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How young can you know that you're gay?

(26 Posts)
brummiemummie Sat 17-Oct-09 17:09:03

DD4 (10) just told me that she is a lesbian.

She is well into puberty physically speaking (started her periods a year ago, shaves her legs, has to wear a bra...). But can she really be that emotionally developed that she knows she isn't straight? I don't know what I should say to her - I don't want to be dismissive, and I think it's important she knows I will love and support her no matter what, but I don't want her to feel like she can't change her mind, iykwim.

DD1's friend knew he was gay from the age of 12, so I know it's not out of the question that she knows already, but you grow up very quickly between 10 and 12. She is still at primary school ffs, this was the last thing I was expecting sad.

BM x

ReneRusso Sat 17-Oct-09 17:18:22

It's good that she felt able to tell you. I think it is possible to know at that age. Perhaps you could tell her that she is too young to have a relationship anyway, so she has until she's 16 (for example) to think about it. And add that you would support her no matter what. I guess you didn't have an inkling before she told you? Were there no other clues?

brummiemummie Sat 17-Oct-09 17:41:17

Rene, thanks for replying. There were no other clues as far as I can think - in fact, she had a "boyfriend" for a few weeks in the summer. It took me completely by surprise.

She knows I think she is too young to have a boyfriend, but I will reiterate that she is too young for relationships in general, not just with boys. I told her she does not have to make up her mind now, and the way we treat her won't change whatever she decides, but she seems quite adamant that she is gay.

lljkk Sat 17-Oct-09 17:59:24

Sounds like good advice to give her, Brummie.
There's such a social stigma around being gay, that I'd think a 10yo probably has to feel very deeply about it to be able to tell you.

LeninGhoul Sat 17-Oct-09 18:28:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HalleBelly Sat 17-Oct-09 18:36:35

At 10 I knew I fancied women, I had a huge crush on a girl (who looked like a boy!) in the last year of primary so I must have been 9 or 10.

I never faniced boys, or 'got' boys upuntil about 14 when I started to fancy my now husband, up until then I was sure I would be with a woman.

My dad asked my if I was a 'dyke' at 13 hmm So I think it was fairly obvious.

I don't think she can define herself at 10 TBH,

Not sure what to suggest, did you ask her what she meant by it? Are you sure she knows what the word is exactly?

HalleBelly Sat 17-Oct-09 18:38:38

Sorry this is disenchanted3 btw! am just under a name as posting about something i dont want under my name!

mumeeee Sat 17-Oct-09 22:05:41

I think 10 is to young to know. She was probably just using the word to see what you wouldsay.

FABIsInTraining Sat 17-Oct-09 22:08:00

I don't think you should be talking in terms of her making her mind up/changing her mind. being gay isn't a choice thing.

pippel Sun 18-Oct-09 08:52:02

my friend when I was little said he was going to marry a man from the age of about 5, he had (a lot of grin) girlfriends in his early teens, I think because his mother was not at the time supportive, he is now married ( Im aware of the married/civil partnership debate but he chooses to use husband and married) to a lovely man.

my sisters friend was the same appart from the girlfriends bit. His parents chose to belive my sister was his girlfriend encouraging them to sleep in the same bed from about 14 hmm untill he was 16 and sat them down and told them.

mumeeee if she was saying that she was straight would you be saying she was too young to know?

It sounds like you are doing a great job, it would be awful if she felt like that and felt she couldnt turn to you and trust you to understand and support her.

brummiemummie Sun 18-Oct-09 11:38:06

She seemed genuinely serious about it and was on the verge of tears when she told me. She definitely knows what the word means, and I'm sure she wasn't just saying it to get a reaction because she knows that I wouldn't react badly to something like that.

FAB - sorry, I probably didn't phrase it very well when I said about her "changing her mind". I just meant that her feelings might change and she might in a few years not feel attracted to girls any more, so she shouldn't feel she has to define herself one way or the other yet.

Thanks for all your replies.

LeninGhoul Sun 18-Oct-09 13:03:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FlamingoBingo Sun 18-Oct-09 13:09:01

I think you should just say 'ok. Glad you felt able to tell me' and smile and tell her you love her. The more approachable you make yourself regardless of what she tells you, the easier she'll find it to trust you if she needs your help ever.

