Brain Health

ADHD and Queerness: Living in the Neuroqueer Intersection

Neuroqueer individuals, those who are both neurodivergent and queer, experience challenges with ableism and homophobia that are unique to the intersection they inhabit — here, ADDitude readers share their experiences and stories.

Multicolored heads of people with ADHD that can be healed using Dr. Amen's techniques
Multicolored rainbow spectrum heads

Neuroqueer is a relatively new term used to describe individuals who are neurodivergent and queer, and to address a truth that many ADDitude readers already know — that the two identities aren’t separate. In a society where both are marginalized, those living in the intersection of ADHD and queerness can face challenges that compound each other. Here, neuroqueer ADDitude readers tell us what they are.

Queer folks are often under tremendous pressure from broader society to fit into norms. And when they don’t, it’s usually attributed to their sexuality or gender identity, so they’re not encouraged to consider that their experiences may be consistent with neurodiversity instead. Not to mention that LGBTQ+ folks tend to have less access to health care, social support, and economic privilege, so they are often less able to get a diagnosis or ADHD medication or support or accommodations even if they do believe they have ADHD.” — An ADDitude Reader

“It’s hard to remember all the positive validation, history and statistics, and good interactions in the LGBTQ+ community when faced with the negative reactions, news, and queerphobia. Also, my rejection sensitivity dysphoria means I’m never really sure who is rejecting me for my orientation and who is just unintentionally triggering the RSD. Is it my trauma/RSD telling me lies in my head or real rejection because of my orientation?— An ADDitude Reader

“Many of the stereotypes I have to contend with as a person with ADHD are identical to those I have to contend with as a bisexual woman‚ namely that I’m ‘flighty’ and ‘afraid of commitment.’ I believe the true antidote to these unkind stereotypes is education, education, and more education. Within LGBT spaces, I’d love to see greater consideration given to those of us with sensory processing and integration issues.” — An ADDitude Reader

[Self-Test: ADHD Symptoms in Adults]

“My 15-year-old identified as LGBTQ and then gender diverse from age 12. In the past 12 months, they now have ADHD and autism diagnoses. Being neurodivergent and LGBTQ means that they are even less understood by their peers. My amazing kid has always been different — quirky, creative, out of the box. They show up in life as one amazing human, even as they continue to struggle to have people understand them.” — An ADDitude Reader

“Being assigned female at birth while having a boy brain led to 25+ years of my ADHD symptoms presenting more like a typical boy’s. However, because I am female, I was just thought to be a tomboy or rebel and, as a result, nobody ever noticed my struggles trying to keep up with everybody else. I only got diagnosed when I went to grad school in the U.S. and my higher-than-average IQ couldn’t manage school, a part-time job, and taking care of myself.” — An ADDitude Reader

“I’m a transgender man who has ADHD. Social gender norms exist, but often do far more harm than good. ADHD can sometimes make it seem like I don’t have a filter, but gender roles and expectations are unhelpful social constructs that filter trans people out and isolate us simply for who we are. I’m glad I lack that filter!” — Daniel, Michigan

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