"Gaydar"? Is it real?
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Identities

Is "Gaydar" Real?

Phasers set to 'fabulous'.

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(pictured: army jacket opened to pride flag)
Fairchild Air Force Base

As we reach yet another week in pride month, it's time to talk about some of the culture and community around LGBT people. Specifically, about a large belief called "gaydar".

"Gaydar" is an ability that some people say they have, which means they are able to tell if someone is gay by looking at them. Now, most of the people who use this term and say they are able to 'spot' gay people are straight people, and are only able to 'spot' gay people due to a variety of stereotypes they expect gay people to fall into. So this is a faulty logic for trying to find out if someone is gay.

Now, this begs the question. Is "gaydar" real? The answer is complicated. It's yes and no.

There's more to it than just straight people picking out LGBT people. As I mentioned before, "gaydars" tend to rely on a variety of stereotypes. These stereotypes range from, expecting gay men to be well dressed, to expecting gay women to have short hair and wear flannel, and so on. It's through factors like these that lead people to believe they can tell if someone if gay just by looking at them. Now these are biased stereotypes, and while not all stereotypes are bad, a lot of them can be harmful and generalizing. They can cut out the possibility of people dressing and acting in whatever ways they want.

However, some stereotypes can be rooted in fact. While some gay people do fall into these ideas of how gay people think and act, others do not, and both are the choice of the individual.

Some gay people dress in their own unique style, that might fall into the stereotypes. Others purposefully dress and act in ways that go against what people think gay people will do, so others won't know if they're gay.

However, there is a third group of people. There is a large number of LGBT individuals who will purposefully, by their own choice, dress and behave in ways that will fall into these large stereotypes about how gay people look, specifically to make others to believe they are gay. There's lots of reasons people choose to do this, but a big reason why is simple.

We want other gay people to know that we are gay.

LGBT people are big on community. Big on having friends who are also gay, making gay friends, and being surrounded by people who are like them, so they know they're safe and feel supported. So gay people will sometimes dress and act in ways that others perceive as gay, so that they can find and bond with other LGBT people nearby.

There's ways of walking, acting, dressing, buttons people wear, socks people wear, a whole community of acting that is specifically for gay people to draw the attention of other gay people.

And sure, this is not true for everybody. People can wear rainbows in support of the LGBT community, or because they look cute, or in pride of their identity rather than to draw other people.

But if "gaydars" are real, the LGBT community has been using them for a long time.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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