Autistic, Bisexual, Non-binary: Why Neurotype & Queerness are Inseparable for Me
Two years ago, I had a mental health crisis. I had been depressed for a year, I had no idea why, and no matter what I did, it was only getting worse.
When I began to reckon with my deteriorating mental health, I realized that I needed to embrace my sexuality and gender. I could not see a world where I would be able to mentally heal while still harboring immense shame about my queerness.
I decided to go back to the beginning, and address the things I had been running from. This meant coming out to my parents at 28, and beginning to live openly as bisexual.
I stopped dating men and started exploring. My first serious relationship with another queer person opened the door to my gender identity. I had never been in a relationship where I wasn’t relegated to being some guy’s girlfriend, and forced to carry all the expectations that came with it.
Suddenly my sex life was not centered around male pleasure, and I was not expected to perform as submissive or receptive. Sex was no longer linear and goal-oriented, but more like a playground where I was allowed to explore power dynamics for the first time. I got to top and I realized that I liked it.
The men I dated had never let me be in charge — being “on top” is not the same as being The Top (although straight people like to equate the two). Being The Top means you are giving the pleasure, directing the activity, and making the decisions (based in consent and pre-determined boundaries, of course).
This development coincided with another new area of play: gender expression.
In my early teens, I had been obsessed with wearing boy’s tee-shirts and soccer jerseys from the thrift store. I combined these with flowing skirts that I liked for the sensory aspect — they were fun to twirl, allowed free range of motion, and the fabric didn’t cling to my skin (something that still causes me stress to this day).
As I grew older and tried to embody femininity, I moved away from this style. I didn’t feel like I was allowed to wear “boy clothes”. I copied my female friends to fit in, and wore tight tops, short skirts, and heels because my boyfriends liked them.