Autism and Gender Identity

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Gender Identity and Transgender Guide

What Is The Different Between Gender Identity And Sexual Orientation?

As a transman in a workshop said, “gender identity is who you are and sexual orientation is who you do.”

Gender identity is our internal sense of who we are, male, female, or something else. This usually happens for people around the age of 3-4 when they start to express, “I am a boy” or “I am a girl.” Most of the time, ones biological sex matches their gender identity, but sometimes that is not the case. In this situation, one might identify as transgender. Sexual orientation is about the person we are erotically, romantically, and affectionately attracted to. (I will send more information on sexual orientation in a future newsletter).


Sex = biological status as male, female, or intersexual. It includes physical attributes such as sex chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, internal reproductive organs, and external genitals. These are the same across cultures

Gender = how we act, interact and feel about ourselves and our sex. Varies across cultures

Gender expression = how we express our gender identity to others. How we act, the clothing we wear, our haircut, voice or body characteristics

Gender identity = a person’s internal sense of self as male or female or something else, which may or may not match their biological sex

Transgender = is an umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity and gender expression differs from that which is usually associated with their birth sex or assigned sex

Transexual (transman or transwoman) = A person whose gender identity does not match their biological sex

Here Are A Few Other Gender Terms That You Might Find Useful:

Cisgender = a person’s gender identity matches their biological sex

Agender = a person who does not identify with any gender

Bigender = a person who gender identity is of both male and female

Gender Fluid = a person whose gender identity or gender expression changes

Genderqueer = a person who has a gender identity or gender expression that falls out what we consider a societal norm for their assigned gender

Download the Complete Gender Identity and Transgender Guide


This article is short and explores Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression and the connection to Autism.

This article is longer, but provides some real examples of people with Autism who are “gender variant” or “Transsexual.” It also has insight into how to clinically support a person with Autism.