Autistic Pride Day was first celebrated in 2005 by Aspies For Freedom (AFF), with June 18th picked because it was the birthday of the youngest member of the group at that time. Their intent was that it was for those that were both LGBT and Autistic to celebrate on this day. June is also LGBT Pride Month. I have a lot of pride in who I am as an actually autistic omnigender male-bodied individual. It was not always this way though.
Growing up I always knew I was attracted to guys. I knew that from a very young age. What I wouldn’t know for almost three decades was that I was autistic.
Coming out as gay separated me from many family members that disowned me for “choosing that lifestyle.” Being gay is not a choice. One does not choose to endure the hardships many of us often face.
Housing deprived and under-housed people are very prevalent in the LGBT and Autistic community. I have had my own difficulties in the past with being under-housed. So, this is very near to my heart. The city I live in has spent money to place planting boxes where people would sleep on the sidewalks to prevent individuals from sleeping there. Property management companies build shelters for their garbage cans to keep the community out. Where are the shelters for those in need? What about spending money to help them adequately? We must
work to solve this crisis in our community.
I detest these words of choice or preference. I am who I am and I choose to be true to myself. I could not hide in a closet any longer. Hiding who I was. Constantly pretending that I was someone else was destroying me. I came out as gay when I was 20 years old to a few family members and friends. A few months later I came out to everyone. That is when I found out who was really going to be there for me.
It’s debilitating growing up with one side of my family religious and being psychologically abused by their belief system. Having to hear all the negative things people said about gay people growing up and secretly dying inside from it. Hiding your true self away in fear. Fear of what they would do to you.
Coming out was the best choice I could make though. Because I could be true to myself. I could show interest in men and date men, have relationships and there was nothing they could do to me anymore.
When I was 29 I had an initial diagnosis of autism and then I came out the very next day. I was not going to be burdened with another closet. I felt compelled to share who I was. Little did I know there would be so much backlash for it. People began to view me as disabled and I wassuddenly not a capable adult to them.
Many people were shocked and in disbelief because of the stereotypes that they view as the only possible type of autism. There has been a great deal of ableism and mistreatment I have had to deal with. It brought me very close to an end, but I came back and have become stronger.
Coming out as Autistic and not just as someone that is gay made dating more difficult. Society has narrow-minded views of what autism is or what autistic people can become. It’s hard to find someone that wants to date me because most people have made up their minds about you as soon as you say the word autistic.
It is also not as easy for me to read social cues like flirting. Someone will talk to me in public or at a gathering and it won’t be until hours later I realize they were flirting with me after they are long gone.
Dating can be difficult when I do find someone. I like things a certain way. I need stability to be happy in a relationship, and it needs to be a committed relationship. These things are hard to find in a society that works against the LGBTQI+ population.
We have been abused, neglected, killed and so much more. We have to fight for our rights to work, for proper healthcare, to adopt children, and to be accepted into society. I need someone to count on. This is difficult when my community has been damaged by all the wrongs we have to go through.
Just as the autistic community has been forced into a compliance mentality, the autistic community has been severely harmed by society and groups like Autism Speaks. Many want to manipulate us with things like ABA. To have us conform to their neurotypical way of living.
I am proud of who I am. I want acceptance, not tolerance. I don’t want to hear the cure mantra. I want to see ABA “Therapy” abolished. This is conversion therapy and very harmful. It causes PTSD and there are many more harmful effects. Just as “conversion therapy” to make people not gay harms us.
I continue to work on myself and the path I have chosen. I have goals and dreams and I am working towards them. I will accomplish even greater things and look forward to meeting someone to be in a long-term relationship with.
Many autistics would say we are disabled by society. This is a social model of disability, not a medical model. I don’t care for medical models of autism. Autistic individuals are all different. Each of us has our own strengths, weaknesses, and challenges.
Trying to get proper healthcare with the needs of a gay male is alarmingly difficult. Most places have no idea what we need. Getting routine STD/STI and HIV testing is important to our well-being. I am thankful for PrEP that prevents HIV. I have had to fight doctors to get my needs met. These things must change.
Let us focus on what we can do, and how we can adapt to live more fulfilling lives
without hiding who we are or having to deal with society’s views of us. It may be difficult communicating between neurotypes, but I would like to see us work together to have a great understanding of each other. Not a world where we are forced to mask who are to be accepted.
It has taken me several years to become who I am now after being diagnosed as
autistic. I have grown to love and accept my attraction to men and also that I am autistic. Religion taught me to hate myself. I have moved past this.
I am a director in an organization known as Twainbow. An organization for those living under the autism spectrum and the LGBTQI+ rainbow. I work with our board members to create change for this community. We need your support. We are seeking board members. If you are interested please check out our site for more information.
I now think outside of the box more than ever. I have shed the medical profession's
views and discriminatory views of my autistic self. I will not comply with society’s
narrow-minded view and medically termed disability labels. No one wants to live their lives starting from a deficit mentality.
Society has this view of what autism is and we are all so diverse like Neurotypicals. There are so many stereotypes that are harmful. They make getting diagnosed even harder. This is especially true for women, transgender individuals, and people of color.
If I never hear a functioning label again, it will be too soon. It makes me sick when
someone has to identify themselves as high functioning to be valued. No autistic should have to introduce themselves with a functioning label. You are all valued and worthy of love to me.
We are autistic people, not people with autism. It sounds like you are talking about
someone with a disease that needs to be removed when you use this terminology. These terms were created by non-autistic individuals. I take a stand against ableism.
I have found myself now. I accept myself. I hope if you meet someone like me you will accept them into your life. Happy Autistic Pride Day. This is the 16th anniversary of Autistic Pride Day. Listen to our experiences with an open mind. I hope you support organizations that don’t support abuse and give us a chance.
Check out some of our awesome Autistic Pride t-shirt ranges here.