Research conducted by the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge in the UK has revealed that autstic individuals are three to nine times more likely to be “homosexual”, “asexual” or “other.”
The above responses were given in a survey conducted by the centre of around 2,400 adults aged 16 to 90, including 1,183 participants on the autism spectrum.
Breaking the data down further, the survey found men on the spectrum were over three times more likely to state they were bisexual. Meanwhile, autistic women were no more likely than neurotypical women to identify as bisexual, but three times as likely to say they were homosexual.
The research also revealed autistic individuals are less likely to be sexually active. For every 10 neurotypical adults who were sexually active, only four with autism said the same. Additonally, people on the spectrum were close to eight times more likely to describe themselves as asexual.
For those on the autism spectrum who did state they were sexually active, the age they started having sex was similar to those without autism. They were also just as likely to have had a sexually transmitted infection as their neurotypical peers.
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Why do many autistic people identify as LGBTQ?
There is not currently any firm scientific evidence as to why people on the spectrum are more likely to identify as LGBTQ.
“One possibility is that people with autism may be less attached to social expectations,” said Cambridge researcher and doctoral scientist Elizabeth Weir, “and feel more free to express their true identity.”
The study is not the first to show LGBTQ is a big part of the autism community. An earlier study by the Univeristy of Cambridge Autism Research Centre also found transgender and gender-diverse adults are three to six times more likely as cisgender adults to be diagnosed as autistic.
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