Parallels: My autistic identity and my asexual identity

I only recently publicly admitted to being asexual. It was a great weight off of my shoulders, although I don’t believe that it was too surprising to anyone who knows me well. Much like my being autistic, it was just part and parcel of who people already knew me to be.

There is a distinct difference, however, between my autistic identity and my asexual identity.

My autistic identity is diagnosed. It is confirmed by rigorous testing and interviews with people who are considered experts. Then, on the other hand, we have my asexuality.

There is no test for asexuality. Being asexual (or any sexuality for that matter) comes down to finding the identity that fits best for you. No doctor or self-purported expert can confirm your sexuality. It’s something that you have to come to terms with yourself.

This means that I have spent a great deal of time battling with a part of me that tried to deny it. In fact, part of the reason it has taken me 30 years to come out is because I spent years doubting myself, trying to talk myself out of it.

This has opened my eyes to the reality of self-diagnosis for autistic individuals. How many Autistics live in a duality of happiness for finding their identity, and crippling doubt because they have been denied the privilege of diagnosis?

I often dream of a world where everyone has fair and equitable access to diagnosis. Then I dream of a world where people don’t need diagnosis, a world where neurodiversity is celebrated for what it is, and not treated as a medical issue. I also dream of a world where services are not gatekept by those requiring a diagnosis.

No one deserves to live in doubt. Be they autistic, asexual, or both, they deserve to live comfortably with their identities. A life of self-acceptance and love for who they are.

I am proud to be autistic and on the ace spectrum. I won’t let self-doubt keep me from speaking my truth.

We all deserve happiness and fulfilment.

Published by David Gray-Hammond

David Gray-Hammond is an autistic mental health and addiction advocate living in the South East of England. He is in recovery from addiction and psychosis, as well as other complex mental health conditions. He was diagnosed as autistic seven months after achieving sobriety, and is resolved to share his experiences with the world in the hopes of being the person that he needed when he was younger.

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