A 14 year old boy has declared that he was gay. Asked why, he couldn’t really place a finger on a specific reason to believe he is gay. He’s not sexually active and has never had a girlfriend or boyfriend in a romantic sense of the word. He was asked why he felt he was gay and he admitted to having “a crush” on a few guys, but never spoke of or acted on it.
He was told that it was probably too soon to really be sure, but that if he was indeed gay, he may encounter some pushback in certain circles, but never within his family. His family loves him no matter what, he’d just have to be possibly a bit thicker skinned with those who may be less accepting.
He seemed suprised at how big of a deal it did not become, and seemed relieved.
Overall, it was a rather short conversation.
Question is, in your opinion or experience, when does one really “know” their orientation?
I’m not planning to participate much in this thread, I’m just interested in seeing what others’ opinions may be. Thanks.
I’ve known that I was straight since I was around 6 years old. That’s when I started thinking about boys (I’m female) in a romantic way. I know that i was having sex dreams about boys by the time I was 8 or 9.
From everything that I’ve read and heard about same-sex attraction, it also seems to become evident at around that age. In the past, of course, people who were attracted to the same sex often repressed it and pretended otherwise to fit societal expectations. But barring that type of pressure and confusion, I think most 14-year-olds have a clear idea of their orientation.
It sounds like this family handled the situation well.
Experience: I knew what I liked by the time I was six, or earlier.
Opinion: What I liked happened to line up with societal expectations of what I was supposed to like. If it didn’t, I might have taken longer to figure out where I fit in. This certainly seemed to be the case with guys I grew up with who later came out as gay.
I knew around 5th grade so I would have been 11 or thereabouts. But it’s not really relevant. We don’t expect people to somehow prove they’re straight, why can’t we take people at their word when they say they’re gay? And if later on he decides to have a relationship with a woman, it doesn’t mean that he was lying now. It just means that he’s not caught up in labels or gender binaries vis a vis relationships and more power to him.
From what I’ve read here and elsewhere, some people figure it out early in their elementary school days. Others take way, way longer. So it doesn’t seem unusual for someone to say he’s gay at 14, even if he’s not dating yet.
many (most) children have their closest friends be of the same gender. most of your social skills and affections happen in that context. your earliest sexual thoughts might also be focused on to those you have affections or most opportunity with.
so it may take time and situation to find if you are straight, bi or gay.
My daughter told me at about 11 years old that she was bisexual. She is now 13 and has come out to our entire family and her school that she is in fact a lesbian.
It’s tough for her sometimes. She’s a sweet, loving kid and just wants to be open and accepted. Of course that is not always the case in society and in her school, so she is having to learn some coping skills. She attends therapy and we’ve just found a really great support group for trans kids that she attends once a week. It’s be so good for her to have a peer group where she can talk and feel safe.
The saddest thing I’ve heard was when she recently said, “I just wish I could talk about my crushes to my friends the way they talk about boys. But when I do, they offer to set me up with a cute boy.” God willing, of course, that will be as bad as it gets.
I’ve got a thread or two about my brave girl, if you want to look them up.
Heh. Double all those numbers for me. Seriously. (OK, I probably admitted it to myself when I was 21 or so, but the other ones all work).
I knew when I was 7 but I didn’t want to admit it “out loud” to myself. It was still the 50’s, after all.
One point about the family: it’s great to say you still love him and all that, but don’t stop the conversation there, please stay open to talking about what he is going through emotionally if he even hints about bringing it up. When I came out to my parents (yes, in my 40’s after 2 years of therapy) they said “Oh, we’ve known that a long time, we still love you.” End of conversation. They clearly didn’t want to talk about anything in detail.
Do kids have it easier these days? I hope most of them do.
johnpost, no, really, I don’t think that is the way it works. I had no sexual feelings at all for my best friend, but I had major crushes on a couple of guys I never talked to, and as someone said upthread, I certainly knew what I was thinking about when I was masturbating.
I had my first same-sex fantasy at the age of 5. Of course I didn’t identify it as such until years later, but there’s no doubt that’s what it was. The interesting thing is that every single aspect of the fantasy – the person, the actions, the attitude, the feelings - was exactly in tune with my preferences as an adult.
From what I’ve heard, 5 is not an unusual age for a lot of gay kids.
Every gay person that I’ve ever asked has responded to me with some variant of “At some level, I think I always knew.” Not all of them were sure until they were in their teens, but I’ve never spoken to a gay person about this subject who didn’t have at least doubts about their sexuality when they were kids.
I’m straight and never questioned it - at age ten I had a completely non-sexual but very close/romantic (as much as a 10-year old can be close and romantic) friendship with a boy my own age. At age six or seven, I played “doctors and nurses” with little boys, and never even considered doing so with little girls.
Because it was never a “choice.” I’ve always figured that was a specious and ignorant argument. Seriously, who chooses? Especially as a kid or adolescent, at an age when one mostly wants to fit in and be like their peers?
Gay people I know have told me the variant of “they always knew” at some level. My father was gay but never really admitted it, even to himself, until his late 20s, married with three children. Catholic family and being gay simply wasn’t on most peoples’ radar in the mid 1960s.
(I am a guy). Before that day, girls were just girls. Either icky with cooties, or just kids. But when I went to the lunchroom, and saw Sue K. across the room, I knew I liked girls in that way. It was like a light switch, one that hasn’t turned off yet.