Queer and Autistic: How it Feels

Think coming out as LGBTQ is hard?

James Finn
James Finn - The Blog

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Royalty-free autism clip art

I was six years old when the nun walked me across a sunny courtyard to meet a “nice lady.” The nun terrified me even though she was my first-grade teacher and even though she was always perfectly kind.

School terrified me. It was new and different and NOT my bedroom where I could curl up in a ball in the closet and stick my fingers in my ears. At home, when the world pulsed too loud and bright, I could always find a quiet place to slow my breathing and calm my stomach. At school, people yelled at me if I fled into the comfort of the dark cloak room.

Powerful adult arms would lift me up and deposit me back into a cacophony that made me throw up.

The “nice lady” let me color quietly in a little book. She asked me questions and let me play games that felt like the puzzles my mother gave me at home. She smiled funny every time I finished one.

When I embraced queer, I embraced the power of odd.

When the nun walked me back across the sunny courtyard, my parents were waiting to take me home. She gestured them into a corner and talked to them for a long time, arms waving, voices so loud I stuck my fingers in my ears.

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James Finn
James Finn - The Blog

James Finn is an LGBTQ columnist, a former Air Force intelligence analyst, an alumnus of Act Up NY, and an agented but unpublished novelist.