Coming out in seventh grade? I can scarcely imagine coming out in my early teens, but it seems that more and more young people in America are recognizing and vocalizing their sexual identity at an ever-earlier age. The NY Times Sunday Magazine did an in-depth story on this interesting phenomenon in late September.
The author of the article, who is also gay, had a hard time believing that people as young as 12 and 13 could possibly be self-aware enough to recognize their attraction to people of the same sex. But, as he pointed out, he was engaging in a double standard. When 12 and 13 year-olds express their interest in members of the opposite sex, we don’t think anything about this is odd. Why then would we think that someone that young couldn’t recognize their attraction to someone of the same sex?
Certainly, at that age I was starting to recognize those attractions in myself, even though I lacked the language to describe them. Young people these days have a much more positive image of gays and lesbians thanks to increased visibility in the media and the powerful influence of the internet and social networking sites.
If you asked me at what age I first knew I was gay, Continue reading