When people think of someone coming out, they often think of a troubled teenager who has been tormented by their sexuality for years only to then come to terms with it at the ripe ol’ age of 16 to 18. Think Kurt from Glee, Archie from My Mad Fat Diary, and Marco from Degrassi.
Hey, there’s a reason we think this way. It’s a super common trope!
I’m not saying this doesn’t ever happen. It totally does! And, admittedly, it happens quite a bit. Probably because during your teen years, you are totally on that self-discovery grind. But, this trope has made it so we expect people to come out at a certain age — their later teens.
But, what happens when a super young person comes out? I mean, come on! Can a person who is younger than 16 really know their sexuality?
One reader wrote in with this very same question.
“I’m 14 and I identify as a lesbian. Most people say, ‘Oh, you’re too young to be a lesbian,’ especially on Yahoo Answers. I feel so lost. Am I really too young to be attracted to girls?”
Number one rule: Never listen to Yahoo Answers. Ever.
But, really, let’s look into this by starting off with a personal story of mine. The first crush I can remember having was in second grade. What was my crushes name, you ask? Chelsea.
Yep, Chelsea was a girl, and I liked her when I was seven. And it was just as valid of a crush as the crush I had on Cody a few years later and Zach a few years after that and any other boy (or girl, for that matter) that I liked in the following years of elementary school and middle school.
So, I personally KNOW that you can be a lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, or queer at any age because I have been out to myself since I was seven! Sure, it took me until about 17 to come out to anyone else — so maybe I am a bit of a stereotype. But I have been pretty darn accepting of my own sexuality since elementary school.
Here’s another way to think about it: A four-year-old girl who chases a boy on the playground and tells her parents that she likes him would NEVER be told, “Oh, you’re too young to be straight!” In fact, it would probably be this really cute story that both their parents would gush over at dinner parties.
So why should us queer ladies have to wait until our late teens (or later!) to be super secure and confident with our sexuality? That’s right. We shouldn’t have to wait!
People who tell you that you are too young to be queer are just not accepting of your sexuality. Period. Saying you are too young to be gay is another way for them to say, “Well, just wait a few years. I’m hoping you’ll change your mind.” And that’s a pretty sucky thing to be inferring!
If you are 14 and know that you are a girl who likes girls, you have the right to claim that identity. And own it!
Let me repeat: You are never too young to identify as part of the LGBTQ community. This isn’t an 18+ nightclub, girls!
And, even if people say you are too young, that doesn’t take away the fact that you can be super accepting of your own identity at any age! Just like I’ve been a totally secure queer girl since age seven. So, take it from me, you’re never too young to love and accept yourself.
Wishing you nothing but the best,
Got an LGBTQ question you want Katie to answer? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with your queer conundrums so she can work her advice-giving magic!