LGBT support service The Metro Centre have published the interim findings of their survey of young people in the UK.
It reports that a high number come out in their teens, showing “a measure of the progress of LGBT visibility and equality”.
The Metro Centre began the survey as part of its Youth Chances Project, and says the survey will “provide the biggest evidence base of data used to campaign for better services and policies for LGBTQ youth across England.”
It targeted gay people in England aged between 16 and 25.
The data from the 6,005 applicants revealed that the average age young people started thinking they might be LGBT was just under 14.
It was then around two years before most respondents told anyone about their sexuality, with 16 the average age for first talking about being LGBT with another person. For 80% of respondents that person was a friend.
Nearly three quarters (70%) said they needed emotional support when they came out.
Youth Chances Project Manager Dan Baker said: “These findings reveal some key milestones for young people coming out in the 21st Century. It is a measure of the progress of LGBT visibility and equality that over half of young people in this generation have come out by the age of 16.
“All the more important is that parents and the wider family, friends, schools, colleges, youth organisations and health services recognise that the majority of young people coming out are saying they need emotional support at this time.”
He added: “Metro’s Youth Chances will continue collecting responses right up until 21 March when we will begin in depth analysis of what support is most effective for young people. Youth Chances is all about hearing directly from young peoples themselves in order to make recommendations for change and a real difference to young people’s lives.”