Author Topic: Social Integration, Gender Dysphoria, and Autism Misdiagnosis  (Read 2471 times)

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Offline Rose City Rose

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Social Integration, Gender Dysphoria, and Autism Misdiagnosis
« on: September 10, 2014, 06:11:42 pm »
I've been mulling this over for a while and I thought I'd float this idea to see what others here think.

I was believed by my mother and grandmother to have an autistic spectrum disorder when I was younger, in part because I integrated so poorly socially with other boys.  In fact I think the majority of my friends from age 11 to 13 were girls, before I forced myself to toughen up and hang out with guys in high school to avoid the perception that I was gay. I got along with the girls much better than I ever did with the guys, who were always too aggressive and negative for my liking; seems they constantly demanded that I prove myself to them by out-thinking, out-maneuvering, and out-classing them and it became mentally exhausting.  After a while, I became a bit of a loner which singled me out for harassment by teachers after the whole Columbine hysteria hit and eccentric loners were seen as a threat. 

I think in my teens a doctor diagnosed me "PDD NOS" which basically means "Looks like autism but not quite."  I've since been told by about three different doctors that I wasn't an autism case at all, and I am no longer diagnosed PDD NOS since I've actually integrated really well socially as a woman.

Of course, Mom's still in denial about it and thinks this is all just me being confused because I'm her poor autistic little boy. >:(

It got me thinking about some reports I've read about the supposed high number of cases of autism/Asperger's syndrome that later report gender identity issues and it got me wondering: could a lot of those cases simply be misdiagnosed because they simply weren't cut out for social interactions in their assigned gender role?

I've long suspected autism is massively overdiagnosed anyway because it's in vogue in all the psychiatric literature (just like ADHD was back in the 90s; they thought I had that too) and it would make sense because pervasive social impairment is one of the main symptoms of an autistic spectrum disorder... though it can also hint at someone who's not comfortable living as their assigned gender and isn't aware of the root of their problems yet.

This isn't meant to invalidate anyone who is both autistic and gender dysphoric, it's just that a lot of the time primary gender dysphoria can be mistaken for any one of scores of other problems, like bipolar or borderline personality disorder.  Comorbidity happens, but often in cases like mine there's no comorbidity, just a tragic mistake.

Any thoughts on this?
*Started HRT January 2013
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Re: Social Integration, Gender Dysphoria, and Autism Misdiagnosis
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2014, 06:34:51 pm »

Hugs coming to your way! I'm actually pretty much in the same position. My mother brought me to this psychiatric after I came out and he immediately started questioning me and her about my development. And it turned he was assessing me for Asperger's syndrome, which he firmly believed I have it despite being the first time I had met him. Then I was evaluated cognitively, emotionally, and tested for Aspeger's. But the diagnosis was inconclusive. I supposedely met 4 of the 6 criteria that are needed for diagnosis: lack of integration, poor coordination, difficulty in relationships and I'm not sure about the other... But I don't even agree with the one that's about social relationships. I'm not really insensitive to other people's emotions and have been told I'm quite perceptive. Also, before I changed schools I was always social and fit in quite well. Yes, it's all changed, and yes, I'm very clumsy, but I don't think I have Asperger's, or I hope not. IDK I am confused. I always doubt myself, so this isn't helping. I always think a misdiagnosis is harmful. So I'm not ready to tag myself with Asperger's, especially they can't even tell for sure and are relying on me to find out and be relieved with a self-diagnose. But it's not at all a relief. Especially cuz I am one of the hard cases.

I'm seeing this therapist now, and she's maybe trying to tell me I don't have to change sex to fit in. I think they believe Asperger's made me think I'd have to do this to fit in but I don't believe so. I don't feel obligued to anything as she tried to imply. I have body dysphoria and I think they are ignorant to what I'm going through and that's not helping. "The possibility of GID is not excluded as <my name> didn't have good relationship with the boys, didn't play football, has feminine interests"... etc. This is a quote from the official written assessment. Whatever.  I think they have totally biased way of looking at GID. As if IDK I need to be feminine to have GID. Anyway, they may help in terms of social relationships, because I was really bullied and find it hard to trust now, and I so desperately crave friendship. But I believe in terms of GID I'm beyond their reach. And I refuse to tag myself with any Autism Spectrum Disorder for now, because they are specialists and couldn't tell for sure, and they seem to believe a diagnosis of this would make it easier for me. But ooops. It doesn't. It only makes me more worried.

Offline Rachelicious

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Re: Social Integration, Gender Dysphoria, and Autism Misdiagnosis
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2014, 08:00:09 pm »
I'm pretty sure a couple decades ago if Autism was really on anyone's radar I'd have been diagnosed. Back then we basically knew what Downs was and the general term "mental retardation." Personality or character differences were seen as conscious decisions rather than simply the way one is.

The medical system has become extremely good at labelling conditions as symptoms and then treating them as such (that is how you build and maintain an industry) instead of mobilizing the world at large to actually create environments that focus on healthy fetal, cognitive, and social development.

Offline androgynouspainter26

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Re: Social Integration, Gender Dysphoria, and Autism Misdiagnosis
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2014, 08:34:24 pm »
This happened to me as's not something I can talk about very openly on a forum (I'd be happy to msg, etc) but yeah.  And that mistake destroyed my life.  I would have been so much better off in every way imaginable.  BUT-here I am.  I wonder how common this is...
My gender problem isn't half as bad as society's.  Although mine is still pretty bad.

Offline Jera

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Re: Social Integration, Gender Dysphoria, and Autism Misdiagnosis
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2014, 08:44:08 pm »
This, so much this. These are on my list of diagnoses (about 18 different ones, now).

A big part of the BPD one, I think, is that the therapists can tell on some level I've never been fully forthcoming (gender issues have always been extremely difficult for me to talk about) and therapists in general just don't like dealing with BPD/"uncooperative" types.

I got the "almost Asperger's" diagnosis too, because of a lot of my social difficulties "being one of the guys.".

While this probably isn't very substantive, I definitely feel like a lot of these misdiagnoses are probably a bigger thing than anyone's payed attention to so far.