Clarence Alexander Pryor is a lot of things. He’s an LGBTQ activist. He’s a Power Rangers fan. He’s a certified lifeguard. And, according to his Instagram page, he’s the world’s “next #1 autistic swimmer” who lives by the motto: “Never give up until the end!”
“I’m 32 years old and I have a disability like autism from this condition called Aspergers,” Pryor, who lives in Greensboro, NC, writes in a powerful fanpost published by Outsports. “Over the years, I didn’t know I have a disability like that. I’ve grown to adjust to it.”
Asperger syndrome is generally considered to be on the “high functioning” end of the autism spectrum. Those affected can have difficulty with social interactions and display a restricted range of interests or engage in repetitive behaviors, as well as have delayed motor development.
As a result of his disability, Pryor was often bullied both as a kid and as an adult. At the same time, he was coming to terms with his sexuality. He found swimming helped him manage his disability as well as build the confidence needed to come out to his family and friends.
“Four years ago in July I was scared and anxious at the time of coming out,” Pryor explains. “After that I told my mom and my friends, the New York City Lifeguards, that I’ve been coming out gay. After I told them, I felt relieved and I could breathe from the support I received.”
Pryor says he hopes by sharing his story, he can help other LGBTQ people with autism.
“I wanna finally become stronger for people who have autism like me and for the LGBT community too,” he writes. “I vow to be stronger for my late grandmother too. That’s all I can say.”
Watch Pryor talk about coming out in the video below.
photo credit: Facebook