Potentially Reversible Social Deficits Among Transgender Youth.

J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 May 12. doi: 10.1007/s10803-018-3603-0.

Potentially Reversible Social Deficits Among Transgender Youth.

Turban JL1.

1Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, 15 Parkman St, WACC 812, Boston, MA, 02114, USA. jack.turban@mgh.harvard.edu.


Recently, there has been increased attention to a putative relationship between Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and gender dysphoria, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) diagnosis for those whose gender assigned at birth does not match their gender identity. Studies have shown an over-representation of ASD symptoms among transgender youth. These studies, however, have used scales that are non-specific for ASD. These ASD symptoms may represent social deficits that are secondary to social stress and deprivation, as transgender youth suffer high rates of peer and family rejection. These social deficits may not represent true ASD and may be reversible as patients are affirmed in their gender identities and social stress is reduced.


Autism; Gender dysphoria; Quasi-autism; Social deficits; Transgender youth