UW Study “Proves” Gaydar, Fails To Acknowledge Reality

How good is your gaydar? According to researchers at the University of Washington, it might be better than you think. Using a snap judgement test, they found that respondents judged the sexual orientation of faces right at a statistically significant rate higher than chance. The study, which was published yesterday at PLoS ONE, a peer-reviewed open-access (which means you can read it even if you don’t go to school!) journal, found that participants were better at determining the sexuality of women (67% correct) than men (57%) and that those incorrectly-guessed male faces were pegged as gay more often than female faces.

The pictures shown to respondents were greyscale copies of cropped faces taken from the Facebook profiles of people who self-identified as gay or straight. If your methodology alarm bells aren’t going off right now, your gay lady alert system should be. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been, known or dated someone who was “straight” online and totally gay in real life. Or if you’re friends with a girl who thinks it’s a hilarious joke to be “in a relationship” with another girl on Facebook. That’s not the only thing wrong with the study; besides reducing the complexities of sexuality to something entirely binary, the researchers only selected “photographs of White-appearing individuals…to maximize consistency across faces.”

Excluding people of color wasn’t the only length they went to to preserve consistency across the sample, the authors were also careful to select only pictures of people who were not wearing makeup, facial piercings or glasses. All this attention to controlling factors makes sense scientifically, but it also points to an assumption–a BIG assumption made on the part of the researchers–that sexuality is something can be visually identified and also, again, binary. Operating under the belief that gay people look objectively different from straight people is a confusing and potentially problematic road to take. It completely erases the existence of people who fall somewhere in between gay and straight and treats sexuality as something that exists in some kind of pre-determined vacuum–one where gender, gender presentation, race and sexuality have no bearing each other.

The researchers themselves acknowledge that the study may not be consequential in the real world; in their discussion of the results, they indicate that there’s plenty of room to research “the external validity of these effects” and find out if “snap judgments of sexual orientation from faces occur in real-life settings.” I don’t know about you, but when I’m trying to figure out if some chick’s gay, the distance between her eyes isn’t really the first thing I look for.

And believe me, I look. In my tiny corner of the world, sexuality matters. When I’m looking at people, I look for clues–haircuts, glances, clothes, fingernails, movements (all those things left out of the study)–so that I can figure out who’s okay and who could be bad news. Context is everything; how we choose to present ourselves to the world is very significant, and that’s what’s left out here. What I wonder is whether it matters to the respondents in the study. Were they gay or straight? Liberal or conservative? Comfortable with queerness or uneasy? Those things could contribute at least as much to how someone identifies another’s sexual orientation as what the sexual orientation at hand actually is.

It’s precisely the impreciseness of social interactions that makes all these things meaningful when studying sexuality. For example: the authors suggest that, due to influences from the media, we should have expected the respondents to have more “false alarms” with women than men, but the results actually indicated the opposite. Since we also know that 19 of the 24 respondents were women, why not see what happens if we added more men to the study? Or what happens when everyone who answers is gay?

I guess to me, knowing whether or not we’re able to determine someone’s sexuality by looking at thier face is so much less important than finding out why people think and act the way they do. At the end of the day, what’s the real purpose of studying how good everyone’s gaydar is? At best, it makes us aware of the people around us and at worst, it perpetuates stereotypes. At one point in the discussion, the authors argue that their research could be used to argue for protection against discrimination since “minority sexual orientation is tacitly inferred from aspects of personal appearance that are routinely available for inspection,” which is a noble (if slightly paternalistic) goal. I understand that I’m coming from an entirely different viewpoint from the authors of the study, but I can’t help but wonder why this is the kind of research that continues to be funded. Bring me your radical research questions about the intersectionality of race and gender. Find me a school who wants you to discover how to get homes for all those homeless trans* kids. Until then, I’ll keep asking questions.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Laura is a tiny girl who wishes she were a superhero. She likes talking to her grandma on the phone and making things with her hands. Strengths include an impressive knowledge of Harry Potter, the ability to apply sociology to everything under the sun, and a knack for haggling for groceries in Spanish. Weaknesses: Chick-fil-a, her triceps, girls in glasses, and the subjunctive mood. Follow the vagabond adventures of Laura and her bike on twitter [@laurrrrita].

