Is there something like a "gay radar"?

A friend of mine claims that he can guess anybody’s sexual preferences just by a glance. Sometimes, he says that someone is gay just by looking at a picture, and you know something? He’s always right! But when I asked him how he does that, he only answered that he has a “built-in gay radar”.

Of course, it’s not hard to figure out that Richard Simmons and Harvey Keitel are gay. But this guy told me that Rob Halford, Ellen DeGeneres and Rock Hudson were gay years before they were officialy dis-closed. How this is possible? Some people can sense who’s on the phone even before answering; this “gay radar” is something similar?

Ooops - it’s Harvey Fierstein, not Keitel! Sorry!

well i know a gay guy and he says he can tell just by looking/brief exchange of words. I reckon all gay guys can recognise another gay guy quite naturally, so sorry mate, but your friend is a raving homo.

Oh, he is! Sorry, forgot to mention that.

Maybe your friend knows the answer to the burning question on all Americans’ lips: ARE Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt?

You might find this interesting.

It’s a column that originally appeared in a free weekly newspaper.

We’ve had several discussions about “gaydar”, including a rather detailed thread, Gaydar?

It does seem that gay men naturally have feelings that members are “family”.
However this is basically in the form of an educated guess, based upon perceptions.
For example, I seem to notice that gay men tend to look other men in the eye when talking. Straight men seem to make very brief eye contact.

I would be interested to know how well your friend judges his gaydar to be. I think mine is better than wild guess, but there are several circumstances that come to mind that cause me to shake my head and claim my gaydar must be out of synch. Of course when I tell gay friends about this, they tell me that even though the guy has been married for 5 years has 3 kids he can still be gay and set off my gaydar.

A friend and I were sitting in Central Park boy-watching, and he was exercising his gaydar: “Gay.” “Gay.” “Straight.” I asked him how he knew, and he “just does.”

Ha! Well, that’s very easy to say, but it’s not like I could go up to the guys and say, “would you settle an argument, here?” Some people don’t know whether they themselves are straight or gay, so I hardly can believe that a total stranger can size 'em up just like that.

Not necessarily true. I’m not gay but I have a well developed gaydar. In my case this comes from having a brother who is gay and having spent a fair amount of time around him and his gay friends.

I will allow for the possibility I can be wrong but I’d say I have around a 85-90% success rate. Also, I cannot identify lesbians with any certainty whatsoever. My gaydar seems to only work with men with any reliability. (Do lesbians have gaydar for other lesbians? I know a few lesbians but I’ve never seen them identify other women as a lesbian with the reliability that men do for other men unless the woman in question is somewhat overt in displaying her preferences.)

It probably comes down to recognising body language that most people aren’t consciously aware of. After awhile you subliminally pick-up how gay men respond and act even if they aren’t overtly gay.

Again, this is more of an art than a science. No matter what my gaydar is telling me I keep it to myself. I could be wrong and besides…gay men don’t bother me one way or the other. I respond to people on an individual basis and another person’s sexual preferences don’t even make it on my list of criteria for evaluating that person.

My SO has pretty good gaydar. I used to think that it was plain ol’ homophobia, but he’s since proved to me that he’s right about 80-90% of the time. This is, of course, in situations where we can actually figure it out - situations like we’re at a party, he says “Oh look, there’s a lesbian!” (not in those words, but you know what I mean) and ten minutes later we’re introduced to Jill and her significant other, Joyce. That kind of thing.

I can tell a deaf person just by the way they talk.

I suppose there is something called straightdar. I can look at someone & tell they are straight. wow.

In addition to Gaydar, The Onion had an article on someone with Blackdar.

I guess i must fall into that 10-15%, because i’ve been hit on by gay guys a lot despite being straight.

Now, if only i had that same level of success with women… :rolleyes:

If you don’t have built-in gay radar, you could benefit from the Gaydar being constructed in England as we speak.

Seems the folks at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (LOVE that show and thier election coverage) found a young man in England working on such a device (along with a juke box for elevators, feature disco tunes HE sings to, but I digress…).

The Gaydar is about the size of a pager and it vibrates or beeps when another person with another Gaydar is within a few yards/meters. Its a way to meet other gay people without the risk of hitting on a staight homophobe. Dunno how much it costs.


The Gaydar device sounds like a reincarnation of a pager-sized gadget that was popular in Japan for a little while around 1998. You push buttons to answer a bunch of multiple-choice questions about what kind of person you are and what you’re looking for (dinner, karaoke, quick hump, etc.). When someone with compatible settings comes within a certain range, your device would start to beep.

They weren’t popular for very long. Probably because there was no directional locator, and most pickup areas in Tokyo are really crowded.


I really doubt you can tell a straight vs gay man by a glance. I do think that after talking even as little as 5 minutes, you can get an idea.

For instance my boss is married but I would bet a year’s salary he is gay. I went to a roller skating outing in a TShirt and Shorts.

He commented three times to me and once to everyone else about how well buildt I am and he would have never guessed I worked out. Then the next day. He commented again to my assistants, the Rev Manager and the GM “Wow did you see how buildt Mark is?”

A straight man isn’t gonna do that.

Rule of thumb I found handy if you are over 30 and never been married and in the Hotel, Retail or Airline (no pilots they don’t count) chances are the guy is gay.

I have never met a straight flight attendent. Everyone says they know of them but in 10 years of working at the airport I have never met one of those straight guys that turns out to be gay.

I’ve had gaydar since living in Montreal, and noticing that gay men look at other men the way straight men look at women - that is, when looking at a stranger, a straight man will pause for a microsecond on women and slide right past the men; gay men will do the opposite.

Sit in a cafe sometime where a reasonable number of people may be gay, and watch people come in and survey the room. It’s quite noticable when you’re looking for it.

Most guys my age (40s-50s) will tell you that gaydar used to be more accurate than it is now. Either gay men are getting more diverse, or straight men are getting more diverse, or gaydar wears out with age. All I know is, it used to be easier to tell.

I can still look at virtually any man, and imagine him being gay. But I can’t look at any gay man and imagine him being straight.

And then there’s the old joke:

If a guy looks like a marine, he’s gay.
If a guy looks like a marine and sounds like a marine, he’s a marine.

I believe Dan Savage chalked it up to eye contact. Straight men are uncomfortable maintaining prolonged eye contact with other men; gay men are not.

One of the more enlightening moments of my life was attending a gay art film and viewing an audience composed entirely of men, not one of whom conformed to any gay stereotype I may have held. It was a cross-section of typical guys like you would see anywhere. Pried open my tiny little mind, I’ll tell you.