Average coming out age: 13

The average age at which teens are now “coming out” and acknowledging their sexual orientations is now at age 13, according to an Advocate article posted at Gay.com:

In time for National Coming Out Day, a new four-year study of LGBT youths shows that the average age a teenager comes out is now 13, reports the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Sun-Sentinel newspaper.

The study, conducted by clinical social worker Caitlin Ryan of San Francisco State University, highlights how LGBT youths are feeling more comfortable coming out at earlier ages than their older peers did. With a variety of books, magazines, and Internet sites geared toward gay teens, along with television programs like “Degrassi: The Next Generation” that feature honest portrayals of queer youths, and gay-straight alliances in nearly 10 percent of high schools nationwide, there are more options than ever for young gay people to express themselves.

However, studies have also found that one out of every four teens who comes out faces family rejection. The Safe Schools Coalition Web site notes that research done for the FBI in 1998 found that these LGBT teenagers make up 30 percent to 40 percent of the nation’s homeless youths and that usually the gay youths’ coming-out conflicts with their families’ moral and religious beliefs.

Even LGBT youths who don’t face rejection at home usually face some at school. According to the National Mental Health Institute, the average secondary school student hears an anti-gay slur 26 times a day. And 31 percent of kids who are gay or are perceived as gay were physically harassed or assaulted last year at school. (The Advocate)

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2 Responses to “Average coming out age: 13”
  1. Joe Killian says:

    This seems about right to me.

    While my sister didn’t come out until this year (she’s 16) I know that age 13 was about the time I became very, very sure I was attracted to girls. If gay and lesbian kids are having the same experience with the same sex it’s a bit surprising to me that so many are coming out immediately, but not surprising that they feel the need.

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