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More Kids Are Coming Out in Middle School

The middle-school version of ourselves probably had a blurry idea of the adults we would become, but some kids are proving that we knew a lot more about our identities than we thought. With no doubt about who they are attracted to, more and more kids are coming out as gay or bisexual before they make it to high school.

An article in this weekend's New York Times Magazine examines the trend and reveals that many of these kid are coming out before they've ever dated or kissed anyone of either sex. They just know they don't want to date the opposite sex.

The piece profiles Austin, a gay 13-year-old from Oklahoma. To hear what Austin thinks about tweens and teens coming out and the reactions they get,


Austin's experience went something like this:

Austin doesn’t have to play "the pretend game," as he calls it, anymore. At his middle school, he has come out to his close friends, who have been supportive. A few of his female friends responded that they were bisexual. "Half the girls I know are bisexual,” he said. He hadn’t planned on coming out to his mom yet, but she found out a week before the dance. “I told my cousin, my cousin told this other girl, she told her mother, her mother told my mom and then my mom told me," Austin explained. "The only person who really has a problem with it is my older sister, who keeps saying: 'It’s just a phase! It’s just a phase!'"

"It's just a phase" is probably a common reaction to the idea of middle schoolers coming out. But since we would never question a heterosexual adolescent who announces that he or she likes the opposite sex, should we question those who say they're attracted to the same sex? What do you make of all this?

Image Source: Getty
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sham28 sham28 7 years
I think a lot of girls are just kissing girls for attention these days so it's hard to tell anymore.
staple-salad staple-salad 7 years
I think some people can come out legitimately in middle school, or really young, but the VAST majority of the kids that "come out" as tweens or kids in their early teens are just doing it because it's "cool" and "rebellious" to do it. I know there is a lot of girls who pretend to be bisexual or lesbian in high school just to get more guys to want them/sleep with them.
cirrus1701 cirrus1701 7 years
The last couple of comments made me think about Anne Heche. Never liked her much after she screwed Ellen over. I really like Ellen and felt bad that she got mixed up with that jerk.
Spacekatdude Spacekatdude 7 years
Maybe for some it is "just a phase," and what's wrong with that? A lot of my gay and lesbian friends knew when they were in middle school. I think it's cool that it's now socially acceptable to come out that early instead of spending years in agony in the closet. (For the record, I'm straight as an arrow and always knew that. My best buddy in high school was gay, but closeted - and I think it caused a lot of social awkwardness and shyness and misery for him.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 7 years
I discovered my sexuality at 13. I didn't have to kiss a girl, I fell in love with one. I still find girls attractive and feel the same way about them as I do men. I reckon that if a middle schooler comes out then thats their choice. if they're doing it just cause everyone else is then they'll "turn straight" as soon as it's no longer cool.
juicebox07 juicebox07 7 years
When I was in middle school, I used to classify myself as bi-sexual. When I got a little older, I realized I was actually straight. Just because I would kiss girls and I find them attractive doesn't make me bi. I think the middle school years are a confusing time for everybody. Sure, some of them may actually be bi or gay, but they could just be confused like I was.
cirrus1701 cirrus1701 7 years
I just want to know why kid can't be kids anymore? I realize that kids this age are on the cusp of adolescence, and the hormones (in some cases) are raging. Couple that with an immature brain (biologically speaking) and that's a recipe for trouble and heartbreak, regardless of who you prefer. I know that most, if not all of us did the whole "boyfriend/girlfriend" thing in middle school. We skated together, maybe held hands briefly or did a peck on the cheek. Nothing too serious. Again, regardless of who you prefer, the stakes seem so much higher now. No, I'm not advocating shuffling our girls off to a nunnery or keeping them sequestered in the mountains. They just grow up so quick. Why are we hastening the process??? That article just made me sad.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
There are also more TV shows today showing youth apparently Gay but don't say they are. Like the nephew on Ugly Betty. There is also the young man on Glee who just came out last week if I'm not mistaken. Youth see this and they have a relaxed attitude about it as they should IMO and yes sometimes they like to emulate the latest fad.
kels19 kels19 7 years
at my high school there were kids as young as 14 and openly gay or lesbian, and in relationships. i think it's great that society now a days is becoming more accepting so that people can be who they really are for longer in their life.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
I think some of this is a matter of what is (Trendy) but at the same time yes there are youth who know clearly at that age they are not in the least way attracted to the opposite sex. I knew definitively that I had a very strong attraction to the same sex by the age of 10 and that my attraction to the opposite sex strictly platonic. When I was five I had no idea what to call it or how to label it or what sex was but I distinctly remember sitting on the beach with my big sister who was a teen at the time. Here comes walking down the beach a young man oh I'd say early twenties. Handsome as hell and a body to die for in a black speedo just strolling down the beach. There my sister and I were just folling this young man down the beach with our eyes, heads turning as he passed by both probably just as mesmorized by his beauty as the other. Now I'm 39 and he's probably running round with his grandkids, lol.
eastcoastgirl eastcoastgirl 7 years
I am glad he can be free to be himself. We need to love and accept each other.Noone should ever have to feel sad about who they are.
elizabethsosewn elizabethsosewn 7 years
mamasita i have to disagree. I was a late bloomer, so everyone started earlier (body development didn't really kick in till 8th grade, and I didn't like guys till like 6th grade), but i grew quickly (like i have all of my life) and never once felt attracted to any female that crossed my path. I could assess another female's aesthetics, but never once felt attracted to them. Yeah, I find it hard to take girls who say they are bisexual seriously. They done studies that women's chemistry is more towards bisexuality than males, but in high school it seemed like every time i turned around, some girl was proclaiming her bisexuality. I think it's just a confused attempt at either attention, or trying to understand their attraction to women. I find women who are beyond the "trendy" years, if you will, are more attracted to women than men when they claim bisexuality. Maybe this is just because my experience is limited, and therefore I am over-generalizing.
MissSushi MissSushi 7 years
I do agree with the bisexual comment.. most teenage girls are caught between hormones and wanting to appear as appealing to guys as possible. That being said, I have had SO many gay and lesbian friends when i lived in florida, and every single one of them knew long before puberty. One of my closest friends was asked at work one time and he said he knew in elementery. Girls were icky.. but boys weren't. I will be happy when no one feels afraid or strange for who they are attracted to and love.
Pistil Pistil 7 years
I had crushes on boys pre-kindergarten, so I imagine it's possible to know you're gay at quite a young age. Who's to say there's a specific age when you should/shouldn't know? The whole "half the girls are bisexual" thing is a little eh, you know. Typical.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
teenage girls are hormonal and are learning about their bodies and watching their friends' bodies change, of COURSE they will feel attracted to some
Briandiesel Briandiesel 7 years
I knew I was gay at 4. I could not imagine coming out that young though. It's an incredible thing for people of that age to feel the confidence to do that. I wish I could have felt like that even in High school.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 7 years
"Half the girls I know are bisexual" of course they are, its trendy
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