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My name is Alan John William Albert Willis I’m the chairman of this website and I have created this website to raise awareness of people who are both autistic and gay,I would also like to express my view that anyone who has capacity with autism who has spent many years detained the mental health and C.T.O should not be detained unnecessarily as long as they don’t pose a risk to them self or others.
here is AlansLGBTautismsite’s Youtubechannel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2QvALcUNCD4fLZ8dfB5mzA,I think we need to continue to strive for better equality and fairness of opportunity for those who identify as LGBT+and those on the autistic spectrum,and to tackle abuse and discrimination where they occur this is one of many campaigns i support.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.
The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism.
Autism’s most-obvious signs tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Some developmental delays associated with autism can be identified and addressed even earlier. Autism Speaks urges parents with concerns to seek evaluation without delay, as early intervention can improve outcomes.
Some facts about autism
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates autism’s prevalence as 1 in 68 children in the United States. This includes 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls.
- An estimated 50,000 teens with autism become adults – and lose school-based autism services – each year.
- Around one third of people with autism remain nonverbal.
- Around one third of people with autism have an intellectual disability.
- Certain medical and mental health issues frequently accompany autism. They include gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures, sleep disturbances, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and phobias.
I was born autistic and gay. I was also born with blue eyes, brownish hair and short stubby fingers that would obviously hinder any attempt to become President of the USA, but all those attributes are accepted automatically by the world.
Disability and homosexuality, on the other hand, set me apart. And yet, for most of my life, I was proud of one and fled from the other.
I suppose it’s expected at this point to say that I have always felt different. That’s partly true. On the autistic side of life, I used to complete jigsaw puzzles upside-down, struggled to understand idioms, and didn’t have many friends. Then again, I did have some friends, and I was enthusiastic about football to a socially acceptable degree.
I was unusual, but I think other people noticed it more than I did. In high school, though, my friends and I drifted apart. We had less and less in common: The other boys in school gained an overriding interest in girls, while I felt increasingly curious about boys. I remained largely apart.
I went to university because I felt that’s what I should do. The first day I moved away from home, I cried like a fountain. I was terrified of my flatmates, my lecturers, simple chores like shopping. I attended only one exam at the end of the term, and moved back home in the new year. I finally figured that my life was not entirely working out the way I thought it would. Researching online, I came across a then-obscure condition called Asperger’s Syndrome. Some of it didn’t fit, and I was not like the few famous autistic people out there, but the parts I recognized fit me completely. More, they explained my life.
My diagnosis, at the age of 19, didn’t come as a relief. Instead, I felt like a failure.
But my diagnosis, at the age of 19, didn’t come as a relief. Instead, I felt like a failure. I failed at being social, I failed at my studies, I failed at life. Knowing that autism was the cause of that failure didn’t make me hate myself less — it just made me hate autism. I met once with the disability service at university, after I was allowed back in, and it refused any offers of accommodations. After that, I decided I would never mention my autism, never even think about it. It was merely a problem to be overcome.
Even relatively accurate depictions of autism emphasized the otherness and tragedy of its “sufferers.” No-one wants to think of themselves that way. Besides, perhaps I wasn’t autistic after all? Maybe it was just a delusion, an excuse? I resolved to forget about it, move forward, and repair my life.
As part of my determination to fix or ignore my autism, I committed to dealing with the whole never-been-kissed issue. Autism is sometimes described as a developmental delay, and while that’s an oversimplification of our life experience, it can accurately describe our experience of sexuality. It’s not uncommon for love and sex to be entirely absent from our minds until (comparatively) later in life, and this was certainly true to me. Even if any crushes had thrown themselves at me, I was more likely to build a particle accelerator than attempt a relationship. By the age of 22, though, it was clear that the only way I was going to have love in my life was by living as a gay man.
I may have had trouble coming out — even to myself — as disabled, but I didn’t have trouble coming out as gay. I had the fortune to grow up in a lovingly supportive family. My cousin came out years ago, and his partner is accepted entirely by the family. My best friend was just confused that I hadn’t told him sooner. My mother was pleased for me; when I told her I had something to share, she was worried I would tell her I’d “found religion.” She was relieved I was only gay.
I may have had trouble coming out — even to myself — as disabled, but I didn’t have trouble coming out as gay.
