Is Telling Folks You’re Autistic Just Like Coming Out?
My discovery three years ago that I had a neurodivergent brain rocked the foundations of my being. I had finally stumbled across the words to describe and give shape to something I always knew to be true on some level. It felt empowering and I picked it up and ran with it.
Discovering my sexuality as a teenager was quite a different experience. There was no mistaking my attraction to other girls but it was buried under shame and denial. While having the words would have helped me understand myself, it wouldn’t have bridged the massive gulf I felt between me and everyone else. So I kept it to myself. For a long time.
Jumping ahead a few decades, my sexuality is no longer hidden. It’s not that I’m particularly demonstrative about it, there’s just no longer anything driving me to hide it.
It is certainly true that coming out is a process rather than an event. As long as your life is moving in a forward direction, you find yourself having to decide what you tell new people about yourself. But after a while it loses the flavour of revelation. It’s old news. I don’t care and neither does anyone else. At least in the circles I mix in.
Depending on what part of the world you live in, disclosing your sexual orientation can be as non-eventful as mentioning your same-sex partner in workplace conversations about the weekend. It’s letting another parent know that your kid’s other mum will be picking them up from the play date.
They’ll probably file it away in their mental inventory of you along with the fact that you have a background in marketing and went to school with their cousin. The conversation moves on to the next mundane thing.
There was a time in my life when the decision to disclose my sexual orientation was a finely calibrated one. I would weigh the effort of explaining it against the tedium and frustration of an awkward pretendy conversation premised on my partner being a ‘he’.
But it became very boring and I didn’t have the patience to play that game anymore. I also became more confident in myself and less willing to appease other people or concerned about their opinion of me. I stopped…