5 autistic LGBTQ+ celebrities you need to know about on World Autism Awareness Day

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 29: Actor Wentworth Miller attends the "Prison Break" screening and conversation at The Paley Center for Media on March 29, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

World Autism Awareness Day is celebrated today (2 April) and offers a chance to highlight some of the LGBTQ+ celebrities who have been open about their experiences of being autistic. 

World Autism Month is marked every April and aims to offer education on understanding autism and supporting autistic people.

Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning it affects people in different ways. Autism is not an illness or disease, but means the brain works differently to others, as noted by the NHS.

A few of the disorder’s traits may mean people find it harder to communicate and interact with others and take longer to understand information. 

This World Autism Awareness Day people are encouraged to wear blue to show their support. 

To mark World Autism Awareness Day here are five LGBTQ+ celebrities who have spoken publicly about autistic. 

Wentworth Miller 

Actor Wentworth Miller
Prison Break star Wentworth Miller shared in 2021 that he was diagnosed with autism. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Prison Break star Wentworth Miller revealed in 2021 that he was diagnosed with autism as an adult. 

The gay actor, who is now 51, shared his diagnosis with his 2.1 million Instagram followers, saying it came as “a shock, but not a surprise”.

“Right now, my work looks like evolving my understanding”, Miller wrote at the time. “Re-examining five decades of lived experience through a new lens. That will take time.

“Meanwhile, I don’t want to run the risk of suddenly being a loud, ill-informed voice in the room. The #autistic community (this I do know) has historically been talked over. Spoken for. I don’t wish to do additional harm. Only to raise my hand, say, ‘I am here. Have been (without realising it).’”

Miller acknowledged his privilege in being able to access a diagnosis, recognising this is something a lot of people are not able to enjoy.

Bradley Riches 

Heartstopper star Bradley Riches wears a red jumper with gelled hair
Heartstopper star Bradley Riches opened up about being autistic on Celebrity Big Brother. (Antony Jones/Getty Images for Spotify)

Heartstopper star Bradley Riches opened up on Celebrity Big Brother about being autistic and the importance of being himself.

Riches, 22, who was diagnosed as being autistic at the age of nine, said the opportunity to be on Celebrity Big Brother enabled him to push himself. 

In an interview with the Metro he explained that he hopes to provide representation for young autistic people. 

“I never saw an actor who was openly autistic, but we’re getting towards the right place with more autistic actors playing autistic roles, which should always be the case, otherwise it’s not truthful representation,” he told the outlet in 2022.

Hannah Gadsby 

Hannah Gadsby in new Netflix show, Something Special. (Netflix)
Hannah Gadsby in their 2023 Netflix show, Something Special. (Getty/Netflix)

Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby became a household name after the release of their ground-breaking comedy special Nanette, and first opened up about their autism diagnosis in the acclaimed 2018 comedy special.

They told PinkNews in 2023: “There’s a lot of outside chaos that I’m trying to put together.

“The diagnosis helped enormously because I now know that I’m probably not seeing the entire picture all the time, so there’s humour to be mined there.” 

Josh Thomas 

Comedian Josh Thomas was diagnosed with autism at 33
Comedian Josh Thomas was diagnosed with autism at 33. (Mike Pont/WireImage)

Gay comedian and actor Josh Thomas was praised by the LGBTQ+ community for his portrayal of gay millennial life, with a focus on mental health issues, in his acclaimed comedy series Please Like Me. Then came 2020’s Everything’s Going To Be OK, a series about a gay entomologist who is diagnosed with autism. 

Speaking to The Guardian about his diagnosis with autism, at 33, he said: “I was more aware of the fact that [I’m] bad at some stuff … getting people to feel comfortable and talk about themselves – I wouldn’t say I’m the frontrunner for that job. Which I think got us interesting interviews because I’m so direct, and nobody sounds like they’re bullshitting or being performative.”

The comedian, now 36, currently hosts his own podcast, called How To Be Gay.  

Sheldon Riley 

Sheldon Riley
Sheldon Riley hasn’t let autism hold them back from achieving their dreams. (Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images for Hamilton Australia)

Australian singer Sheldon Riley represented Australia at the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest with his song “Not the Same”, which touches on his experience growing up autistic and queer.

The singer was diagnosed with autism at when he was six, nine and 12. 

Speaking to SBS News, he shared: “I was told for a long time that I wouldn’t be able to execute myself as a normal functioning human being, to get work or have friends or have a partner.”

He said being chosen to represent Australia at Eurovision was great validation. 

“I’m not just the reality TV person or someone who dresses up because they love to dress up, I’m a musician. I write my own music, I am completely independent.” 

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