I wasn’t in a world where being gay is a sin, a perversion, a choice, or a disease. I wasn’t destined to die young, a tragic figure: a warning to everyone else. I was told, by nearly everyone I knew, that it is fantastic to love who you are, to fight back against prejudice. I was scared, but the world around me confirmed what I thought: Accepting my sexuality was a path to the future family I wanted. One more ingredient of that essential Good Life.
Autism didn’t hinder my dating, either. It turned out that being socially awkward was not much of an impediment to getting a guy into bed. It was a much bigger issue in trying to navigate a relationship, but I wound up meeting the most wonderful and understanding man in the world.
But though I was supported, romantically happy, and at ease with myself, I still couldn’t come to terms with my autism diagnosis and the failure I felt it represented. My family initially tried to talk about it openly, but I refused. To me, autism was the thing that held me back. In my mind, it was still the condition of Rain Man and other institutionalized hopeless cases. I must be one of the few lucky high-functioning ones, I thought.
I knew I wasn’t the only one who thought this way. When I had gone to the hospital for diagnostic tests, my Mum had accompanied me; the doctors want to talk to your parents, or indeed anyone else who can give an accurate picture of what you were like as a child. (Autistic children are far better understood than autistic adults, because that is where the money goes.) My Mum told the hospital receptionist that we were there for an appointment, and the receptionist looked at me sympathetically and then asked my Mum: “And how old is Euan?” Already, it seemed, I was expected to be spoken for, not spoken to. I fixed her with a glare and told her myself.
I wasn’t willing to submit to other people having that conception of me—an object, not aware of my surroundings, a broken man—or to having that conception of myself. Disabled adults are sometimes the most forgotten. We’re generally not as cute as disabled kids, and society looks at us as hopeless cases. At most, we are a problem-solving exercise: What can we do with these lost causes so that they don’t get in everybody else’s way? This was what I felt when given the diagnosis with no basis to contextualize it.
When I was growing up, celebrations of gay pride were already common, but I had no concept of being proud of my autism. I knew of no parades in the street. I had no idea how many other people there were like me — if there even was anybody like me. Not that I thought I was special, just uniquely broken and of no concern to a society embarrassed by bodies or brains that do not function typically.
Having my disability diagnosed and explained didn’t make me stop hating it. For that, I needed to meet other people like me. Recently my day job has brought me into contact with other autistic people: first one or two, then more and more. It turns out that autistic people are everywhere. We may not be putting on parades in the street, yet, but we’re not hiding. I just didn’t know how to look. Seven years after my diagnosis, I started learning about autistic culture, not just bare diagnostic criteria. Some people were like me, others radically different. All were autistic. None were failures.
I am proud of being autistic in the same way that I am proud of being gay.
To my joy, I found that the idiosyncrasies that I thought were failings had perfectly natural causes. My hearing is hypersensitive, making it difficult for me to distinguish voices around background noise—I’d thought I was just a terrible listener. The sound of certain fabrics being rubbed is like a needle being scraped against my brain, part of the sensory issues that autism brings along—it’s not just me being fussy or particular. My physical clumsiness and my scattered-brain were part of it too, as was my ability to focus exclusively on a subject I enjoy and my dislike of dissembling (especially to a friend). Online, I discovered autistic people were now speaking, not being spoken for. There is a growing movement for neurodiversity and pride.
These days, I am proud of being autistic in the same way that I am proud of being gay.
I’m not some parody of normal, some evolutionary dead-end, one of nature’s mistakes to be pitied for my hardship. I may be atypical, but I’m part of a culture, and we’re all atypical together. It’s true that society at large still prizes conformity over individuality. But now that I have an alternative, I’m getting better at realizing that conformity is not the only way to belong.
I’m a history in progress. I’m gay. I’m autistic. And I’m not alone.
The Intersectionality of Autism and Homosexuality
For much of my life it seemed like everyone else was able to express themselves in a carefree, effortless manner. But it was clear from childhood that I was not like most other people. I had to hide my behavior, mannerisms, and desires. Over time as I learned why I was different, and that it wasn’t acceptable to be different, I had the urge to live in the closet.
But I chose a more challenging path. I chose to come out.
It sounds familiar, doesn’t it? But I’m not referring to being gay — yes, I’m gay — but my story is also about a second, simultaneous closet: autism.
When I was 40, a lifelong friend, who is incidentally a psychotherapist, suggested I might be autistic. He pointed out the social awkwardness, an overall sensory sensitivity — to bright lights and colors, the feel of certain fabrics, musky smells, certain sounds — and a penchant for logic that organized my entire life down to the most minute detail.