FlamingoBingo Sun 18-Oct-09 13:10:12

Sorry, just re-read that - I think what I meant was to try not to confirm to her that it is a big deal for you.

'ok, glad you felt able to tell me that - it clearly is a very big deal for you but you know it isn't for me. I love you'.

LeninGhoul Sun 18-Oct-09 16:13:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mumeeee Sun 18-Oct-09 23:32:47

I just think that 10 is too young to know stuff about relantionships and whether they are straight or gay.

argento Sun 18-Oct-09 23:38:29

I think your sexuality can be very fluid at that age - not that she will change her mind, but you aren't set in stone at that age, and sexuality isn't a black and white thing anyway. You can accept that that's how she feels now without making a big deal of it.

4GHASTLYGHOULSandnotout Sun 18-Oct-09 23:54:57

My db is gay and my mum knew from when he was around 7ish, he had a girlfriend at 15 to stop boys at school taking the piss but came out properly at about 18 when he left home. He said it was just something that he always known from as soon as he started to feel attraction feelings around 8-9ish.

lilolilmanchester Mon 19-Oct-09 00:00:30

along with other posters, am in awe of your relationship with your DD, such that she can be so open with you. She might be gay, she might not be,... It really doesn't matter, your DD just needs to know you are there for her whatever and sounds like you are doing a great job xx

serenity Mon 19-Oct-09 00:17:39

I don't think 10 is too young to realise things like this.

When I was 10, being gay wasn't something that was discussed or was portrayed in the media in any positive way (I think my first discussion or realisation about it was all the furore after Boy George appeared on ToTP) Consequently I didn't suss I was bi until I was 13 or 14, and there was no way I would have talked to my family about it, so it's lovely that she's comfortable enough to do so with you.

LeninGhoul Mon 19-Oct-09 09:09:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Nancy10 Mon 19-Oct-09 10:32:13

Bless her! This bought a tear to my eye! How lovely that you have such a good relationship with each other for her to be able to say this. It's a huge thing for her to be dealing with and YOU!!! a good friend of mine who is a lesbian said she knew she had a preference for women from as far back as she can remember. She told her mum who said she would take her to the docs and get her something for it! (This is going back a few years!) The funny thing is, is her mums best friend had suspected but put it down to the fact she's from a single parent family (no contact with dad) and it was because she had more female influences and no real male role models in her life. However she's 34 now and definately a lesbian with a good realtionship with her mum. I think sometimes though your body is so full of crazy hormones thta its actually so difficult for young girls and boys to make any sense of how they feel. I'm not saying she isn't a lesbian but she could also be very confused with her changing body and emotions especially as it has hit her very early!

ninedragons Mon 19-Oct-09 10:41:34

I have gay and lesbian friends who say they definitely knew when they were that sort of age (ie before puberty), and then others who didn't really click and identify as gay/lesbian until they were in their early 20s.

You could try explaining the theory that sexuality is a continuuum and very few people are 100% straight or 100% gay, and tell her that wherever her needle settles on that continuuum, you'll love her just the same.

sweetnitanitro Mon 19-Oct-09 10:44:59

brummiemummie, it's brilliant that you have been so supportive, I think you have done exactly the right thing I agree with some of the others that 10 could be old enough to know, I knew that I was straight when I was 10. If you carry on being as supportive as you are then I'm sure your DD will grow up very happy whether she is gay or straight.

LissyGlitter Mon 19-Oct-09 10:57:07

I only fancied girls until I was about 16, and was sure I was a lesbian from as far back as I can remember. I am now with a bloke, although I would probably say I am bisexual. Not that it ever really comes up, it seems to be the default in my circle of friends, people who just fancy one gender (same or opposite) are probably just as unusual no matter which gender they fancy.

I really think that, by the time our kids are adults, there won't be labels, just preferences, eg sally likes people with dark hair, tom likes short people, jane likes female people.

Bless her for being able to tell you, but try to make it clear that she doesn't actually have to choose girls or boys if she doesn't want to. When she is a grown up, she can go out with and kiss whoever she likes. Boy, girl, black, white, disabled, able-bodied, rich, poor, whatever

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