Reply To: ADHD in Non-Binary


Hi! I am new to this site, but I wanted to reply to this post with my two cents because it’s something that I have some lived experience with. To my understanding, it is less of a gender thing and more of a sex thing (though I feel that intersex ADHD expression is understudied, as biological sex is also not binary). It seems as though sex characteristics such as hormone levels, etc. have more of an impact than gender identity itself. So if you are AFAB (assigned female at birth), I would expect that your ADHD presentation would be more similar to typical female expression of ADHD. On the other hand, if you are AMAB, I would expect that your ADHD presentation would be more similar to typical male expression.
There is also research that non-binary or gender transformative/expansive identities might be more prevalent in neurodivergent communities, such as those with ADHD or autism. Unfortunately, research is quite limited and come from a very cishet perspective, so it tends to use some problematic language and has more than a pinch of bias. (I actually found this post and then made an account while researching neurodivergency and gender for my advising research professor!). I myself have recently received an ADHD diagnosis and identify as gender non-conforming; I am also AFAB, and I find that most of my symptoms and their expression reflect those in female ADHD studies. One of my close friends is a trans man (FTM, so AFAB), and he and I have similar expression of ADHD despite differences in gender identity. We were also diagnosed as adults (he at 18 and myself at 20), as people who are assigned female at birth or who are perceived as a “woman” by physicians are likely to get diagnosed later in life than males.
It is also important to recognize that a lot of this is very individualized, as our identities are intersectional and multifaceted. For example, some typical ADHD symptoms are offset by my OCD and anxiety/panic disorder, so you don’t need to be a perfect cookie-cutter textbook example to be diagnosed and entirely valid. Glad you’re looking to get assessed! It’s a big step, but in my experience, it is worth it for proper treatment and academic accommodations!