After I talked to a specialist, it was confirmed: I am autistic. But that is where my journey began. This is the point where I learned the parallels of my experience as a gay man and that of being autistic.
In 1973, the year I was born, the American Psychiatric Association voted to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. A father of modern psychotherapy, Sigmund Freud, believed that homosexuality and paranoia were inseparable. What he considered “symptoms” of homosexuality were very often a reaction to living an outcast life in shadows: seclusion, low self-worth, and self-destructive behavior. These things take their toll on the mind. For many decades the blame was on just about anything from poor parenting to vaccines. Homosexuals were subjected to behavioral conversion therapy, shock therapy, injections, beatings, removal from imaginary catalysts, and social shaming to drive the gay out of them.
These very things currently happen in the autism world.
I have witnessed with much pain that treatments are used today on autistic children to drive the autism out of them. But as with homosexuality, we now know through better science that autism has a genetic and environmental basis. This still doesn’t prevent professionals from advising parents to seek “cures,” ostensibly to make life easier for their children. I have read stories of religious leaders telling parents that their child’s autism is because of some previous sin or nonconformity.
Similar to LGBTQI+ people who lived through the hostile 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, autistics now are timid survivors who often live unidentified and very often ignorant of what we are because a nascent autism science still very often sees us as sick or broken. A widely accepted symbol of autism, the blue puzzle piece promoted by many organizations, is a not-so-disguised symbol of incompleteness, of never being quite whole. There are still common references to “having autism,” as opposed to being autistic. The former is a direct reference to an illness and, some hope, a curable one. It is for this reason that today we don’t say I have homosexuality. No, I am a homosexual. Likewise, I don’t have autism — I am autistic.
As a gay man who grew up in these transitional decades, I am keenly aware of the parallels: the fear, the ignorance, the desire to be out in private but closeted in public. I see those who are not self-aware, but I believe that, even with identification, would live their entire lives in the closet.
Despite the fact that we still have the social challenges in our lavender world as well as confusion around autism, there is hope. Education and science have a tendency to bring truth into the ugliest corners of our world. This light banishes discrimination, ignorance, and stigma, and we draw closer to acceptance every day.
Autism is nothing new. Records abound of those who saw the world a little differently, who had a quirkiness that was intrinsic to genius. For example, many now believe the heterosexuals (so far as we know) Albert Einstein, Srinivasa Ramanujan, and Isaac Newton were all autistic. Each of them claimed to be able to literally see a world that was grid-like and interlaced with an infinite number of connections that they expressed in mathematical terms. We can’t even begin to imagine what the world would be like without the contributions of those who many now believe lived under the LGBTQI+/autism double rainbow — geniuses like Leonardo da Vinci, Archimedes, and Nikola Tesla. Each of these dynamic artistic/scientific pioneers displayed well-known characteristics of homosexuality and autism, but sadly we may never know their status for sure, since identification was not an option or stigma prevented even self-realisation.
It is no wonder then that when my psychotherapist friend suggested I might be autistic, I had never heard of Asperger’s syndrome — which, I learned after a thorough five-hour examination — is the specific category of my type of autism.
That’s right, in this day and age, with my penchant for all things science and being a hopeless news junkie, I had never heard of what I am. And being the consummate researcher, I immediately Googled “autism and LGBTQI+” organizations — and got nothing. No organization existed in 2013 that addressed those of us who live under the LGBTQI+ rainbow and the autism spectrum — the “double rainbow,” as I call it.
But my research discovered why: Gary Gates of the University of California, Los Angeles’s Williams Institute estimates that 3.5 percent of the population is LGBTQI+, and in 2013 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 1 in 50, or 2 percent, of the population is autistic. That means 3.5 percent of 2 percent of the entire world population is under the double rainbow. That represents over 5 million people, but spread over the entire globe — in every country, of every race and sex. Interestingly as well, Daniel Schumer of the University of Michigan recently found that nearly 25 percent of young people with gender dysphoria have an elevated rate of Asperger’s syndrome and display autistic traits overall. So here is a direct connection with autism and transgender tendencies.
Thankfully, we live in a much more open society. Autism is a civil rights issue, and there are no sidelines in civil rights. This led me to form Twainbow, a not-for-profit advocating for those under the double rainbow. For 2017 we are now beginning a census of our population, directly lobbying for change to autism terminology away from illness-related terms as well as overall recognition that autism is a permanent normality.
Autism is normal for us.
There is no need to change who we are.
I am a proud autistic gay man.
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