Being Gay and Autistic
I'm both and it really makes it harder to date someone. I should go in bars or cafés but I can't...there are so many straight ppl, but finding a woman - who is able to deal with my character - is hard. I had a relationship with a boy but it wasn't the right thing for me. (At this time I thought that I'm bi, after the relationship, I'm quite sure about being a lesbian only.)
It only makes life hard...uhm...
My co-author and I are writing a book on Asperger's and Sexuality for parents of adolescents. Would you maybe be interested in sharing your perspective (anonymously or other, your choice)? Not enough people are talking about gay/lesbian/transgender issues in the autism community--I'm only familiar with Zosia Zaks discussing these related topics.
Anyone else who would like to weigh in on this issue or feels there is something important to share, we'd love to hear from you. Thanks! kristi and Joe
I am bisexual and autistic, its often hard to find a girlfriend that understand my unusual social skills as well. Often I hang around boys as friends for company because its easier for them to understand but I've had more troubled relationships with boys, my girlfriends however I seem to have a better relationship with.
GLBTIQ Autism Resources/Info - Not exhaustive -Please add if you know of other resources
Wendy Lawson - Autistic Lesbian - Sex, Sexuality and the Autism Spectrum
Donna Williams' Everyday Heaven which explores her relationship with a woman.
Dawn Prince Hughes - Asperger Anthropologist Lesbian - Radio interview link
Bev Harp - Asperger Square 8
William Stillman - Same sex attracted man with Aspergers - in long term relationship
Jim Sinclair - autism, intersex activist
Jen Birch- Bisexual Asperger
Terry Walker - A presentation on being gay and autistic in the workplace.
This site by Tony Langdon was perhaps the first ever site exploring being gay and autistic (now an Archive). Tony has been a web presence in the Australian Autistic community since the early 1990's!
Also see recent study results from the Netherlands here.
Thank you Katharine!
@Kristisakai There are actually a decent number of queer women already on this site! And the ASD and Queer and PROUD thing is not a small movement, just gets swollowed up in the larger movements it converges with (think like a ven diagram)
I am Bisexual, Panromantic, and all around pretty queer myself. and damn PROUD!
From a purely sexual aspect, I find women MORE attractive than men, but romantically gender is irrelevant to me. Because I live in a small town, most of my relationships have been with men, though I think a larger numer of my crushes have been on women.
Right now I'm trying to figure out how I should go about maintaining my queer Identity if I enter into a long term het relationship- I don't want to buy into Het privilege! But at the same time, I can't deny the fact that my relationships are real and valid but don't make me any less queer than before. But this is so hard to do! Especially being OPEN about it and going into a Het relationship as a Bi/Pan woman.
One of my compromises is that I don't want to marry in a state where I couldn't marry a woman, regardless of the gender I marry, and would want my officiant (Rabbi) to be one willing to officiate EITHER type of wedding. (I'm a Reform Jew.)
"Right now I'm trying to figure out how I should go about maintaining my queer Identity if I enter into a long term het relationship- I don't want to buy into Het privilege! But at the same time, I can't deny the fact that my relationships are real and valid but don't make me any less queer than before. But this is so hard to do! Especially being OPEN about it and going into a Het relationship as a Bi/Pan woman."
This is something I struggle with, as well. I'm beginning to think it's something most of my straight friends and family members can never even begin to understand (hell, they can't even get over my keeping my own last name, so topics of gender roles and non-heterosexuality don't tend to fit in their worldviews >_<), and a lot of the gay people I know seem to consider my being in a long-term relationship as my having gotten over my "indecision" about whether I prefer women or men (in reality, it just doesn't matter to me). Then there's that being married and bi means one's sexuality automatically, in any conversation, stops being about sexuality and starts being about fidelity or a lack thereof.
Katharine -- Thanks for the link.
I don't worry too much about being in an apparently heterosexual relationship. I don't have to prove anything to anyone. I prefer women, period. Lesbians frequently think I'm full of it --- oh, well. :-p That's only a problem if a) I want to sleep with one or b) it jeopardizes a friendship. It's not much of a friendship if someone denies my preferences/sexuality, so then they're out, too.
