A study conducted by the Autism Research Center of the University of Cambridge has produced very interesting results regarding the link between mental disorders and transgenderism. It turns out, according to the research conducted by the scientists, that those people who identify as transgender or 'gender diverse' are at three to six times higher risk of suffering from autism.

That's not all! Because autism often goes undiagnosed, there is a possibility of the actual percentage being even higher. And it's not just autism that has an increased chance of existing among such people. Even the occurrence of depression among transgenders is twice as much as the non-transgender population.

The study conducted by scientists at the university involved 600,000 respondents from Britain. The motivation to conduct the study came from previous research which pointed to this direction. At a time when the issue of gender identity is becoming more and more divisive and volatile, this research could add more fuel to the fire.

Alone man
Transgenders are more vulnerable to autism Pixabay

The survey

"This finding, using large datasets, confirms that the co-occurrence between being autistic and being transgender and gender-diverse is robust," Dr. Varun Warrier, leader of the team of scientists who conducted this study, said.

Dr. Warrier was also of the opinion that, at this stage, it would be wrong to assume that the two conditions, transgenderism and autism, are linked causally. There may be social and psychological factors that may have caused such overlap.

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Procedure

In order to accomplish this study, the scientists at the Autism Research Center used five sets of data, including that collected by UK's Channel 4 for one of their documentaries on the condition of autism. The study also enquired about other mental health conditions that respondents may be suffering from. Autism and depression were the two that emerged most prominently.

"We are beginning to learn more about how the presentation of autism differs in cisgender men and women," Dr. Meng-Chuan Lai of the University of Toronto, who also partook in the study, said. "Understanding how autism manifests in transgender and gender-diverse people will enrich our knowledge about autism in relation to gender and sex."

This study is bound to, and has already, drawn diverse responses. Some fear that it would be used by those described as 'social justice warriors' to demand more governmental action on this issue. People with a different political persuasion might think their fears of an explosion of transgenderism is vindicated by the study.