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, read more.
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?