Gender, Sexuality, and Reproductive Health
The Gender, Sexuality, and Reproductive Health node seeks to improve sexual and reproductive healthcare and outcomes for autistic people, with a focus on autistic women and sexual and gender minorities (SGM; e.g., lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual) across the lifespan.
Autistic people often have complex medical and educational support needs that may affect puberty, sexuality development, autonomy, and personal identity. This means they may require adapted or specialized sexual and reproductive health services. Service access disparities continue in adulthood, as multiple studies show autistic women are less likely to receive basic sexual and reproductive health care compared to non-autistic women. Further, a substantial proportion of autistic adolescents and adults are sexual and gender minority. Our research node will systematically address service gaps and health disparities for autistic individuals regarding sexuality education, sexual violence prevention, reproductive health and pregnancy, and sexual and gender minority health. Specific research priorities include developing sexual health curricula for autistic individuals, promoting sexual health education among individuals and families, understanding intersectional identity issues, and promoting self-determination.