Does “gaydar” really exist?

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Gaydar. This is the word most commonly used by people who say they can identify if someone is gay or not — that they have this “gaydar” thing.

So, do you have gaydar? Is it strong enough that you can easily pinpoint someone that she or he is gay or not? Just how much can someone accurately predict that a person is gay?

In a recent study by the University of Washington entitled, “The Roles of Featural and Configural Face Processing in Snap Judgements of Sexual Orientation,” it was found that people are able to judge the sexual orientation of a person from face with above-chance accuracy. However, little is known about how these judgements are formed.

The investigation establishes the importance of featural processing (e.g. an eye) and configural processing (e.g. spatial distance between eyes) using photos cropped up from Facebook of people who identified themselves as gay or straight. According to the study, 24 student volunteers (mostly women between the ages of 18-22) asked to distinguish between photos of “straight” and “gay” faces were able to do so in just a blink of an eye.

The research study confirms that gaydar is a real thing. That it exist.

So, will this result to discrimination? There is a real harm that can happen if people make assumptions.

How can someone accurately say someone is gay when gay people themselves have a real hard time identifying themselves they’re gay? This is the harsh reality that even if you are in the closet, chances are strangers you meet in the street may make assumptions on you. The way you contain your posture and how you dress up will no longer work because just by looking at your face people can already make assumptions.

This just goes to show the importance of a lesbian or gay support group in a lesbian or gay life.



  1. Myself
  2. Rachel Kar
  3. jandi

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