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J Sex Res. 2006 May;43(2):115-21.

Race, ethnicity, gender, and generational factors associated with the coming-out process among lesbian, and bisexual individuals.

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Graduate Center of the City University of New York and the Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training, New York, NY, USA.


Age at coming out among gay/lesbian/bisexual (GLB) persons and sexual debut with same-gendered partners has typically been investigated in samples that do not reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of these communities. Addressing this limitation, data were collected from a diverse sample of men and women attending large-scale GLB community events in New York and Los Angeles in 2003 (N = 2,733). Compared to older cohorts, younger cohorts (18-24 year olds) of both men and women reported significantly earlier ages for sexual debut with same-gendered partners, and earlier ages for coming out to themselves and to others. Also, women began the process at later ages than men, as they reported coming out to themselves and sexual debut with a same-gender partner approximately two years later than men. There were no racial or ethnic differences in age out to self or others; however, persons of color were less likely to be out to their parents. Service providers, sexuality educators, and researchers should attend to the diversity in experience of coming out among GLB populations as they relate to the individuals gender, age, and racial and ethnic backgrounds.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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