We are sorry that last week we took the wrong decision about making changes to our information about gender and autism. We didn’t follow our usual review process and we should have. We are particularly sorry for any impression we gave that that we don’t support autistic people’s right to decide their own gender. That is absolutely not the case.

Here we explain more about what happened.

Last week, we removed links to some organisations temporarily from our Gender and autism webpage as a precautionary measure while we checked out concerns raised by members of the public about one of those links, to the charity Mermaids. While this decision was made entirely in good faith, it was a mistake. We are therefore putting the links back on the page this week and we will be carrying out a full review of our information on gender and autism, including ensuring we have the most useful links to other organisations.

We are sorry for any confusion or upset caused while we settled on this decision.

Our online gender and autism information will include the need to look at advice and support from a range of organisations and to involve health professionals if people are considering issues around their own or their child’s gender. We are committed to providing information to empower autistic children, adults and their families to make choices about their lives. 

We have apologised to Mermaids for not following our established review process when we were considering removing the link, and for this being interpreted as demonstrating a lack of trust in the charity. This is not the case.

If you have contacted us about this issue, please be assured that we will be collating feedback from autistic people and their families and will consider your comments as part of the review of our information on gender and autism.