Being gay, transgender, gender-expansive or gender non-conforming is not “just a phase”. Many people think this is a rebellious phase or a plea for attention in teens but it is about figuring out who they are as an individual. This should ALWAYS be respected.
A person’s sexual orientation is usually determined by age 9-11 years. This means that most kids as early as middle school already know their sexual orientation. Questioning youth may not have a label or name for how they feel but most likely know to whom they are attracted.
A person's gender identity is usually formed by age 3-5 years. Thus, most school-aged children know if they are a boy or a girl, or somewhere in between, by early elementary school. Young children may not have a label or a name to explain how they feel but most likely know what gender they are.
Disclosure or Coming Out Information
- An HRC publication, this guide provides important information for anyone considering coming out to their friends, family, co-workers and more. It covers everything from the emotions of coming out, to how to make a plan to come out, the risks/benefits of coming out and many more helpful information for any LGBTQ+ person considering coming out.
- By The Trevor Project, this guide provides great answers to FAQ's on coming out and links to many more resources on coming out. Whether its the first time someone in middle school is coming out or an already out person is heading off to a new college and wonders how to let people know they are LGBTQ+ this resource offers advice and support.
- Written by Ellen Friedrichs, this article discusses the positives and drawbacks about coming out in middle school. This well written article includes thoughtful pieces written by middle school children who know that they are gay and what it was like coming out in middle school and/or why they didn't feel comfortable coming out at that age.
- A publication of PFLAG, this booklet is for anyone looking to learn more about how to support their "out" LGBTQ loved ones. It contains a range of helpful resources and information, expert knowledge, and tells stories of personal experiences.