My name is Jane Galloway and I am an Autism Parent Advocate.
We know from research released by the Tavistock and Portman clinic, that over the last decade, the number of children identifying as transgender, has increased by 4000% and that these children are overwhelmingly girls. Organisations like Stonewall, Gendered Intelligence and Mermaids refuse to discuss why so many girls now feel like boys, let alone the fact that 30% of those young people are autistic. We have to talk about it.
We need to slow down and let therapists gently explore with girls where this is coming from. At a time when teenage girls are experiencing a national mental health crisis, there may well be co-morbid mental health problems, or social anxieties around finding a way to be a girl that sits somewhere between the extremes of a porn-influenced availability and actually identifying as a boy.
When it comes to the one third of these children who are autistic, we know that there is hardly any research into the female autistic brain, let alone into the links between autism and being transgender. We desperately need to do research into both. Girls who are coming into gender identity services need to have the autism explored first, or alongside, the gender confusion, because autism isn’t something we ‘treat’. It isn’t an illness, or an inconvenient part of them, it is them. Autism is woven into every part of their incredible neurodiverse brains and we can’t separate that from their way of viewing the world.
Until we ask those questions and until we have those answers, and until we do that research, we need to hold off on self-ID, because our children look to us to see how the world works. If we are showing them that they can change sex by filling in a form, then many of these vulnerable girls will be misdiagnosed and will ultimately miss out on the care they really need.