Hey Lindsay, what’s up! I’m glad that you have support from your partner.
You needn’t feel foolish for not figuring out your gender identity prior to this. Many people discover their gender identities way later in life than 18. I know a trans man who started transitioning when he was 63 years old!
Everyone moves at their own pace, and everyone has their own journey to travel. You are not alone, and you are very brave to have started questioning the foundations of your identity.
Not everybody knows that they are transgender when they are children. Many of us might have figured it out if we’d known about transgender people at that age, but it’s difficult to identify with a word you don’t even know! Besides, many of us don’t start identifying as transgender until the beginning of puberty, when gender dysphoria is triggered by secondary sex characteristics and physical changes.
There is a correlation between Autistic individuals and transgender people, one that is pretty unexplained from a scientific point of view. This study revealed that 0.7% of the general Australian population is Autistic, whereas 4.8% of studied transgender people were Autistic:
You can find more transgender-centric studies here:
And more helpful resources here:
In summary, it is not abnormal for trans people to be Autistic. It is also normal to figure things out around 18 years of age, or even later. You are not broken or bad. There are many AFAB non-binary people in this world, and (FYI) many butches who are gender non-conforming. Some butches even get top surgery, or bind their chests. There is a whole world of gender diversity out there, and you are welcome in this community. Take your time, be gentle with yourself, and you will figure things out as time goes on.