Laura has written 308 articles for us.


  1. This study sounds kind of, you know, completely pointless.
    So it probably cost 14 million dollars.

    • With the way science funding is being slashed everywhere, it would be AMAZING if this research got $14 mil. Unfortunately the US govt prefers to waste its money in military endeavours, where the only judgement calls made are poor ones.

  2. 24 respondents? That is a wicked small sample size.

    Also, this reminds me of the OK Cupid Gaydar test. Perhaps that’s where the researchers got their idea.

  3. So according to Wikipedia “false alarm” is the layman’s term for false positives. But I’d like to see some data on false positives vs. false negatives on men and women (and fucking binaries, jesus). But anyway, my Ctrl + F search through the article did not give me a single hit for false negative and I believe that will say some important shit about femme invisibility.

    • That’s why you should read the paper. They report ‘false negatives’ as ‘false alarms’.

      • Haven’t read the article, but from my experience false negatives (Saying something isn’t happening when it really is) and false alarms (saying something is happening when it isn’t) are completely opposite things. So if they really did use them interchangeably they have serious problemos with scientific vocabulary that should probably be addressed

        • From the article:
          “In signal detection analyses (e.g., the computation of A′ or d′), there are two components of accuracy: the hit rate (reported in this study as Hf and Hm), or the proportion of gay faces correctly perceived as gay, and the false alarm rate (reported in this study as FAf and FAm), or the proportion of straight faces incorrectly perceived as gay.”

          The term ‘false negative’ is not used in the article.

          • Straight faces incorrectly perceived as gay, as in, false positives, since this is about testing gaydar, not straightdar.

            We are asking about gay people incorrectly perceived as straight, false negatives, which are not mentioned in the article.

  4. i don’t even think my gaydar factors in faces, it’s like 50% walk, 25% clothes, 25% gay eye contact.

    • That’s sort of the point of the study, though, right? To deal with the “I don’t even think,” part of your statement. To figure out whether or not faces do factor into gaydar, without the other cues.

      • What exactly is gay eye contact? It was mentioned briefly at the end of the mackin’ panel but no one ever said what it was. I’ve gathered it has to do with looking at someone a certain way and maybe involving a nod of some kind. Is there an image or video clip of someone performing gay eye contact for some kind of reference point? I ask because I tend to avoid meaningful eye contact (unless I’m talking to someone directly) because I seem to end up scaring people for some reason. =\

        • The idea is to keep serious, sexy eye contact for a few seconds. In practice, it usually goes something more like this for me:

          • Yes! That gif sums it up perfectly! I’m all for looking, until she looks at me. Then I instantly avoid eye contact to avoid freaking her out, lol. Lots of people at camp said they were shy, so perhaps I should keep an eye out for girls ducking away as soon as they’re looked at and use that as my gaydar/gay eye contact method. =D

        • LOL!

          It’s not that complex, at least on the surface.

          For me, I’m bi and didn’t come into my queerdom until college so I have years of practice flirting with cisgendered menfolk.

          I pretty femmey (hate those terms) and I happen to like girls more in that spectrum, so you can imagine how hard it is to get a sense if she’s into girls or not since neither one of us is rocking an alternative haircut and zero makeup.

          Thus it’s all in the flirt. It’s come to the point where I flirt with everyone and not even on purpose, but it just helps me to get a sense of if you find me intriguing or not and then I go from there.

          And a HUGE part of flirting is eye contact. This goes for gay/straight, whatever.

          • Wow, I wish I had your amazing auto flirting with strangers bravery and skill! Based on what you’ve said, it sounds like gay eye contact and flirting might be things that come with experience. I’ve always been very shy and introverted, so my flirting skills are severely lacking unless I am certain that the person is interested in me (which is rare XD). Thanks a bunch for your explanation! I shall go forth and work up the courage to attempt to make some kind of flirtatious eye contact with the women of the world.

