The average age at which people come out as gay, lesbian or bisexual has fallen steadily over the last four decades, according to Stonewall, the gay rights group.
A poll for Stonewall of 1,500 people who were already out found that among the over-60s the average age they had come out was 37. But those in their 30s had come out at an average age of 21, and in the group aged 18 to 24 it was 17.
The survey, conducted via social networking sites, does not take account of the numbers of people who know they are gay or bisexual but have not come out. But Stonewall said it nonetheless revealed a pattern of people having the confidence to come out earlier.
Among the 33 respondents aged over 60 only five had come out under the age of 18. Several had only done so in the last 10 years.
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."
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