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FRANCIS'S STORY
I turned 21 this past August of 2003. I also have Asperger Syndrome, like Arthur here. It is a neurobiological disorder on the Autism spectrum. The most significant problem with it is that I am socially inept with peers. I always have been. Years ago, I was much more comfortable with adults. However, now that I am an adult myself, I don't feel comfortable at all.

Because of my Asperger Syndrome, I had a miserable childhood socially. I was constantly bullied and ostracized by my peers. When I was eight, my family and I moved to where we live now. I think that this was the major catalyst that caused my life to change for the worst.

I've always had an interest in children younger than myself. I first noticed it when I was a pre-teenager, perhaps 12. I've always had feelings of wanting a younger brother to love, nurture, and be close to. I have two sisters, 19 and 14, but I want a brother badly. This has only intensified as the years went by.

I've never had any sexual experiences at all, either. I've determined that I am gay, but I am not into the stereotypical anal sex. I want most of all to explore and experiment. I think the fact that I never did so when I was a child-to-preteen is what depresses me the most. Now that I am 21, I must follow the laws against such contact with minors. I accept that, because I am not a lawbreaker by nature. However, I am in a Catch-22 because my social ineptness, which is a result of my Asperger Syndrome, has severely impeded my attempts to find a lover my own age.

I wish to stress that I do not wish to break the laws by forming a romantic relationship with a child. I can't argue with laws. I do have fantasies about them, but I know better. I wish to remain a good person by being their friend. I do love them from the bottom of my heart, however, though people have told me that "love" is the wrong word to use. How can that be? I am saying what comes from my heart. When I see a beautiful young boy in sadness or distress, I would give anything to hug him to my chest and make him feel better. However, I live in the U.S.A., where any such contact can be seen as suspicious.

I attempted twice to volunteer for Big Brothers, but was rejected both times. Not knowing any better, also a result of Asperger Syndrome, I think I painted a bad picture of myself by saying I wanted to give the children affection. A psychologist told me that I could get arrested if I hugged or kissed a Little Brother. When I asked him what I should do if the boy wanted such, he kept assuring me that "they won't," which I don't believe at all, especially so after my current psychiatrist told me that the affection must be earned.

At the moment I am attempting to volunteer in the children's ward at my local hospital. My psychiatrist told me that if I said that I only wanted to volunteer in that ward, they might become suspicious. However, this is the truth: I only want to be with the kids. I don't like working with senior citizens. I've been to nursing homes and felt terribly uncomfortable.

I want to know what I can do to be around kids more, to help them, and to hopefully earn their trust and affection. This has taken over my life since February. My doctor keeps telling me that it is unrealistic for a 21-year-old to make friends with a child, but I don't believe him. This is a gift and a virtue that no one, not even the best of doctors, can take away from me.

- Francis, 21
Submitted 11 Oct 2003

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