Neurodiversity and LGBTQ+
Sexuality and Disability are two very separate things, however there can be overlaps in how both impact on an individuals day to day life.
It is well known that there are a large number of people who are Neurodivergent who also present at LGBTQ+, this does not mean everyone who is Neurodivergent is LGBTQ+ it just means there is a large number of people who present in this way.
Growing up as a Neurodivergent individual you will have experienced many challenges along the way, whether you had a diagnosis as a child or later in life. Either way, you will have experienced communication challenges and difficulties fitting in potentially, this can leave you questioning where you belong. It can be more challenging when you become aware of your sexuality, with very little guidance on how to understand this or often having no one to talk to about this.
There is lots of recent research into why there is a correlation between Neurodiversity and LGBTQ+, one theory by The National LGBTQ Health Education Centre is “One possibility is that neurodiverse people tend to be less aware of, or less susceptible to, societal pressures and gender norms; therefore, they can express their gender identity or sexual orientation without concerns of being judged or fitting into certain roles”.
This does not mean that Neurodivergent individuals do not care what you think, far from it, what it does mean is that they are less likely to be impacted or affected by the desire to fit in or need to please others in the same way as Neurotypical adults are.
Here are a few things to think about and help you navigate your neurodivergent condition and your LGBTQ+ needs:
- Remember in all of this is that you are comfortable with yourself, you are happy with who you are and you are able to express yourself in any way you choose.
- Think about how you want others to see you and make it clear what pronouns you choose to use – it is helpful to tell others and this could be by adding pronouns onto your Linkedin profile or onto your email signature
- Reach out for support – there are many LGBTQ+ groups out there that will accept and support you through this journey
- Speak to your employer and be open and honest about your feelings and how you want colleagues to work with you
- Do not be ashamed, be yourself and be confident in who you are and what you bring.