Guest Post– Too Early to Come Out?

Queerty takes a look at a really interesting topic this morning: if there should be an age requirement for “coming out” as gay or lesbian, and if so, what that age requirement should be.

Is 8 Years Old Too Young to Come Out?

With many kids coming out earlier and earlier, I think it’s a valid question and one that probably needs to be discussed, especially given the increase in tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality in general. The link goes into detail about the mother of an eight year old girl who informed her mother than she “just knew” she was a lesbian and that she had played around with another girl her age.

The mother was supportive, although remained skeptical:

My 8-year-old daughter told me that she “just knows” that she is gay. I find this hard to believe. She told me about an incident where she and a (girl) friend got undressed in front of each other and “rolled around naked” on her bed. I asked for more details, explaining that she might feel better to get it off her chest. She cried a lot and while she did not give more information, she insisted that she could just feel it that she’s a lesbian.

I assured that it would not matter to me at all, but she may be a little young to know conclusively. What do you think? Could she know?

This is a really interesting question because a practical response is kind of tough to have here: while we certainly would never question an 8 year old boy or girl having a school age crush on someone, it’s probably valid to say that at that age, your feelings are far from shaped in terms of your lifelong sexual preference, and it’s easy to see a child eventually finding out that they may have expressed themselves incorrectly. Given the rather weighty implications of coming out of the closet at any age, and the way that your sexuality ends up framing your life, it becomes rather difficult to clearly see how to deal with a child coming out at this age, especially if they decide to have a discussion about this with more than just their parents.

It seems to me that this wouldn’t be such a problem if there wasn’t the focus on sexuality that there is today; anything that a kid says when they are 8 years old shouldn’t have a bearing on them in the long term. Society’s emphasis on attractiveness and sexuality is extremely pervasive; so much so that even at such a young age that it is noticeable, both consciously and sub-consciously.

I think that given the situation, there is no “too early” to come out — I knew I was gay by the age of 8, but I didn’t actually know what “gay” meant — I just knew I liked boys. What do you think?

 Re-Posted with permission. Check out Zachary Cook’s blog “Words From Another World.”

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