          • Hahah, thanks. I get it from my mom. She’ll charm anyone into anything to avoid something she doesn’t want to do. I remember when I was 12 and our family didn’t buy those tickets to skip the lines at Disney World. My mom got the female manager lady to give us all free ones.

            My mom would say she was just being nice, but she was totally relying on flirting ques to warm up the lady, who from what I could tell was straight. People like to be engaged, warmly. And sometimes pseudo platonic-seductively, but not really if that makes any sense.

            Don’t think of it as flirting. I think that’s what makes it difficult for people who are naturally shy. It becomes a “thing.” Because then we traverse awks land. And we’ve all been there and it’s that above GIF, lol. Don’t make it a thing and just be charming how you be. And welcome all of the free things you’ll get!

          • last comment (this is prolly a lie). great of example of everything i prob failed at explaining is —-> Dianna Argon.

            I’ve watched three interviews with her and she seems to do this whole luring thing with whoever she’s with regardless of gender.

  5. Hm, I found it interesting, and I see why they decided to “control” for so many variables (though I agree that using Facebook was silly in some respects* and their sample size was too small and not representative and binary sexuality blahdeblah). It’s generally understood/not argued that gay people sometimes choose to present themselves in different ways through clothes/hairstyles/piercings/etc., oftentimes to purposely signal to other queer people. So obviously they were looking to see if there’s “more” to gaydar than relying on “rainbow bracelets” and other, in fact, stereotypes. I sort of see this falling into a similar category/vein as “gay gene” research or other research that attempts to show there’s a naturally occurring biological component to queer sexuality. There’s an argument to made about the validity/lack of validity to that (I fall into the lack of validity camp, because, you know, pedophiles and according to that recent NY Times or something article even psychopaths were also “born that way”). BUT I don’t see the study as inherently pointless, because it’s another angle to come at a really well known but not very well studied social phenomenon. If it is pointless, then some more thorough (and I’m sure equally and/or more expensive) study that talks about all the other factors you mentioned would also be kinda pointless because those things don’t really get trans homeless youth roofs over their heads either and would probably cost more money and such. Idk. At the least it’s sort of an interesting wrench to throw in “femme invisibility” or maybe even our own second-guessing?

    *Actually, no, I don’t know too many straight people who self identify as gay on Facebook. Were the researchers looking at relationship status or the “Interested In” category? Because straight people may be in “faux” relationships but generally keep the “Interested In” sacred. And most gay people I know (though like this obvi depends on where you live/who you’re FB friends with/whatever I guess) leave out the “Interested In” section entirely.

    • Whoa was constructing this monster when Alo pointed out false negatives and femme invisibility – good point!

  6. I just read a *real* study on the intersectionality of race and gender and how they relate to how LGBT victims of violence classify their experience as a hate crime. Now that was a fascinating (and valid, empirical and methodologically sound) study!

    Unlike this bullshit.

  7. I had no idea that the sample size (the participants, not the people used for the pictures) for this study was so small. That’s definitely a good critique. But, I think you might have misunderstood their methods – or maybe the paper is vague about this. But, I think the people used for the pictures were independently verified as gay or straight, the researchers didn’t use how they identified their sexuality on Facebook. And, of course sexuality is not binary, but even thinking about trying to come up with a methodology for identifying varying degrees of same-sex attraction is giving me a headache. It would be an interesting study, but I’ll leave that for other sociologists.

    That’s what I think is good about elementary studies like this – people can build on them later, by adding variables like race and bisexuality or manipulating the race, gender, and sexuality of the participants. And then later maybe haircuts, piercings, body language – although I think the main point of this research is to see if it’s possible to identify a person’s sexuality without those types of social cues.

    If this result is shown to hold up when you look at other races or non-binary sexualities or look at the variables of the participants, I think it would very intriguing because it might inspire studies on how being able to identify someone as queer might have been an evolutionary advantage at some point.

