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)

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I just don't understand why this post needs to be up for discussion? Atheists tend to be more open to the idea of homosexuality, therefore we must talk about it? I don't think you can tell if a person is gay, and who cares? I'm beginning to think you just enjoy seeing your picture up on the 'What's new today' section.

I'm with you there, sister.

Oh, so now there's a "Needs to be up for discussion" requirement for posts? Learn something new every day.

I always thought knowledge—and the pursuit of it—was a good thing, an end in itself. Was I wrong?

It does matter if someone is gay, if only to the gays. Imagine, for example, a gay-blind gay man. Now, I lived with a gay male roommate for nearly a year. He was sexually active and had a sense for the implicit "signals" a gay man sends off as well as the more explicit ones. But suppose he didn't have good gaydar? 

A straight man can use gaydar as well. For example, if another man seems to be creating a sexually ambiguous situation. Sending definitely heterosexual signals back can forstall a potentially awkward and embarrassing situation. 

It's similar to recognizing a particularly well-done cross-dresser. Some people may not recognize the clues (adam's apple, larger hands and feet, etc.). Why not know the clues?

Right on the money.

It matters a hell of a lot to me because my lesbian-dar is shit. If there's a method for improving that, I am definitely interested!

By the there a better word for that? Queerdar? Gayladydar? Lol.


So are you saying that being gay is a mental illness?

So are you saying that being gay is a mental illness?

It's more trouble atm for me to find the parent post to your response, so I'll just point out something I've noticed in all posts, so far: I didn't notice anyone saying something like that.

I used to date an actress who was revered in the gay community. As a result when we would go out to parties I would occasionally find myself as the only straight man in the room with 50 gay men.

The article is correct in that you could probably be doing better than average to spot quote unquote gay face. Just because there are a few who are very obvious.

My gaydar is a triangulation system where someone has to meet at least three criteria before I think they are gay or not. Amongst the criteria that I use are:

Occupation like flight attendant, hair stylist, fashion industry

History of attending seminary school

Use of unabbreviated name. i.e. call me Michael not Mike, Joseph not Joe etc.

Flamboyant gesturing

Confidence and compassion, also tolerance

Keen sense of style

Nice furniture because they didn't have kids

If someone meets three of these criteria, (there are a few others) I would identify them as gay. Its not foolproof, but pretty accurate.

Ha, seminary school... I hadn't noticed that one. Interesting. The other stereotypes I agree with. (I don't mean "stereotypes" in its negative sense.)

I'd add, a kind of sensitivity to emotional issues, which can sometimes be too sensitive or dramatic. Also add female-ish language and lisping.

The seminary school criteria is real. Gay men growing up in xtian households tend to struggle with their sexuality since it is so stigmatized. They try to find solace in attempting to become asexual. It tends not to work out since they are fighting against their own natural impulses.

There are certain professions seemingly tending to attract at least the more effeminate gays: ballet dancers aside, you have hair dressers, interior decorators, wedding planners, and a few others.

I work in behavioral health.  I've seen, way too often, people going into a downward spiral solely due to struggling with their sexual orientation or being persecuted because of their sexual orientation.  Personally, I find it deplorable.  I've been put in situations where I was the only person advocating for someone who's only "crime" was not being hetero.  The lgbt+ community has the highest rates (among young people) of suicide, drug use and communicable disease compared to any other demographic of that age group and it's all due to bigotry.  Again, I find that deplorable.  To quote an old wise man "two girls, two rocks, two potatoes...who cares?  As long as they love each other."



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