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Coming Out Age – Some Thoughts About Results Of Our Poll

Results as of November 23,2010

You can find the poll on this page.

It’s not surprising that the median age of coming out is approximately 24-25.  That is the time at which most people are removed from the peer pressure that haunts high schools or military service, and, to a lesser extent colleges  For most it is behind by this age.  Careers and self-confidence have both become more secure.  It is around this age when it may feel safest to establish a unique identity and at which one’s peers begin to lose their immature prejudices. 

It is also the age at which most of your same age friends begin to pair off with members of the opposite sex.  They may be wondering why you aren’t doing the same, so they may begin to suspect your orientation and let you know that they don’t care.

 

(Only for “Out” Gay, Bisexual or Queer men) How old were you when you started coming out?
    Votes Ratio
65 or older 1 1%
50-64 16 12%
35-49 28 22%
25-34 21 16%
18-24 37 28%
15-17 13 10%
15 or younger 14 11%
130 votes total
 
You will notice that the biggest spikes actually come before and after the age that appears to be the median age for coming out.
 
Many men choose to come out as gay during college when, at last, peers seem more accepting of differences (one of the great benefits of college).  Furthermore most colleges offer true support for gay men and women, which most high schools, tightly controlled by their local school boards, do not.
 
The spike at the other side of the median occurs for two different reasons.  Part of it is attributable to failed marriages–marriages that probably shouldn’t have happened in the first place.  Much of the other part is attributable to men who fought hard against their natural sexuality until they finally realized that after 35 or so years it wasn’t likely to change.  In both of those situations, men were slow to realize their true identity given society’s strong opposition to it.
 
Of course, most of us who self-identify as gay, lesbian, queer, trans or whatever realize that actual coming out to others occurs later than identifying ourselves as homosexual or bisexual internally.  That accounts for much of the lag time in self reports of coming out.
 
Many gay people choose to continue in their heterosexual marriage even after they have confidently concluded their true orientation–sometimes with their partner’s knowledge, sometimes without it.  Even with his or her knowledge, the spouse often argues against letting anyone else know about the gay partner’s true sexual orientation for fear of embarrassment–or a false “protection of the children.”
 
Most encouraging to me for the future is the percentage of young people who come out prior to age 17.  That 20%+ total shows to me that our young followers are gaining confidence (and, I hope, institutional support) at a young age, when they are most susceptible to negative influences of pressure from peers, unaccepting families and harmful religions.  We all need to work to make them feel comfortable, safe and (most importantly) unexploited in our community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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