My son had always been a top student. Suddenly he wasn't interested in school projects or exams because it wasn't going to matter; he wasn't going to be around. We're talking suicidal thoughts -- very scary. Looking back, I realize my son knew he was gay by the time he was 12. He had more time to accept the reality and by the time he came out to his family, he'd been reflecting on this for a while. That didn't make it any easier for him. Adolescence is hard enough. Remember high school? Add to that a layer of being different when all you want to do is belong.