Meet Joshua C.
Joshua C., 23
I just want to support all people in this world, autism or not, to be who they choose to be. I include myself in that too. All of us are who we were born to be and it’s okay to embrace it.
For Joshua C., Pride Month is a celebration of truth. It means being happy in his/her own skin and being proud of who they are, even if it requires standing up in the face of adversity and enduring funny looks and uncomfortable conversations. Although he/she has empathetic people in his life who accept them for who they are, there have been plenty of others who haven’t been as understanding.
“Communication has always been my biggest challenge. It’s led to struggles with making friends, loss of relationships, and loneliness. As a transgender person with an appreciation for fashion (specifically dresses and skirts), the theater, and dancing, I just try to be true to myself regardless of what people think.”
Even before he was diagnosed with autism at the age of 7, Joshua says he/she knew they were different. But it wasn’t until he/she decided to open up about their autism, and later embrace their identity as a transgender person, that he/she finally felt like he was living the life they were always meant to live.
Today, at age 23, Joshua still faces challenges, particularly in social settings. But he/she continues to work on themselves and advocate for others in the autism and LGBTQ+ communities. He/she spends most of his days gaming, watching Disney movies, visiting tourist spots in New Mexico, and window shopping for clothes at thrift shops, but hopes to find meaningful employment with supportive co-workers. In the meantime, they’ll continue to stay true to himself as he looks for the next opportunity.
“I just want to support all people in this world, autism or not, to be who they choose to be. I include myself in that too. All of us are who we were born to be and it’s okay to embrace it.”
Learn more about Joshua in this Q&A:
What advice would you give to someone struggling with their sexual or gender identity and the decision to come out to friends and family?
If you’re struggling with trying to decide whether to come out, my advice would be to go for it when you are fully ready. If you get negative responses or feel disrespected in any way, it’s okay to walk away from the situation.
What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud that I can express myself and feel free to do so.
Why is being an advocate in both the autism community and LGBTQ+ community so important to you?
Being an advocate is so important to me is because I know how it feels to need someone who understands you. I want to be able to talk to others who may be having trouble in these areas because I know what it’s like. I may be considered a very calm and peaceful person but I’m not afraid to stand up for what’s right.
How has Autism Speaks impacted your life as someone on the spectrum?
Autism Speaks has given me, and many others, an opportunity to express our true feelings by sharing our stories. Whether you have autism or identify as transgender, we can be ourselves. Do what makes you happy because there are so many others out there who will celebrate with you.