Although I've always wanted this particular superhuman power, I've never been very good at detecting other men's sexual orientation. Findings from a recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, however, suggest I may be underestimating my gaydar abilities.

The January 2008 study investigated people's ability to identify homosexual men from pictures of their faces alone. In an initial experiment, researchers Nicholas Rule and Nalini Ambady from Tufts University perused online dating sites and carefully selected 45 straight male faces and 45 gay male faces. All of these photos were matched for orientation (only faces shown looking forward were used) and facial alterations (none of the images contained jewelry, glasses or facial hair). To control for context, the faces were also cut and pasted onto a white background for the study. These 90 faces were then shown to 90 participants in random order, who were asked simply to judge the target's "probable sexual orientation" (gay or straight) by pressing a button. Surprisingly, all participants (both men and women) scored above chance on this gaydar task, correctly identifying the gay faces. Even more surprisingly, accuracy rate was just as good when the images were exposed at a rapid rate of only 50 milliseconds, which offered participants no opportunity to consciously process the photo. (read Scientific American article)

Tags: gay, gaydar, orientation, sexual

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I don't think anyone here judges people due to their homo/heterosexuality, so let's just stop flaunting our lack of prejudice and get back to the subject.

Thank you! I was waiting for someone to bring up their 'black gay friend.'

Hmm, I said that differently, above, before reading this. There are some threads (like this one) that are too hard for me to keep quiet, before reading the entire thread.

There are "straight looking" gay men, then there are "gay looking" straight men. I think this experiment would fail with a large enough sample space. 

How would you define failure? Or do you mean within the existing standards of the study?

Stereo types aren't universal however. I'm constantly having to inform people that I'm gay whenever I'm asked if I have a girl friend. Apparently, I look straight. :/

LOL! Touche...

Toll-free 1-888-THE-GLNH (1-888-843-4564)

One of my daughters friends is a openly gay 19 year old boy. He stayed at our home for a week while he did community service, to complete his requirement for college entrance. He worked at the New York City GLBT Crisis Center. He told me that he handled a ton of calls from kids his age. 

BTW: He's double majoring in Physics and Classical Voice. He got a perfect score on his SAT's. Man I'm proud of that boy...

And I've been asked (just once) if I was gay. I was doing commercial softcore porn photography and the female model asked me after a while if I was gay. Surprised, I asked why. "Because you never get a boner," she said. I told her that years ago when I first started doing softcore, I got them. After a while, it was just a job. I've worked with over 300 girls in such situations. One gets inured to it after a while.

I always wonder if people can tell by looking at me. Sometimes it feels like it's sooooo obvious. My Grandma even thought I was a lesbian. But most of the time, I feel like it never crosses anyone's mind. I knew a gay man who assumed I was straight even though I'd been active with our lgbt group for two years. I once sat across from a gay man at an atheist gathering who was the talk of the table because of his orientation (it was all positive talk), thinking, 'what the hell?' It seems like I need to be sporting a dyke haircut (gah) to catch they eye of any queer ladies--true story.

I can spot gay men fine, but the ladies throw me for a loop, unless they're butch and sensual...which doesn't happen a lot. This really pisses me off, now that I'm thinking about it.

Not always so what , it is not a diease and if you allow yourself to be with gay , you may be . otherwise who cares , if they are gays or not ,some people are gays get over it!!!!

A note to people who feel that this is an inappropriate question. Under many circumstances, it is inappropriate. This would be a difficult discussion in many classrooms, especially in the more conservative, "traditional value" communities.

This reminds me of back before incest was talked about. It was treated as if it never really happens, until scientific studies came out, and social/behavioral science fields grew. I wrote a paper for an English class about incest, and was surprised how my mother responded with "why do we have to talk about such things?". I said Mom, is it better to just sweep it under the rug? She actually exclaimed... "Yes!".

A year latter she started telling me about her father and priest's sexual abuse of her and her brother. I hadn't even guessed. Surprise!

So these days I really appreciate safe places like this to talk honestly about such things, and learn from others. Sometimes to a fault, perhaps, but 90% of the time it's positive.

I think my gaydar/lezdar's better than the average conservative/redneck (of which I'm neither). I was surprised years ago by learning of some actor's homosexuality, but that's back when it was more intentionally hidden. I think a cool, positive aspect of Hollywood is that--despite the use and overuse of stereotyping in drama and storytelling, the liberal side of Hollywood made it possible for entire populations to start telling and understanding each other's stories, including the marginalized populations.

While studying cultural anthropology, I learned that indigenous cultures (especially before religion came along) rarely felt or taught negatively about members who seemed sexually atypical. In fact, cultures often assigned to them a special, respected role. There were different names for "3rd gender" members, and different cultures had different roles and customs regarding them. What's interesting (to me) is how "civilized" societies removed social egalitarianism and replaced it with hierarchical patterns of who gets to dominate whom, how certain groups of people should or shouldn't behave, which was all taken even to further extremes with the advent of written materials (e.g. scriptures) and myths.

Damn. Now I forgot what this thread is about...

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