Follow along as I share my LGBTQIA+ story and how I experienced it all as an autistic lesbian.
My Journey and Discovery as an Autistic Lesbian
The females on my side of the family tended to start their families when they were in their early twenties so I thought that this would be what I did too, and I was right. I’d say I followed all the socially conditioned pathways, but I deviated a little. Work hard at school, get good grades, settle down, start a family get work.
I left school at 16 but I hadn’t been attending for a long time before that, I didn’t have the option of school refusal, but I did take every opportunity to attend morning registration and then hop over the fence and out into the fields to walk home whenever I could, which was most days. My poor mother was at her wits end with me.
In my younger years, I’d been conditioned to be a good girl and to follow the rules and my autistic brain likes rules, but not if they don’t make sense and school never really made that much sense to me. Surrounded by bullies who took every chance they could to take a pop at you, the teachers weren’t that much better, to be honest school is a distant memory and I don’t think about that time in my life much these days. But it wasn’t healthy and there were people who suspected my sexuality long before I realised it myself.
I left school properly when I turned 16 as this was when I moved out of my family home, I wasn’t going to go to school and sit in a classroom where I was given little to no respect by teachers, I was living as an adult outside of school, buying and washing my own clothes, cooking and buying my food, paying my bills and doing all the things that came with being a “responsible adult”.
It was at this age, 16 when I first came out, but I came out to the wrong person. The person I told went straight back to my aunt and told her that I was gay, I denied it and buried my sexuality away, ignoring it and settling down. I met a man who was 17 years older than me, we settled down, I got a good job and then we started a family.
At the age of 22, I could no longer suppress my sexuality. Becoming a parent changed my outlook and it made me question things in a way that I’d never questioned before. At the time there was a website called Ivillage which had a collection of message forums, one of those forums was an LGBTQ+ board and I posted on there asking how I could I work out if I was or wasn’t gay, there were several answers, but I was asked one question which will stay with me forever and it was this.
“What would you rather? Regret something you did, or regret something you didn’t do?”
I thought about it and quickly came to the conclusion that as long as I wasn’t hurting anybody or putting myself at risk then I’d much rather regret something that I had done as I wouldn’t be left with the answerable question “what if?” so I came out.
Both my parents were absolutely fine with my sexuality, I’m pretty sure my mum wasn’t shocked, there were a few people that weren’t surprised at my news, my best friend told me she’d always known that I was gay, that wasn’t her exact words, but if I wrote what she actually said I may offend you… Oh who am I kidding, she told me she always knew I was a big fat gay.
My dad was the only person who wasn’t overly happy, but it was more for my son’s future than my sexuality, he was concerned that he wouldn’t have a strong male figure in his life and that this would impact him negatively, my son is fast approaching adulthood now and he’s no worse off for not having a man in his day-to-day life. His dad has always been there for him, but that’s another story and it isn’t mine to share.
The next logical step was to leave my son’s dad, I did so very quickly as he’s a volatile man and the relationship quickly deteriorated when I came out. My son and I moved out whilst he was at work and I never looked back.
I had my first relationship with someone who was pretty unstable, before meeting my ex-wife online, we were together for several years before I realised that the relationship like most lesbian relationships had moved way too fast and it wasn’t actually right for me, I made the hard decision to break it off and we went our separate ways, this was followed by another long term relationship, but my dad died soon after I moved in with her and that clouded the rest of the relationship.
I’m not sure we’d have stayed together for as long as we did if she hadn’t felt an obligation to look after me as she’d promised my dad that she’d always be there for me and my son, this wasn’t a promise she was obligated to keep and she didn’t, that relationship was doomed from the start. If I’m being totally honest, it broke me when she left and I ended up in some pretty toxic situations after that.
Discovering I Was Autistic Changed Everything
I didn’t know I was autistic until I was 34 and when I look back at the patterns in my relationships, I can see how much autism really impacted the way I behaved, I can see the reasons behind the things that I did in my younger years, why I always drank to help myself in social settings, you can read about my journey with alcohol here, I became a non-drinker in January 2022 and it was the most interesting journey to embark upon, it’s a journey I’ll always be on.
I can see that in the past my relationships were co-dependent, I can see that my communication style was confused as me being self-centred, when actually it’s just the way I empathise with others and show that I understand what they’re telling me. By sharing parts of my life and experiences that are similar to what they’re telling me – apparently this isn’t the neuro-typical or normal way of doing things. Autistics are very much open to being manipulated and abused, some schools of thought say that narcissists are attracted to autistic people, if they’re attracted to empaths and autistics have more empathy than non-autistics – then this would make sense.
That little website called Ivillage (which is no longer here), left me with two life-changing gifts the question that changed my life and my partner who I met on another message board, Mums Due May 2006: Harper and I met on there way back when we were both pregnant with our eldest, we kept in contact over the years and a couple of years ago Harper waved at me on Facebook, she came out to me at the age of 39 and came out to the world at 40.
We’ve never looked back and what Harper has taught me is that I can show up in our relationship as myself, I can be autistic AF and together we learn what that means to us and we work out where we both need to make changes so that both our needs are catered for. It’s the most incredible relationship I’ve ever known, it’s healthy and there’s not the faintest whiff of toxicity, this shows me that with the right person it doesn’t matter if you have quirks, you can be yourself and you can be loved for that.
No matter what your age is it’s never too late to come out. It’s never too late to be the real you and although it’s not always easy to find out who you are at your core, it’s so worth the energy.
If you’re questioning your sexuality or your gender let me ask you one question.
“What would you rather? Regret something you did, or regret something you didn’t do.”
The answer may scare you, but you might also find the most magical pathway when you follow your truth.