How do you know if you are gay? Can you be a lesbian at 12? Is a coming-out at 40 still possible? Among the many questions surrounding coming out, age often holds a central place. Is it too early? Too late ? Am I too young to know if I'm gay? Am i too old And this is where we forget that taking responsibility is a path [link to the page How to assume one's homosexuality on the words “assuming one's self is a path”] which is done from within and which must be done. relieve pressures like this. The age for coming out is when you dare to safely assume your sexual orientation. It depends on you, your life, your choices.
Coming out at 12, 14 or 16
By delving into our childhood memories, sometimes even from elementary or nursery school, our first love at first sight comes back to us. A love letter for another little girl, an unexplained attraction for this other little boy ... the word "homosexual" is not necessarily said, it may not yet exist in children's minds. . Yet its reality is there.
There is no age to love
Children of all ages have feelings, and that's okay with heterosexuals. It is not uncommon to hear "Oh! Do you have a boyfriend at school? Or "He likes to tease this girl, I think he likes her." If little ones are able to feel love for other children of the opposite sex, why would they be too young to feel love for a person of the same sex?
In fact, Australian model and actress Ruby Rose came out at age 12 to a friend and then to her mother. She already knew clearly what attracted her and what not.
Far from initially asking all these questions about heterosexuality, the child is content to love. But when the time comes for analysis, for comparison with others, for fear of being rejected by doing differently from the majority, the following points can lead to repressed homosexuality, or even internalized homophobia:
- While it has never been mentioned in all of a child's education the possibility that a boy will fall in love with a boy or that two girls will love each other;
- An openly homophobic and lesbophobic family environment;
- The harassment seen or experienced of behavior considered homosexual.
Accepting to feel feelings does not mean being ready to say “I'm bi” or “I'm gay”. Take the time you need to already accept yourself and be the best you can be with yourself.
The need to talk about homosexuality in college
Schools, whether middle or high school, are places full of stereotypical behaviors where it can be difficult to accept yourself. Almost caricatured visions of men and women circulate there and it is difficult to detach oneself from them, on pain of being excluded. Live better with changes in your body, discover and assume who you are, forge your own personality ... So many challenges that adolescents must face.
Talking about it is sometimes an opportunity to feel stronger, freed from the fear of being discovered, to release that pressure point that is linked to it.
There are homosexual associations, such as Contact in France, which works in schools. Their role is not only to inform, to disseminate knowledge to combat homophobic prejudices, but also to be a real support for young homosexuals whether they dare to take responsibility or not.
This is also the ambition of HappyGayTV: to provide a space for discussion, support and information to all those who question their sexual identity. Together, through a positive outlook, we talk about LGBTQI topics in all sincerity, without judgment.
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Coming out as an adult
Whether you identify as gay, bisexual, trans, or non-binary, leaving childhood can be the trigger for that urge to assert yourself.
Amélie Mauresmo was one of the first lesbians to come out in French sports. Made at 19, celebrating the Australian Open final, then posing with her partner in a Paris Match cover. For her, everything was already clear in her head, her homosexuality was assumed in the private circle, but not displayed. As if the person could be radically different in their private and public space. A split of personality that ended when she ran to kiss the one she loves to spontaneously share this moment of sporting joy.
More recently (yes, Amélie Mauresmo does not necessarily speak to all generations), Amanda Stenberg, actress, who starred in the Hunger Games film series, came out at the age of 18. Openly lesbian, in this interview in English, she talks about the first time she felt an attraction to women at the age of 10.
Let's face it, financial independence and leaving a family space that is sometimes hostile to homosexual love are enough reasons to finally dare to align who we are on the inside and what others see about us. And then there's also a greater chance of being taken seriously from a certain age, as if sexual orientation is a fad, a fun time to try out as a teenager.
Let’s not forget that coming out can also mean positioning oneself on an LBTGQI spectrum and evolving over the course of one's life within. And it's all up to you and how you define yourself.
You can even start expressing yourself as a gay man, lesbian, bisexual, transgender woman ... in places of trust, within a benevolent homosexual community where tolerance reigns, such as on our Hotline [link to Hotline]
Coming out at age 40, or later
A tidy family life, a couple, children and a real estate purchase, or maybe just the long bond of a romantic relationship that has lasted forever. And one morning, it is no longer possible to continue. It becomes essential, vital to assume one's homosexuality. Is it too late? Has the moment finally passed?
Living a lie for so many years is bound to do damage to those around you, but above all it has already done you a lot of harm. Restoring the reality of your feelings, of who you are, is as important as the well-being of others. You have the right, whatever your situation and your age, to live openly your homosexuality.
To help you get out of the closet as calmly as possible, here are some tips:
- Connect with LGBT communities;
- Read, listen, discover testimonials from fathers and mothers who have had a late coming-out;
- Take stock of your situation: financial dependence on your spouse, risks of violence, possibilities for dialogue, etc.
- Choose whether or not to reveal your homosexuality to your spouse;
- Select what information you give to your children, when and under what conditions.
The important thing is that you can have control over the information you give out to do things at your own pace.
Is it too late? Go tell that to Kenneth Felts, who came out of the closet at 90. He evokes the buried memories that resurface, his first love Philip and his fear of losing people. He has always led a tidy heterosexual life out of fear of fighting, especially in the 1950s when finding LGBT supporters was nearly impossible.
Accepting homosexuality, starting with oneself, does not depend on the number of years on the clock. Detaching from what the heterosexual norm makes acceptable is essential, even though different ages of life and lived experiences present their set of constraints. LGBT people have the same rights to express their sexual attraction, diverse orientations and gender identity as heterosexuals throughout their lives.