A teen writes
"I'm 17 and all my life I've been a big supporter of gay rights. My best friend in the world is a lesbian. I guess I've been thinking of her a lot and I've wondered if I liked her before. But she just seems so beautiful and perfect. She's not like what most people think of as hot. She's short and pale, but I love everything about her, inside and out.
I've been thinking that there's never been anyone I've ever loved more. I can honestly see myself with her for the rest of my life. I've never had a crush or relationship before and I have Asperger syndrome. So I'm not sure what I'm feeling. Women have always been beautiful to me but I've never looked at anyone sexually.
Am I a lesbian and if so am I in love with her? I'm just terrified because my family has told me that they don't believe in gay relationships."
This sounds pretty complicated. Not only do you have a lot of negative messages from your family (read about how to deal with homophobic parents here), but you also have a lot of questions about your own identity and feelings.
And though you might feel like you are the only one struggling with these issues, rest assured, you are not alone! A lot of teens, whether they have Aspergers or not, have similar family reactions and wonder about their sexual orientation. Indeed, as the Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder reminds us, plenty of people who are not on the spectrum have difficulties navigating friendship and romance. She says:
"Do most of us find it easy to develop solid friendships or create strong, loving partnerships for life? If neurotypicals found these things easy, there'd be no need for e-harmony or match.com. We'd never read columns on, "how to find friends," the divorce rate would be well under 50%, and no neurotypical person would ever sit at home alone unless she actively wanted to. As everyone knows, though, making friends and building solid romantic relationships is hard work - not just for people with autism, but for everyone."
Really, hundreds of teens have written into this site wondering, "Am I gay?" or "What does it mean if I am attracted to my best friend?"
Ultimately, those are questions that only an individual can answer! That is because some people know they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender from early childhood. For others, it takes a lot longer to figure this out. Plus, plenty of people question their sexual orientation on and off their entire lives.
That being said, a lot of people find it helpful to think about their sexual orientation seriously and to try to determine if they lesbian, gay or bisexual. If you have never had romantic feelings towards someone before, then you don't automatically have anything to compare your current feelings to. But remember, there is no one way to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Your may have feeling for many other people of the same or the opposite sex at different times in your life and you may not. That's okay. It is also okay to identify as a lesbian now, and identify differently down the road.
That being said, you should know that their are specific resources for GLBT people with Aspergers Syndrome. One is a Yahoo group that is designed "for people who have autism, aspergers or a related condition and are also gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or questioning."
Good luck and I hope this helps!