Interview with Dr Wenn Lawson: autism and gender dysphoria

In this fascinating interview, Dr Wenn Lawson discusses gender dysphoria and his personal experiences of gender. Wenn is a highly regarded psychologist, lecturer and author who is passionate about the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves. Wenn is autistic and has studied, researched and worked with autistic people for over 20 years.

Wenn kindly agreed to be interviewed for Network Autism when he attended the NAS Autism and Mental Health Conference in May 2015. We asked Wenn a series of questions, you can view the full interview or clips of the individual questions below.

Full interview:

Individual question clips:

  1. Can you tell us what gender dysphoria is?
  2. Can you tell us a little about your personal experience of gender?
  3. Gender dysphoria in autism is only starting to become understood, what would you say is key to understanding gender dysphoria in autism?
  4. Thinking about your personal experience, what key advice would you give to professionals when supporting autistic people who have gender dysphoria?


Dr Wenn Lawson was also featured in a recent Your Autism magazine edition, for details of how to subscribe to future editions see the NAS website

Author: Dr Wenn Lawson

Date added: 29 October 2015


Thu, 05/11/2015 - 16:05

This is a great 7 min clip. I was fortunate to listen to Wenn speak about GD in London last month and the interview here gives a good insight in such a short time.


Thu, 12/11/2015 - 14:03

I have great concerns over this theory.  There is the extreme male brain theory of autism, and studies have identified that the female autistic brain has been found very similar to a neurotypical male brain.  As Wenn is autistic, could it not be the case that this applies rather than being gender dysphoric?  In fact does gender dysphoria actually exist when you think of that as an alternative explanation?  As a female with autism I test as having a male brain, but I do not wish to be a male.  Peoples' experiences in life shape their thinking.  This article cites high rates of regret and suicide amongst those who go through reassignment surgery:

See "A challenge to the brain-sex theory" here

An autistic person develops late emotionally, thinks atypically and has a different perception on the world and social understandingthan is typical.  So I would have thought an autistic person is then by default more prone to basing such beliefs and decisions on atypical thinking and logic.  This surely increases the risk for it being a wrong decision?

Sometimes things can appear very much one way but in fact be another.