• Key Findings: 'Coming Out'

    LGBT young people are coming out younger and in greater numbers. Here is some information from 'Supporting LGBT Lives' which we co-commissioned in 2009


    • 12 Years: the most common age that a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) person discovers their sexual orientation or gender identity for themselves (the average age is 14).
    • 16 Years: the average age of first self-harming among the most vulnerable LGBT young people.
    • 17 Years: the most common age to start 'coming out'* to others (the average age is 21).
    • 17.5 Years: the average age of the first suicide attempt amongst the most vulnerable LGBT young people.
    • 5 to 7 Years: number of years LGBT young people conceal their identity from others.
    • This 5 to 7 year period coincides with puberty, school and a critical period of social, emotional and vocational development. 
    • The period prior to coming out to others was particularly stressful because of fear of rejection and isolation.
    • There are three common LGBT-specific stresses: fear of rejection when considering coming out; negative school experiences; and experiences of harassment and victimisation.

    "Coming out is probably one of the most extreme and difficult things you can do. Before you come out you have to deal with it all yourself and it took me six years to. And I couldn't be myself for those six years and it is, again, it's called in the closet because you are in the closet. No one can see you; they see this door because no one's ever opened up the closet to look inside" (Gay, Male, 17)

    * Coming Out is the term used to describe the process of realising one's LGBT identity and the decision to disclose this to others such as family, friends and colleagues.

    Source: Supporting LGBT Lives: A Study of Mental Health and Well-being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People (Mayock et al, 2009)