    Also, maybe you didn’t mean to imply this, but by saying that their goal is somewhat paternalistic, you’re assuming that these authors are not queer themselves.

    • i thought the study was definitely vague on the facebook thing. it says “Facial photographs were gathered from Facebook.com profiles, cf. [1], [3] of individuals living in 11 major US cities who self-identified as straight or gay; photographs of self-identified bisexual people were not used as target stimuli.” which is at least a little confusing.

      and i get that they were excluding social cues, but the whole idea that sexuality is inherent and that someone looks a particular way just seems entirely reductionistic. there’s more to sexuality than just biology, so it confuses me to take it out of the context of society.

      totally good point about the paternalism in their goal, i should’ve thought before i spoke. it looks like at least one of the authors is gay.

      • No you were right the first time. It’s still paternalistic even if they’re queer. And also, the way to protect “minority sexual orientations” from discrimination is to *fight discrimination* and not engage in methodologically dubious studies that reinscribe really effed up binaries about gender, sexuality, and race and steer dangerously close to making an argument about the biological/inherent roots of sexuality.

  8. And where does this leave bisexual individuals like myself? Is bisexual its own specific look or are we straight looking or gay looking or what even? Blah. I dislike this study.

    • Generally when I use gaydar it will tell me whether or not a person has any interest in their own gender but not to what extent they like the opposite, so really just non-straightdar.

      • I agree. I can’t tell if you don’t like the opp sex. I can only get a sense if you like the same sex too. So it’s what I call a queerdar, lol.

      • But aromantic asexual people are definitely not straight and would not be picked up by an interest-in-own-sex meter.

  9. Really though, what could be gay about a person’s actual face?
    What they’ve asked the participants to do, essentially, is just to judge people on a smaller, subtler set of variables than they normally would.
    Instead of clothes, tattoos, or super-gay glasses, maybe it’s eyebrow tweezing, and “masculine” or “feminine-looking” features.
    It’s still a subjective judgement based on gender and stereotypes.

    • Apparently the researchers discovered that participants are judging people based on the “distance between their eyes” or something? Idk I only skimmed the study. But part of the point of the study is that they were trying to determine what features, exactly, people are looking at, and they did determine that it was, in fact, not eyebrow tweezing (well according to their tiny sample size and somewhat otherwise flawed methodology).

      However, I DID wonder how these certain facial cues they pointed out correlate to someone appearing feminine or masculine.

      Ultimately I agree with heather up above, who said these kinds of studies are interesting things to build off of, rather than sort of take at face value in a vacuum.

  10. OoOohhh! What’s next?! Blackdar?! Straightdar?! You-ate-my-food-and-didn’t-leave-any-left-in-the-fridge-dar!?! You-are-a-hoodlum-because-you-have-a-tattoo-dar?! Oh, I know! Let’s substitute the words “inherent intuition” with “controversial” social issues that are popular at the moment and add Dar to them, plus faces of white people, sprinkle it with a bit of “fear of the unknown” and call it “research.” Eureka! By golly, we have finally found the missing link to all that is holy! /sarcasm + facepalm + eyeroll

    My middlefingerDar is picking up the bullshit resonating within that article and is calling upon the F16’s to blow the fuck out of the unwanted stupidity that is breaching the territory we call “academia.” *hides in the bunker with my AutostraddleDAR and sends out a morse code to all allies* …. .- .-.. .–. / — -.– / -… .-. .- .. -. / .. … / -… . .. -. –. / .- – – .- -.-. -.- . -.. / -… -.– / … – ..- .–. .. -.. .. – -.–

    • yeah, they talked about other “more obvious” categories/identities like race and gender in the article and i just sat there banging my head against the wall because you can’t always see those things either.

      • Of course you can’t see those “more obvious” things either because you just banged your head against the wall and knocked your “gaydar” off. Clearly, it needs to be recalibrated, ha.

