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Gaydar

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Gaydar (a portmanteau of "gay" and "radar") is a neologism used to describe a person's alleged intuitive ability to deduce another's sexual orientation.

Scientists have conducted a number of experiments to test if gaydar is more than a myth,[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13] with generally mixed and inconclusive results. Gaydar often relies on stereotypes of LGBT people to assess non-verbal cues such as social behavior, mannerisms, body language, tone of voice, occupation, grooming habits, etc. This is problematic, especially in urban areas where it is more common and acceptable for heterosexual men to exhibit lifestyle habits stereotypical of gay men, and because many LGBT people do not behave in a stereotypically "gay" manner.

Other forms of gaydar are pure woo. For example, in the 1950s, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police used a device jokingly referred to as the "fruit machine," which purported to reveal a person's sexuality by measuring their pupils as they watched pornography. During a campaign to rid the civil service of suspected homosexuals, the fruit machine was used as justification for firing as many as 9,000 government employees.[14] Other similar "gay tests" were used in the US during the era of Joseph McCarthy to disqualify suspected homosexuals from civil service, since they were considered susceptible to blackmail and thus a security risk.[15][16]

The moral of this story is that, unless you see a person holding hands with, kissing, or having sex with either a member of their own or their opposite sex, it's generally impolite and probably incorrect to assume you know their sexual orientation.[17]

References[edit]

  1. Berger, G; Hank, L; Rauzi, T; Simkins, L (1987). "Detection of sexual orientation by heterosexuals and homosexuals". Journal of homosexuality 13 (4): 83–100. 
  2. Ambady, N; Hallahan, M; Conner, B (1999). "Accuracy of judgments of sexual orientation from thin slices of behavior". Journal of personality and social psychology 77 (3): 538–47. 
  3. Rieger, G; Linsenmeier, JA; Gygax, L; Garcia, S; Bailey, JM (2010). "Dissecting "gaydar": Accuracy and the role of masculinity-femininity". Archives of Sexual Behavior 39 (1): 124–40. 
  4. Rieger, G; Linsenmeier, JA; Gygax, L; Bailey, JM (2008). "Sexual orientation and childhood gender nonconformity: Evidence from home videos". Developmental psychology 44 (1): 46–58. 
  5. Rule, NO (2010). "Sexual orientation perception involves gendered facial cues". Personal & Social Psychology Bulletin 36 (10): 1318–31. 
  6. Rule, NO; Ambady, N; Adams, RB; MacRae, CN (2008). "Accuracy and awareness in the perception and categorization of male sexual orientation". Journal of personality and social psychology 95 (5): 1019–28. 
  7. Rule, Nicholas O.; Ambady, Nalini; Hallett, Katherine C. (2009). "Female sexual orientation is perceived accurately, rapidly, and automatically from the face and its features". Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 45 (6): 1245. 
  8. Rule, Nicholas O.; Ambady, Nalini (2008). "Brief exposures: Male sexual orientation is accurately perceived at 50ms". Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 44 (4): 1100. 
  9. Colzato, LS; Van Hooidonk, L; Van Den Wildenberg, WP; Harinck, F; Hommel, B (2010). "Sexual orientation biases attentional control: A possible gaydar mechanism". Frontiers in psychology 1: 13. 
  10. Johnson, KL; Gill, S; Reichman, V; Tassinary, LG (2007). "Swagger, sway, and sexuality: Judging sexual orientation from body motion and morphology". Journal of personality and social psychology 93 (3): 321–34. 
  11. Linville, SE (1998). "Acoustic correlates of perceived versus actual sexual orientation in men's speech". Folia phoniatrica et logopaedica: official organ of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP) 50 (1): 35–48. 
  12. Smyth, RON; Jacobs, Greg; Rogers, Henry (2003). "Male voices and perceived sexual orientation: An experimental and theoretical approach". Language in Society 32 (3). 
  13. Gaudio, R. P. (1994). "Sounding Gay: Pitch Properties in the Speech of Gay and Straight Men". American Speech 69 (1): 30–57. 
  14. Gary William Kinsman, Dieter K. Buse, Mercedes Steedman, Whose National Security?: Canadian State Surveillance and the Creation of Enemies, (Between the Lines, Canada, 2000) ISBN 1-896357-25-3, chapter 10.
  15. Johnson, David K. (2004). The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government. University of Chicago Press. :{{{1}}}. ISBN 0-226-40190-1. 
  16. Rodger McDaniel, Dying for Joe McCarthy's Sins: The Suicide of Wyoming Senator Lester Hunt (WordsWorth, 2013), ISBN 978-0983027591
  17. Even then, it's still anyone's guess. People might be bisexual or presenting a public image, or any number of other things.