Brook CG, Hines M (2006) Androgens and autistic traits: A study of individuals with congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Horm Behav 50(1):148–53. Epub 2006 Apr 19

    Google Scholar 

  • Kraemer B, Delsignore A, Gundelfinger R, Schnyder U, Hepp U (2005) Comorbidity of Asperger syndrome and gender identity disorder. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 14(5):292–296

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Labov W (2011) Principles of linguistic change, cognitive and cultural factors, (Vol. 3). John Wiley & Sons

    Google Scholar 

  • Landén M, Rasmussen P (1997) Gender identity disorder in a girl with autism—a case report. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 6(3):170–173

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Leekam SR, Libby SJ, Wing L, Gould J, Taylor C (2002) The diagnostic interview for social and communication disorders: algorithms for ICD‐10 childhood autism and wing and Gould autistic spectrum disorder. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 43(3):327–342

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • MacCulloch MJ, Waddington JL (1981) Neuroendocrine mechanisms and the aetiology of male and female homosexuality. Br J Psychiatry 139(4):341–345

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • McFadden D, Champlin CA (2000) Comparison of auditory evoked potentials in heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual males and females. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 1(1):89–99

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Meyer-Bahlburg HF, Dolezal C, Baker SW, New MI (2008) Sexual orientation in women with classical or non-classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia as a function of degree of prenatal androgen excess. Arch Sex Behav 37(1):85–99

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Meyerding J (2003) Growing up genderless. In: Miller JK (ed) Women from another planet? Our lives in the universe of autism. 1st Books Library, Fairfield, pp 157–70, Print

    Google Scholar 

  • Mukaddes NM (2002) Gender identity problems in autistic children. Child Care Health Dev 28(6):529–532

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Paikoff RL, Brooks-Gunn J (1991) Do parent-child relationships change during puberty? Psychol Bull 110(1):47

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Pankhurst MW, McLennan IS (2012) Inhibin B and anti-Müllerian hormone/Müllerian-inhibiting substance may contribute to the male bias in autism. Transl Psychiatry 2(8):e148

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Parker JG, Asher SR (1993) Friendship and friendship quality in middle childhood: links with peer group acceptance and feelings of loneliness and social dissatisfaction. Dev Psychol 29(4):611

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Pasterski V, Gilligan L, Curtis R (2014) Traits of autism spectrum disorders in adults with gender dysphoria. Arch Sex Behav, 43(2):387–393

    Google Scholar 

  • Perera H, Gadambanathan T, Weerasiri S (2003) Gender identity disorder presenting in a girl with Asperger’s disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. Ceylon Med J 48(2):57–58

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Pillard RC, Weinrich JD (1987) The periodic table model of the gender transpositions: part I. A theory based on masculinization and defeminization of the brain. J Sex Res 23(4):425–454

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Rahman Q, Wilson GD (2003) Sexual orientation and the 2nd to 4th finger length ratio: evidence for organising effects of sex hormones or developmental instability? Psychoneuroendocrinology 28(3):288–303

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Rees AM, Doyle C, Miesch J. Sexual orientation, gender role expression, and stereotyping: the intersection between sexism and sexual prejudice (homophobia). Vistas 2006 Online

    Google Scholar 

  • Robinow O (2009) Paraphilia and transgenderism: a connection with Asperger’s disorder? Sex Relatsh Ther 24(2):143–151

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Robinson SJ, Manning JT (2000) The ratio of 2nd to 4th digit length and male homosexuality. Evol Hum Behav 21(5):333–345

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Rosenfield A, Wasserman S (1993) Sexual development in the early school-aged child. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 2:393–406

    Google Scholar 

  • Strang JF, Kenworthy L, Dominska A, Sokoloff J, Kenealy LE, Berl M, … Wallace GL (2014) Increased gender variance in autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Arch Sex Behav 43(8):1525–1533

    Google Scholar 

  • Tateno M, Tateno Y, Saito T (2008) Comorbid childhood gender identity disorder in a boy with Asperger syndrome. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 62(2):238–238

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • VanderLaan DP, Postema L, Wood H, Singh D, Fantus S, Hyun J, … Zucker KJ (2015) Do children with gender dysphoria have intense/obsessional interests?. J Sex R 52(2):213–219

    Google Scholar 

  • Wallien MS, Cohen-Kettenis PT (2008) Psychosexual outcome of gender-dysphoric children. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 47(12):1413–1423

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Williams PG, Allard AM, Sears L (1996) Case study: cross-gender preoccupations with two male children with autism. J Autism Dev Disord 26(6):635–642

    Google Scholar 

  • Williams TJ, Pepitone ME, Christensen SE, Cooke BM, Huberman AD, Breedlove NJ, … Breedlove SM (2000) Finger-length ratios and sexual orientation. Nature 404(6777):455–456

    Google Scholar 

  • Zucker KJ, Lawrence AA (2009) Epidemiology of gender identity disorder: recommendations for the standards of care of the world professional association for transgender health. Int J Transgenderism 11(1):8–18

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mark Stokes .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2016 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

George, R., Stokes, M. (2016). “Gender Is Not on My Agenda!”: Gender Dysphoria and Autism Spectrum Disorder. In: Mazzone, L., Vitiello, B. (eds) Psychiatric Symptoms and Comorbidities in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-29695-1_10

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-29695-1_10

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-29693-7

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-29695-1

  • eBook Packages: MedicineMedicine (R0)