As my readers know, I vehemently disagree with a GP who believes that men and women can never be “just friends” and that people should share everything with their own sex, and the same if in a same-sex relationship. (I said sex deliberately, because sex is biological, gender is a social construct).
Being autistic, this can present a quandary and here’s why. Autistic people can be cisgender, transgender, non-binary, agender or any other possibility. Similarly, autistic people can be heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, demi or pan sexual or asexual. Some autistic women have what is typically male brain and tend to have more male friends than female friends. Some autistic men, while we can’t multitask, may have a male brain but don’t have typical male interests.
I don’t like football (any code), I don’t like cricket, I don’t like heavy metal, I like Toyotas and Fords and in my native Australia, Holden was seen as the national car and amongst alpha males, Ford was seen as somewhat feminine. Okay, to compare the Commodore and the Falcon (I remember a teacher at my old high school had a Holden Commodore after he’d had a Ford Falcon. He said that he thought the Commodore was a better car than the Falcon, and he’s allowed that opinion, but there was only one problem with it. He had an XA Falcon (1972) and then a VL Commodore (1986–1988). He bought his Commodore brand new and his Falcon was 10 or 11 years old when he bought it. So, if he’d bought a new XA Falcon in 1972, having test driven an HQ Kingswood and said, “Thanks, I like the Ford better.” fair enough. And then, wanted to trade his Falcon in and test driven a VL Commodore and then an XF Falcon and said, “Thanks, I like the Commodore better,” again, fair enough.) the Commodore has a firmer ride and the Falcon softer. I knew one guy who drove Commodores and Falcons and he said he liked the Falcon for the comfort and the Commodore for the car. One of the other reasons I preferred the Falcon was the bland styling. Okay, I remember once, I met a woman wearing a singlet with Holden on it and she was driving a Falcon. I said, “You like both, do you?” And she replied, “It’s my husband’s car. I’ve got a Holden.” I have known of a few couples where one partner likes Holden and the other Ford and one partner has a Holden and the other a Ford, and in a move that might surprise those alpha males, in some cases, in some heterosexual couples, the wife prefers Holden and the husband Ford.
Some of us find it difficult to talk to neurotypical people of the same sex as ourselves and are frequently vilified over it. I was by a pastor.
What makes it harder, too, is if you enter a relationship, you can have a partner who doesn’t understand. You can have a partner who gets jealous if your female friends use hearts and kisses on cards or in messages. What a partner needs to understand is, some women are like that with friends of either sex even if they are in a relationship with someone else.
That does not vindicate this Brisbane doctor, what it does is show that jealousy is a curse and can needlessly ruin relationships. Many of us know that a person can send hearts and kisses and know not to get jealous.
I was watching a programme, recently, about open relationships and while I don’t condemn polyamory, an ex-girlfriend wanted an open relationship to which I said no. There is, however, a world of difference between a female friend calling a male friend “Love,” or, “Sweets,” or something like that when just being friendly, and having a partner who has other partners besides you. I would want to have other female friends, if I had a girlfriend, but, again, there’s a world of difference between being friends with the opposite sex and having multiple partners.
What is needed is not to go back to the unreconstructed nonsense of the Brisbane doctor, but for jealousy not to rear its ugly head as far as relationships go, and for a neurotypical woman who dates an autistic man to understand that he may have more female friends than male friends, and for a neurotypical man who dates an autistic woman to understand that she may have more male friends than female friends. The unreconstructed nonsense will isolate people and it merely validates jealous people.