My coming out story isn’t what most people assume it is. For me I never really came out as bi sexual, it was just something I was always open with and didn’t need a name or to be explained to anyone, I felt I owed no one an explanation. But with my autism things were different. Despite my usual approach of being myself and not stopping to care what anyone else thinks about it, I was afraid. I was afraid that people would treat me differently because I am autistic. I had known for many years, identified but diagnosed because I was a girl and “too intelligent” according to a few of the doctors. I had advocated and educated others and studied autism for years, working on my own symptoms trying to pass as, well, typical. I supported my severely autistic brother and helped to care for him for years, and I never once let anyone tell me he was any less for his autism, so once I was well into my teen years I decided I should do the same for myself. I wish I could say it went as well and as accepted as my sexuality but it did not.
With my openness about my sexuality few people turned a hair, those who did never got to me because someone who cared about that was not someone I wanted in my life anyway. But when it came to my autism, people were different and some still are. People suddenly were telling me they “spotted it” and “suspected it” for years, when in fact they did not. What they meant was that I was weird so of course autism made sense. People I barely knew were lovely about it, they treated me no differently and just said ” ah yeah that’s just what she’s like” at my quirks, but some of my friends were unwilling to still see me as me.
I had some people talk down to me, treat me as a child and even bang things to get my attention instead of just talking to me. I have had people treat me like I am over emotional, as though I am completely unreasonable before they even see me react to something. Suddenly my being weird wasn’t just me being me anymore, where friends had celebrated my oddness before they suddenly were just tolerating it. It was polarising and for me it was confusing. Nothing about me or my behaviour had changed at all, all I had done was put one word to describe myself and suddenly no one could seem to see me the same way.
My best friend of 7 years even attempted to “fix me” by calling me out on any behaviour she deemed too autistic, shouting at me that it wasn’t realistic and that it was wrong. She believed by pointing it out, as though I was a naughty dog, would teach me not to do those things. Funnily enough we no longer speak.
These responses threw me but eventually I saw it the same way I see people who don’t like the way I look and dress, the same way I see people who don’t like my sexuality. Its a part of me and a part I have slowly learned to love. So what if I talk too much and don’t like large crowds and live to a strange routine. Nothing is wrong with me or any autistic person, if someone else has a problem with you then it is their problem. I have a wonderful family and a wonderful boyfriend who loves me just the way I am, autism and all. So this is me, hopefully for the final time, coming out. I am an aspie girl. I am autistic. I am an acquired taste, don’t like it? Go acquire some taste, I promise I will still be here, I will still be the same old me whether you like it or not.