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Adapting health services to meet the needs of autistic people with gender dysphoria

This research aims to ensure autistic people with gender dysphoria get the right support and help NHS clinicians to better understand the needs of this group.



Project status

In progress


1 Apr 2019 to 31 Mar 2022

This project's aim is to improve the support autistic people with gender dysphoria receive. We believe that increasing NHS clinicians’ understanding of this group will contribute to more effective support.

This research will explore the following questions:

  • What is it like for autistic young people and adults to have gender dysphoria?
  • How do autistic people, family members, and NHS clinicians think about the intersection of autism and gender dysphoria?
  • What are the facilitators and barriers to autistic young people and adults receiving the right support for gender dysphoria?

The findings will contribute to the development of training materials for NHS services staff. These will help them adapt to meet the needs of autistic people with gender dysphoria. The training materials will be available in February 2022 on this page.

If you are a healthcare clinician interested in more information about this study, please contact Dr Kate Cooper.

Research outputs


Transgender is a term used to describe people with gender identities that are different from their birth sex. Gender dysphoria describes some transgender people who experience distress in relation to a mismatch between their gender identity and sex assigned at birth.

The NHS provides Gender Identity Clinics, which offer treatment to this group. At least 13.3% of people accessing gender clinics have autism, a life-long developmental condition defined by impaired social communication and repetitive behaviours, interests or activities.

As the rate of autism in the general population is 1%, autistic people are significantly over-represented in gender clinics. However, there is little research about what it is like to be transgender and have autism.

There is evidence that the NHS is letting down autistic people and transgender people. Furthermore, autistic people have more complex health needs than non-autistic people. However, autistic people often fall between the gaps of services and do not get the support they need.

Team members

Funders and partners

This project benefits from the contributions of external funders and partners.

Contact us

If you have a question about this research or would like to know more, please contact us.

[1] - This project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) HEE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic Programme. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.