  11. You say, “but it also points to an assumption–a BIG assumption made on the part of the researchers–that sexuality is something can be visually identified and also, again, binary”

    If you read the paper, the authors cite papers that provide proof that test subjects can identify the sexuality of people at a rate above chance from pictures of their faces.

    You’re right in saying that you come from a completely different viewpoint from the authors. This article was reported in the media as being “proof” of gaydar, but in fact, the article does not mention ‘gaydar’ at all (it only appears in the references section), and the aim of the article was to determine the role of different types of facial processing in judging the sexuality of a person. The point of the scientific method is to identify a question and then to create test(s) that allow that variable to be tested in isolation as far as possible. To that end, as many extraneous variables as possible should be eliminated, which is why the test set was not racially inclusive and all those people with glasses or facial piercings or tattoos got left out.

    It worries me to read this kind of article in Autostraddle, where authors misunderstand and misrepresent scientific research to support their own sociopolitical agenda, and then numerous commenters chime in to agree and to bash this kind of research without reading the article themselves to see what was actually said.

    • i totally understand that the point of the study was to test a hypothesis in isolation, but i don’t understand how questioning what they’re doing is bashing. no knowledge is bad knowledge, unless it’s a tiny bit of knowledge that’s getting used to paint giant pictures about the state of humanity (the way this article is being paraded around the media as proof of gaydar). i don’t think it’s misrepresenting the data to point how that the sample size is seriously tiny and that it’s questionable to draw conclusions from a group of respondents who skew to certain parts of the population and totally leave out others.

      • Maybe I should restate my position.

        This piece misunderstands and misrepresents the scientific research documented in the paper.

        The paper presents neuropsychological research on facial processing, and specifically looks at what cognitive mechanisms contribute to test subjects judging the sexuality of a person when shown their face. This is one of a number of judgements (e.g. male vs. female; familiar vs. unknown; famous vs. not) whose cognitive basis is currently being investigated. The paper does not mention gaydar.

        You present and critique the paper as if it were attempting to prove the existence of, and explain the function of, the complex set of judgements that we call ‘gaydar’, or if it were a sociological study of sexuality. This is misrepresentation: the research is on specific types of cognitive processing; assessing it as something that it is not dooms it to failure. This has elicited a number of negative responses from readers that I would class as ‘bashing.’ It is clear that few people have read the paper to check things out for themselves. Whilst it is true that your piece is not the only one to assess this paper as if it were “proof of gaydar,” shoddy journalism on the part of other media outlets should not be used as an excuse.

        It should also be noted that PLoS One is a peer-reviewed journal, and that all submissions have already been critiqued by other scientists in the same field.

        Re: “no knowledge is bad knowledge” — no, an absence of knowledge is just an absence of knowledge. I don’t know your surname; that doesn’t mean that I have bad knowledge about your surname, it means I have none. Bad knowledge would be believing your surname is “Asfgh” [presuming it isn’t that].

  12. My gaydar relies almost exclusively on gay eye contact. Lol I guess if another lady (no matter what she looks like) looks at me for a split second and we share that brief moment of understanding then that’s all it really takes. (That amazes the shit out of me.)

    And voices. I once heard a song from an artist I have never heard before and seconds into the song I was like “WHOA GAY.” When I looked to see who it was and looked up the singer I WAS RIGHT. And it was a perfectly neutral song about nothing actually gay… it was just her voice. I don’t remember what song it was but I can hear gayness like it’s nothing.

    AND if gay eye contact fails me, and I don’t hear their voice, and I think they might be gay but I’m otherwise not sure for whatever reason, I picture them making out with a man. If I can’t see it then they’re usually gay.

    So what this really means is that I think I have impeccable gaydar, but I would probably be very bad at this study. Which really sounds like a huge waste of time/money anyway. Who needs to study the inherent queerness of a face when gay eye contact exists? That’s way more interesting to me.

    • At roller derby last week I needed to stop looking down while skating, so one of the instructors skated in front of me and told me to look at her face instead, but after like 30 seconds of looking at each other we were both like TOO MUCH GAY EYE CONTACT TOO WEIRD ABORT ABORT. You could feel it building like some kind of forcefield.

