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?
|65 or older
|15 or younger
|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.