The politics around me are not going to factor into who I choose to love and be with. It's hard enough finding people who can tolerate me. The fact that I'm with a man (broke up over the summer when i let my ASD symptoms took over; may get back together soon) as far as anyone is concerned does not matter. He's the only man I've truly been attracted to, and he is queer as queer gets. It's just not necessarily obvious to everyone. Except the gay men who keep giving him business cards. ;)
Obviously, it's preferable that people didn't question me, but I really don't have time to run around trying to get my queer cred... Most people don't even know my preference. For the most part, that's no one's business but mine and who I am with.
I often try not to label myself but if forced, I will say that my sexual preference is to humans. :)
I don't limit myself by gender and I really dislike those that assume that just because someone is bisexual that they HAVE to have one and the other in order to be happy. It's just that I CAN have one or another. I am just as mygnom... um, can't spell that word.. I don't cheat just cause I dig chicks and men! There.
My "pool" of "fish" just happens to be twice the size as a HET or a Lesbian or Gay man. No big deal really.
The question about sexuality and autism struck me only when my son was about age 3 or 4. He had just begun speaking and he came up to me and my cousin at the kitchen table where we were talking. He asked me "Mom, did it hurt?" And I asked "Did what hurt?" and he said "When the doctor made you a girl. Did it hurt?" and I explained "No, because I was born this way. The doctor didn't have anything to do with it." He said "Okay, when I grow up, I'm going to be a girl.' Wow. Quite the convo from someone who couldn't say "juice" three months prior, wouldn't ya say?
But I just waited and now that he's 11 and so prone to peer pressure, he's conformed. However, the other day he did ask me, "Mom? What would you do if I WAS gay?" I said, "Well, I suppose it'd be the same thing I'd do if you were not gay. Why?" and he said "Just curious."
I think I might have to research this area if he does "decide" he's gay. I say "decide" because I don't have the right word for it. Maybe it's "realize." Hmm.. at any rate...
I don't get why anyone's (autistic or not) sexuality is this huge problem for people.
Wow - nice to see a thread full of out & proud queer women on here!
I've been "married" (well, I would LIKE to say "married", but alas...) to a dashing NT Aussie for many years, although I use the big bad Q label. I guess "lesbian" always struck me as too limiting, and I'm certainly no gold star.
Good luck to all of you in your relationships. It can be hard, I know...
@Eileen - Help with what? (sorry, not sure who or what you're responding to there...)
Homoromantic but more or less asexual here.
There's an autism page on Queers United, but mostly duplicates Katherine's links. One she hasn't got: Queer Mind: Being Gay (Bisexual) and Autistic
And I love this video: Gay Pride/Autistic Pride, Celebrate Difference
Can think of a number of queer autistic bloggers, and know several of them have written about relationship issues - would have to dig to find links tho.
@Strongria - Thanks for posting these links! I especially liked the Queer Mind article.
I'm already part of the ac-glbt Yahoo group, and now I've just joined the Queering Aspergers FB group. Thanks again!
Hey Katharine your feed back is most useful and helpful! Thankyou for sharing those links and also information which is most valuable.
Heatherbabes sexuality is always a big problem because most people don't understand and are often afraid. Also religion can be a big call as well to get people going.
German_Aspie I know that it is so hard to find a decent person that you can have a good realtionship these days! I'm a reasonbly shy person and when I was younger did go out to a few clubs, bars and also pubs. I did meet someone there who ended up being totally abusive. So being careul in that respect is important I feel.
I keep my private life mainly to myself because it's mainly no-ones business. Coming from a christian background and still having those values myself has been very important. I've found most Christians don't understand it at all.
I also know that there a couple more queer Asperger's groups on face book which is good to see. I don't know how to put a link up here because I've just joined here - The Autism Women's Network myself. Although I'm not a member of the Queering Asperger's group It still looks like it is quite useful. If anyone out there is a Christian and also gay or lesbian there are quite a few facebook groups and pages there as well which is helpful.
I certainly do think that there needs to be more awareness of sexuality in the Autistic/Asperger's community. I've heard at a conference that sexuality can be a big issue for those of us on the spectrum. So I hope that you have found this helpful yet never ever give up on yourself or love....I'm sure there is someone out there for everyone in this world of ours!
Sorry this is so long...Yet take care!