      Gay eye contact is powerful and must only be used in small doses. Where’s my money to study that??

      • I KNOW RIGHT?? Like, a couple seconds of gay eye contact is just fucking huge. And it’s definitely real. And it’s this crazy silent understanding you share with a complete stranger that is completely undeniable. That amazes me.

        Also here’s a random fun story about gay eye contact: there was a girl once that worked in a place I frequented and I had like 2 hours of gay eye contact with her over a month’s span of time. We just stared at each other the entire time I was in that building and it was the most ridiculous intense bullshit ever. 30 seconds of gay eye contact is too much and 30 minutes blocks of it once a week for a month was fucking silly.

        She didn’t speak English. My Spanish sounds like dying cats but she was also the first girl I’ve ever asked out on a date!

        Moral: Gay eye contact is a big deal.

  13. I feel I must confess my dirty little secret: I lack the *gaydar* gene. Seriously. I’ve been out and proud since my teens, but have never had nor aquired the slightest hint of *gaydar*. It’s really quite frustrating on many levels. While I’ve had little difficulty on the dating front because I can to to anyone about anything, (and yeah, the sexy gun doesnt hurt) I have often missed the simplest ques from women and have needed (and received) a smack in the head from friends clueing me in. So while this study does appear to be total crap, I would welcome some genuine assistance on this front. Just can’t rely on that alternative/asymmetrical haircut thing anymore!

    • I feel your pain, so much. And because I don’t “look gay”, I don’t ping on anyone’s radar. So really it’s just a big mess.

      Next A-Camp should have a gaydar workshop class seminar.

    • me too! i don’t have gaydar and i don’t ping anyone elses gaydar. people are always really surprised when i reveal i’m a big lesbo. oh my god what if i’m straight!! i’ve been fooling myself this whole time. :P

    • You could casually mention Rachel Maddow and if you see little hearts floating up in a halo around her head then you know.

    • Yeah, I don’t pick up on those cues either and only find out someone was flirting with me if a friend tells me days later

  14. Also, PLoS One is peer-reviewed, but because it is open access one has to pay to get their article in there (about $1,500 I think?).

    I’m a scientist, and people in my institution try to avoid publishing in it unless their paper has been rejected from all the other journals on the planet/ also avoid citing it. Although it is peer reviewed, it does not seem to have as many good quality studies as other journals *to me*

    • You have to pay to publish in a lot of journals. sadly. My lab just got a paper in a pretty high impact factor journal and it’s still hella expensive to print. I didn’t even notice this was in PLoS One. So here’s the deal with PLoS One. It’s not the best journal ever. Usually what has happened is that somebody has submitted their stuff to another journal, and that journal is like ‘dude, your methods/data is sound, but I’m not sure I totally agree with your conclusions.’

      And then basically you just have to submit your article and the previous reviews to PLoS One.

      I think the open access part is really, really awesome, but again, it’s not always the very highest caliber of work.

      Anyway I haven’t read the article itself yet, but I can already suspect that it is again an issue of yes, your data was well collected, but your conclusions are a stretch.

      • I nee to come to the defense of the other plos journals. I think you have to consider the discipline when it come to plos too. Plos pathogens seems to be where everyone is trying to go with micro now. I think it is a definite step down from mol micro but seeks to publish good (long) papers. Which if you have like 20 figures it’s a blessing. And you do have to pay to publish but since it is all online you don’t have to pay even more for color figure like you do in journals that have print editions.

        In regards to the study itself, looking at it in a vacuum it seems like a waste of time. But in the bigger picture if the idea is to understand what may cause homosexuality than I guess it might have some validity (though in my personal opinion I don’t think it matters one bit why people are gay). If gay people all tend to have some identifiable differences can something biological be the cause of that? Genes, hormones, etc. though I still dont think you need people to guess people’s orientation the researchers just could have compared the pictures/facial features themselves. But humans are too complicated, it’s why I study bacteria so what do I know.

