Coming out as autistic | Unapologetically Autistic

Coming out as autistic

Coming out as autistic is a purely personal decision all autistics have to make for themselves. No one has the right to tell you what you should or should not do.

Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with this so I've seen on occasion some particularly nasty and vituperative posts and comments directed at those who choose to keep their diagnoses under wraps.

Remember my golden rule?

Mind. Your. Own. Fucking. Business.

I think it's a mistake to hide your diagnosis, to be sure, and I'll come to that in a moment, but we're all entitled to make our own choices even if they're bad ones.

Why do I think it's a mistake.

Good question.

Coming out as autistic: the argument against it

The argument against coming out as autistic seems to be the perfectly reasonable one of not wanting to be labelled and pre-judged.

And I get that. 

You don't want people to stereotype you and form an opinion about you, your character, traits, and capabilities before they've had a chance to get to know you.

A sound argument and a sentiment I can applaud.

But.

There's a fatal flaw.

If you really think they won't know you're obviously different from the mainstream, you're kidding yourself.

Sure, they won't necessarily know you're autistic, but they'll know there's something very, very different about you and they'll then write their own narrative to convince themselves what it is.

And if you think they'll write that narrative for your benefit or to give you the benefit of the doubt, then think again.  Because what they'll do is write that narrative in a way to protect their own egos and confirm their own biases.

So, for example, if, like me, you present such that you tend to avoid and eschew pointless small-talk and the irritating habit of telling "white lies" to save others' feelings,  you may be labelled as "rude", "unfriendly", "unkind", and so on. If they don't know this is one way your autistic nature presents itself, they'll simply make something up to fill the gap.

Similarly, if you tend to take things literally (that's me), and struggle with bright, loud, and busy places (me again) you might be labelled as thick, deliberately obtuse, and a tad sensitive.

You can see what I mean, right?

Right.

You never grow out of being autistic, or find any kind of "cure".\

You don't even get a day off.

It's with you from cradle to grave, Bubba.

The point is, as an autistic your differences will become plain and obvious.

That's unarguable and unavoidable. 

It's when not if.

The only option to have is how these differences are presented: (somewhat) under your control?

Or left to others' imagination?

We can wish it were different, and even convince ourselves it should or ought to be.

But it's not.

And if you refuse to deal with the world as it is rather than how you think it is, want it to be, or think it ought to be, then you will suffer the consequences.

Autistically,

Jon McCulloch, The Evil Bald Genius

Author, speaker, business owner, and autism advocate

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Jon

I'm Jon. Husband, father, business owner, author, speaker, and outspoken advocate for autism awareness. I struggled my whole life knowing I was different, but not knowing how or why. I was finally diagnosed in 2019, but had informally self-identified as autistic for a couple of years before that. I live on a remote farm in Ireland with my wife and an assortment of cats and dogs.

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