According to my roommate's endlessly fascinating Human Sexuality textbook (which comes complete with Hustler cartoons), there are six stages of coming out.
Identity confusion (1st stage) starts the moment you think you might be different, you know, 'in that way.' Identity comparison (2) is when you start to rationalize your talents and preferences and wonder if, you know. Identity tolerance (3) is the first time you look at yourself in the mirror and are able to say "I'm gay." Identity acceptance (4) is when you start to come out to friends and family, and test the waters of the gay community. Identity pride (5), is the time after you come out and you make everything revolve around your sexuality. Identity synthesis (6) is when your sexuality no longer defines you, but is still a part of you.
For me, confusion came early--maybe first or second grade. I don't really know if I ever thought of myself as liking girls, at least exclusively. I had a crush on a girl in 4th grade, but that was more of my parents doing. Shannon and I were the two smartest kids in our class, and were the only people in the school labeled as "gifted," and our parents would often about how smart our children would be if we were to get married.
I once struck out in T-ball in 1st grade, which is pathetic by any standard, but I was one of the only kids in the school who could kick the ball over the fence in Kickball. Usually though, after school I took a lot of arts classes and did a ton of community theatre (close to 80 shows over the course of my life), so that takes care of comparison.
Tolerance, at least for myself, came in sixth grade, though that wavered through junior high. I remember once designating desires to dice, and an odd number would result in masturbating to male images/fantasies, and even would come to "regular" thoughts, though even during a Victoria's Secret commerical, the thoughts would slowly shift to the idea of the thousands of guys who were getting off at the same time.
I came out to my best friend the summer between 7th and 8th grade. She had a crush on me, which kind of put a damper over our friendship for the next five years. I never really came out to anyone after that. Up until last year, I came out as bisexual because I thought it would be easier, and even though I'd like to be, I'm not. There's been a lot of assuming on other people's parts, and nonchalance about my sexuality, but never a definite "I'm gay" sort of intervention except for my parents.
I came out to my mom in 10th grade as bisexual-in-theory, when she located my stash (which was mixed of both gay and straight porno mags) under my bed. I passed it off as wanting to be attracted to the person, not the gender (something I still wish I could do). I came out came out on my 19th birthday, after I stayed over at my boyfriend's house as a birthday gift to myself without completely telling them. See, I said that I was going to be out with friends all night, and so when I came home at 9 the next morning, they were really angry with me. They thought I was joking. They grounded me. I came out. They forgot to ground me after that.
I think I went to synthesis before pride. Throughout high school and last year, sexuality wasn't a big deal. It was there, and it didn't really play too much influence on my daily life. Probably the most pride during high school was during Senior year, when I starred in the local college performance of "The Laramie Project." No one from school came to see me in it (it was the week before the school show, and even though I found the time to star in both shows, no one else found the time to drive downtown and pay the $7. Bastards.
Now that I've transferred schools, it seems like everything is gay with me. Some of it is just being here and now. "Angels in America" and "The Laramie Project" have been playing on HBO2 every day for the past two weeks, and one day there were 4 sitcom reruns with gay subplots (Simpsons, Seinfeld, Friends, and Fraiser). While I no longer think I'm the only gay person in the building (there's a guy on the 8th floor named Ean, with an E, from whom I'm getting definite vibes, but I've never actually spoken to him), I'm still haven't found any for friendship or something more.
I've gotten more defensive about my sexuality now that I'm the token minority of the building. I'm more likely to quip about it, or to make a big deal out of something, or to use it as an excuse to get out of things. It's probably really annoying, but since there's one black foreign exchange student, a handful of Koreans who mostly keep to themselves, and 100 upper-middle class white kids, I must subconsiously feel as though it's my duty to bring up the minority visibility or something.
I guess on the scale, I'm about a 5. I've dated a girl and it felt ok, but it's just not for me. I still really wish I could say it was more about the person and less about the sexual organ attached to the person, but I can't, despite my best efforts.
So. I suppose that's enough of reading my roommate's textbooks, and that it's high time for me to crack open my own.