A poll by gay rights charity Stonewall has found that the average age for gay and bisexual teenagers to come out is now 15.

The online survey of 1,536 openly gay or bisexual people found that the age for coming out has steadily fallen over the last 20 years.

Respondents aged 60 and over had an average of of 37 for coming out, but for those in their thirties, the average age was 21.

Those aged under 18 had an average coming out age of 15.

Ruth Hunt, Stonewall’s deputy director of public affairs, said: “People are coming out younger and younger. Everyone should come out when they feel ready and confident but this is an encouraging trend and sends a positive message to anyone not yet out: you don’t have to wait. Britain is a fairer country than it once was, and support is available to you.”

This week is National Anti-Bullying Week and Stonewall is encouraging students to write to their local MPs to ask whether education authorities will be using resources to counter homophobic bullying.

Ms Hunt added: “Young people are coming out in schools across Britain right now. As lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils become more visible than ever, it’s essential schools make things better for them.”