The "gay lisp"

mcbiggins, I have only encountered one gay guy that lisped, and that was due to a speech impediment. I have encountered (lots of) irish, english and scandinavian gay guys, and (some each) of american, african, indian, eastern-european/russian, western european. Never heard anyone with an overly sibilant speech pattern, but as I say, there are none the less other “faggy-accents” within each community.

Im gay myself, and many of “the crew” has that lisp. Dont know where it came from and why some seem to be “immune” to it (such as myself) But I can tell you one thing it became less obvious to me as I’ve been out longer. 5 years ago after meeting someone… say a bit festive, I would think immediatly, wow, what a lisp, now it doesnt jump out so much.

Isn’t it possible that str8 men would be more likely to have effeminate manners, lisps, etc. if hetero society didn’t “ban” it? Perhaps some gay men, those who don’t care and other factors, are more likely to drop the concern (conscious or not) for acting straight?

To answer the original posting: you could only really know this by tracking lisping kids into adulthood. Even then, when is a guy gay? Would many not-yet-gay men ruin the study by checking straight? : )

Not entirely related, but I read that most men who have anorexia, few do, are gay. Bio, or socio?

I think accents, mannerisms, etc., all have to do with environment. Part of it, of course, is biological. My voice is feminine. I talk on the phones a lot at work, which is always interesting. Many people automatically assume I’m a woman. And I and my coworkers have decided that there is no polite way for me to inform the customer that I am a guy.

My accent, I have noticed, changes depending on who I’m with and where I am. With family and other South Asians, I speak with a South Asian accent. With Americans, I have an American accent. With Europeans, I have a European accent. I also pick up speaking habits from good friends and acquaintances.

My brief sojourn in the gay community informs me that some people pattern their behavior to blend in the gay community - some do it only when around other gay people and others are “on fire” all the time. But this is normal - one reason I speak with a South Asian accent is to blend in the South Asian community.

Humans are, after all, very social animals.


None of the gay men I ever knew had a lisp - they were all the macho/sports/masculine/military types like Rock Hudson/Montgormery Cliff.

None of the lesbian women I have known have ever had a lisp.

The only ones I ever saw with a lisp, are the fictional make believe ones on tv.

I’m surprised no one has mentioned David Sedaris’s great collection of essays titled Me Talk Pretty One Day, in which he talks about how, as a boy in school, he was sent to a speech therapy class, which he calls “Future Fags of America” (or something like that). (FTR, Sedaris is gay.)

I’m straight, but I’ve had many people tell me they thought I was gay upon meeting me. No one has been able to tell me exactly what it is that makes them think that, but my speech is definitely a factor, though I definitely don’t lisp (at least in the “clathic thenthe”). I also don’t like sports.

Could it be how you spell your surname? :smiley:


To repeat myself, no, this won’t tell you anything at all. The childhood “lithp” and the gay “lissssp” aren’t the same thing. Other than the fact that both involve nonstandard pronunciations of the “s” sound, they have nothing to do with each other.

I don’t remember this at all. slipster, could you provide the chapter?

Well, with the women, their accents are obscured by their constant use of power tools.
Just kidding.

Early Out, where did you get this idea that the gay lisp is sibiliant only? I think the lisp people are imitating is the “classic” one. See the various jokes above and in the link to Cecil’s answer.

I thought I was the only one. I also have this habit of putting my hand on my hip when I talk. Some of the uhh… slower people I’ve known over the years have noted this by making such sophisticated quips as “huhuhuh… dude, you look totally gay, huhuhuh”. Shoulda seen the looks on their faces when I mentioned I didn’t like football.

Anyway, I’m going to chime in and vote for the lisp to be an acquired thing. Of the gay guys I’ve known over the years, only one has had a noticeable lisp, and he was the only one who grew up around a supportive base of other gay individuals, which, I imagine, is where he picked it up.

I’ve known a couple gay men who did lisp. Especially my friend Michael (of the Bancroft Lounge, if you’re out there). He lisped, limp-wristed, tsk’d and would lay the tips of his fingertips gently on your arm when he talked to you. He’s the one person who came closest to tempting me to “try it”, but I just wasn’t interested. My loss, probably.

Hmmmm maybe I shouldn’t have titled this thread the “gay lisp.” Because it’s not always a lisp. But I mean, some guys when they speak just “sound gay,” and usually they are. But what makes a person sound gay? Being gay? Or is it environmentally produced? A lot of people who have responded seem to think that it’s something that’s adopted, but I can’t be so sure, considering that kids often grow up with it (like David Sedaris, I have several friends who were sent to speech classes as children, BEFORE they ever came out of the closet or frequented gay bars).

Maybe my gaydar is just too finely tuned or something. I’m sure other gay people can attest to the fact that little physical indicators take on a lot of meaning when it comes to gaydar: stiffness of the shoulders, the rapidity that someone looks to the ground upon being met with a glance, hands in the pockets, etc, etc, etc.

I don’t know…


Hmmm. Maybe we should form a support group. On second thought, a bunch of gay-acting men getting together to talk about our feelings . . . it might not help our case!

Stiffness of shoulders? Hands in the pockets? :confused: I don’t think I do these things, but I never thought to check. I had no idea they were “gay” things to do.

What I want to know is, why is it impossible for a gay man to whistle?


It’s an old myth that gay men can’t whistle, given some extra weight by being cited in the Ian Fleming novel The Man With the Golden Gun.

Sure, they can blow.


Both Liberace and Rock Hudson whistled.

So only gay men can whistle.
How many of you guys whistled when they first read the “can’t whistle” post, just to be sure? That was the point of James Bond’s line in the above mentioned novel.