Bookmark and Share

Is it Possible to Know that You are Gay at Age 12?

Published: January 16, 2013
Dear Is it Possible to Know that You are Gay at Age 12?,

Is it possible to know that you are gay at age 12? I feel like I've known this for a while, and it's making me very stressed. I have not problem accepting myself, and I just want to know that what I'm feeling is real.


Dear Is it Possible to Know that You are Gay at Age 12?,

It is possible to know that you are gay by the age of 12. Realizing what your sexual orientation is, coming to a place of acceptance about your sexual orientation, and feeling ready to come out to others all takes times and it certainly doesn’t happen all at once. The timing is going to be different for everyone and will depend on things like age, emotional maturity, where you are at with puberty and developing sexual feelings for others, and whether or not you view your family members, friends and community as being supportive or not of people who are not straight.

Questioning what your sexual orientation is or coming to the realization that you are gay can be stressful for several reasons:

  • While there is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay, the fact is that not everyone in our culture is accepting of people who are gay or bisexual. So some teens may worry that being gay means they are not normal in some way.
  • Teens who do not know many (or any) gay people may feel very isolated and alone. 
  • Sadly, not all gay teens have families who will be supportive and loving towards them regardless of their sexual orientation. Teens can then feel worried and stressed that they must either hide their sexual orientation or deal with negative reactions from family – both of which can definitely be stressful.
  • Teens may not know how to handle their thoughts, feelings, know how to deal with people who are prejudiced or cruel towards gay people, or have a good understanding of how and when to come out to others. If they have nobody to guide or support them, that can certainly be a stress.
  • Adolescence is a time where many people want to fit in with their peers. Being gay may make some teens feel different or like outsiders from their peer group.
  • Some teens and young adults who are gay end up dealing with bullying or other forms of negative reactions from people who are prejudiced against gay people – dealing with this kind of treatment from others can be stressful, especially if the person is trying to cope with it alone without support from others or guidance on how to handle it in an effective way.

There is nothing wrong with being gay and there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of if you are gay. However, if you find yourself stressing out about being gay, having negative thoughts or feelings about yourself for being gay, or are dealing with family members or friends who having trouble accepting your sexual orientation, then FX strongly recommends you find someone you can talk to about how you are feeling. You could speak to your parents, a school counselor, a private therapist, or whoever comes to mind when you think of an adult you feel could trust to be helpful to you with this.

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.

For more information on sexual orientation, dealing with stress, and finding resources, check out the following links:  

Ratings