I think if anything for me, I've been at most bi-curious, not as attracted to women as to men though. Honestly only really one woman has actually attracted me sexually/emotionally but I was already in a long term relationship and we ended up best friends. If I had been in a situation that I could have explored (she was bi), I am sure I would have. In some ways, I've always wanted to just explore but well always been nervous about it.
Ugh internet is not working with me and cloning posts. Please remove. Thanks.
Ugh internet is not working with me and cloning posts. Please remove. Thanks.
I identify as lesbian, have had relationships with women in the past, most especially one 9 year long 'marriage', but these days i have decided to forgo relationships altogether. I just have too many issues, it's not fair on them or me. I don't have much contact with other lesbians these days, as friendships never worked out with NTs of any description - i gave up in the end, i only have friendships with aspies now, and i don't give a damn what their sexuality is.
The above relationship was emotionally abusive BTW, she put a lot of pressure on me to behave/be what she considered 'normal'. "What i want is just normal, why can't you be normal!" she used to yell. I finally realized she cared more about this 'normal' than she did me. Huh.
I was also once married to a man for 5 years, that was a complete washout, the only good thing to come of it was my daughter.
Thank you for this!
Nice to see a great list of resources compiled through the previous posts. And nice to see so many friendly queer members.
Interesting my introduction to the forum should be in this thread.
Federal Court struck down Prop 8 in California. Pretty psyched about that. Hope the Supreme Court will uphold the ruling, so that same-sex marriages can happen again out here.
I am a gay Aspie. My AS is reasonably mild so my main difficulties tend to be meeting people in the first place, I'm not initially great with social chit chat, but once I have met someone I'm usually okay on a 1 to 1 bases relatively quickly. The main problems that tend to arise though are if I meet clingy women, because I can't stand people being in my personal space for too long. Also unless I have genuine romantic feelings for someone, I hate to be touched (even if that means just holding hands etc) so some women can be put off by that because I come across as being too reserved! yet when I meet someone who spends the time to get to know me, we usually end up in a very rewarding relationship for both of us.
Thanks for the links they're great :o)
Sorry for the late reply. I haven't visited this site for a while.
It sounds to me as though your son may be transgender, if he wants to be a girl when he grows up. For example, Antony and the Johnsons song, For Today I Am A Boy, on the album I Am A Bird Now.
I'm also gay, but I rather keep away from the "scene". I don't feel like I fit in all this gender-confusion, I am just a girl who loves girls... despite being an Aspie. Life has so many things to struggle with, so I'm focusing on making my life for me and others better.
I'm a bisexual Aspie. I've had two long-term relationships with men and two short-term relationships with women. The men seemed much more able to handle my Aspie "quirks" than the women. One of my female partners worked with disabled people, and she told me, "I work with disabled people all day. I don't want to come home to a disabled person." She also told me that she hated the autistic people she worked with. (This was before I was actually diagnosed as being on the spectrum.)
I also identify as a lesbian and was born with autism. As a kid I wasn't really affected at all by having a different sexuality because I just wasn't ready for any of that at all. I had a lot of guys hitting on me but managed to fend them off fairly easily. I never understood most of the sex jokes and stuff as a teenager or young adult so it didn't really affect me. As an adult it has been much more challenging. I felt mostly asexual in my 20s and everyone wanted more than friendship. I just didn't want that. So I lost a lot of friends because of that or wasn't able to be close to others without them trying to make it sexual. Now that I am almost 30 it's hard to find a woman to date that isn't so compromised that a relationship is impossible (ie severely mentally ill so that I would have to be a caretaker which I am not gonna do) OR someone who can't really relate to my life because they are professional lawyers, doctors etc....and I still haven't been able to transition into employment and just remain on disability. The power imbalance make it impossible for a relationship like that to work. And I also am not super into sex so it has to be someone who doesn't have a lot of sexual needs, from me anyway. It's been very challenging. I'm fairly easy going in most respects and have not had any trouble making lots of friends but dating has pretty much been non existent. I'm ok with it right now but I think in the next 10 years it will probably get to me. I do want kids and I know there is a limited time I can do that biologically, that is. I'd love to have a family. It's just one of those things that may just take longer or may not happen. I suppose you never know. I was always a late bloomer with most things anyway.