What is the Average Age to Come Out?

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A lot of people wonder about the average coming out age. These days it is lower than ever. But just because it is lower, this doesn't mean that coming out as a middle schooler or high schooler will be a good idea for everyone. In many places, the average age to come out will be much higher and coming out younger simply won't feel safe for many younger people.

What the Research Shows

There have been a few studies on the average coming out age.

A British study found that among people over 60, the average coming out age was 37.

For people in their 30s, the average coming out age was 21.

Millennials between 18 and 24 had an average coming out age of 17.

A different group of researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel also discovered that the average coming out age had dropped. According to the research that they published in the Journal Family Relations in 1991, the average coming out age was 25. But as of 2010, it was 16!

Some American reports have found that the average age to come out in the United States has also declined, moving from 18 to 14.

Our Readers Chime In

Dude says, "I, first came out to a close friend in sixth grade that I was bi, he's cool.Then I came out to TWO of my sixth-grade friends at THE SAME TIME. It turned out fine."

Paige says, "I knew I was gay when I was about nine but when I tried telling my friends I liked girls, they freaked out and I played it like a joke.

I told my mom during my freshman year of high school and I had a huge coming out phase where I felt I wanted everybody to know. Most people took it well but others didn't. Looking back at it now, I'm glad its over and done with because being out of the closet is a truly amazing feeling."

PCTeen says, "Probably the first person I came out to was my friend Amanda in 7th grade, though I knew I was gay since...

well, since my first crush."

Tyler says, "I had a kind of weird coming out experience. The summer after my freshman year I was starting to feel comfortable with being bisexual so I told my good friend. She seemed weirded out and I felt like a freak and I had a girlfriend at the time, so I just went into denial again and told everyone I was straight. Finally junior year I started to accept myself and I came out to a couple of close friends. They were accepting, so I told all of my really good friends, about ten people, including like four guys, and none of them cared. It didn't change anything and my guy friends and I joke about it, I came out to everyone after that."

But just because we have an idea of the average coming out age, that doesn't mean teens (or younger kids) should feel pressure to come out if they aren't ready. As one teen writes on the forum,

"You don't have to come out to everyone or worry about the average coming out age. Many people come out later in life too."

That's pretty good advice and it is worth keeping in mind if you think you should come out because "on average" people are coming out younger than whatever age you happen to be.

Remember coming out is a really personal thing and when it comes to personal decisions, averages really shouldn't play a role.