Each generation is exposed to more information and more openly “out” members of the LGBTQ+ Community, so for younger generations it may become easier to recognize and acknowledge one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity sooner than it was for Baby Boomers and Gen Xers because there are more role models to identify with now than there were in the past. Here is how the research breaks down now.
10% have always known
26% knew by age ten
60% knew before age thirteen
85% knew by the age of fifteen
There are some people, mostly women, who are so strongly socialized into believing they are straight/heterosexual that they do not realize their true sexual orientation until later in life. Also, women’s sexual fluidity is less rigid than men’s so men often know earlier in life but they still have to come to grips with the process of “coming out” to themselves. This takes time regardless of gender and is an on-going process.
(Hillier,L., Jones, T., Monagle, M., Overton, N., Gahan, L., Blackman, J., Mitchell, A. (2010), Writing Themselves In 3: The Third national report on the sexuality, health and well-being of same sex attracted young people. Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, Victoria.)