        • It’s actually more part of a larger neuroscientific effort to work out how we process faces; similar studies have also been done on other aspect of facial processing, e.g. whether a subject recognizes a face that has undergone various transformations.

        • Oh, one of my committee members is the editor-in-chief for PLoS Pathogens. I know. Haha. Utmost respect. (She better help publish me when I get to that point…) But PLoS One has just kind of turned into a catch-all last ditch thing. It’s weird.

          Out of curiousity, what do you study? I work on TB.

          • Very nice. I wish I had a committee member with some pull. How do you find working with TB? It’s an organism I’d love to work with in the future especially in regards to resistance mechanisms, but I don’t think I could handle a slow grower like that. I work on Klebsiella.

          • There’s no way around it, TB is a dick and I love/hate working with it. Klebsialla sounds interesting though! That’s awesome!

  15. “Bring me your radical research questions about the intersectionality of race and gender. Find me a school who wants you to discover how to get homes for all those homeless trans* kids. Until then, I’ll keep asking questions.” WORD.

  16. Maybe I haven’t thought this through enough, but does getting it right just over half of the time not sound just about like what you’d expect from a test that only has two possible answers – gay or straight?

    • In biological anthropology, when you have 2 outcomes, you have to develop a test with at least 75% accuracy before it’s considered better than just flipping a coin. So, by that account, this study still majorly failed.

      • Standard procedure is to perform a statistical analysis of the results to see if they differ significantly from chance.

  17. People always laugh that my second major is Psychology, but I’m adamant about the fact that psych really teaches us about how to think critically. I took a Psychosexual Orientation class where our assignments were just like this; this is not the first “scientific” study to attempt to prove gaydar, and our job was to critically analyze it.

    But in the end, all it comes down to is what is the purpose of the study? These studies are all trying to prove that our hunches as to orientation tend to be right (proving that our hunches are wrong would not be as interesting)… but what good would that really do for society at large? So that bullies calling some effeminate (straight) boy gay can claim they have scientific backup? And let’s not get started on the limitations of the study, including only recognizing two orientations. Seriously, if you’re going to conduct a scientific study on something, maybe pick something with a solid purpose that may actually benefit society.

    On the flip side, I’m actually on the gaydar bandwagon. I think it’s hilarious when my hunches as to someone’s orientation tend to be right, and I’ve never even met the person. But only because it’s fun, not cause there’s anything scientific about it.

    Gaydar is a pretty cool superpower. And you never really know how superpowers work, they just do. Let’s leave it at that.

  18. Lol, I’m in a “it’s complicated” relationship with my bffl on FB too.

    I’m labeless, she’s complicated, but more often than not identifies as straight and has a boyfriend now. So… this study is so problematic as you suggest.

    It judges off of a binary and it doesn’t take into account the whole lot of people who don’t label themselves or the people who identify as straight, but are really fluid. And the people who swear they’re strictly gay, but find the opposite sex attractive summatimes.

    I hate sexuality studies that refuse to acknowledge that sexuality isn’t a rigid science of stark differences.

  19. According to my friend I’m a “100 footer” so I wonder if there would have been any false negatives

  20. Generally speaking I can tell if a girl is gay when her fingers are brushing up against my cervix

    Even then ya never know

  21. This study can be entirely discredited. They have significant results based on TWENTY FOUR participants! (for those who know nothing about psych studies, 24 is a tiny number of participants, unless you’re doing brain scans)

  22. Come down to the south where nearly every girl wears flannel and plays softball. That will fuck up any notion of a gaydar that anyone has.

    Trust me.

    I know.

  23. This study makes no sense. When people talk about having “gaydar”, it’s based on the way people present themselves, their accoutrements and the way they talk/act/dress/everything. It’s not someone’s still, black and white, unadorned face. And that’s just one little thing that’s wrong with this. Ugh. I’m disappointed. I’m going to UW in the fall and this is not giving me a good feeling.

Comments are closed.