Gaydar Goes Half App'd

By Charles Alexander

Parting Glances

I've been told by a high techie source - but perhaps it's just wishful thinking "queersay" - that there's a new app on the market called Gaytection.

Its purpose is to determine at a glance just who might be gay. Correction. Who is gay.

(For some reason of digital failure at manipulation of internal incorporated judgmental criteria, the app does not work in the detection of dykes. I'm told that Gaytection app developers feel that it's not necessary to determine what, to them, is already perceived as obvious.)

Interestingly enough, Gaytection is a big hit with straights who, now that gays have seemingly made such great equality strides, feel its most politically correct and unhesitatingly expedient to tell at a glance who's queer, who's not, who's just pretending.

I don't plan to purchase or - if you'll pardon the expression - download the app. I've been using my God-given gaydar for so long now that I can tell who's gay in a nanosecond, and have received many straight requests to perform this service free of charge in the interest of ecumenical and spiritual considerations (say, to answer questions like, "Is our choir director a fag? Is father so-and-so really celibate?")

Of course what happens whenever social assimilation occurs is that the majority wants in on the action of what's perceived as an up and coming enviable popularity plus on the part of the heretofore marginalized minority. (NOTE: I have a B.A. minor in sociology.)

According to a recent article in Psychology Today ("Gaydar: The Dorian Gray Effect"), fancied cellphone sensors like Gaytection are not necessary. Apparently, straights are now tapping into their own media-acquired gaydar to determine who is and who isn't gay. Safe bet: Adam Lambert. Another: Jim Parsons.

As reported by PT, two psychologists, Nalini Ambady, Tufts University, and Nicholas Rule, University of Toronto, have teamed up to do research on just how much is revealed by ones facial expressions.

Their finding for LGBTs: "The more motivated you are to know someone's orientation, the better your intuition. People who have the sharpest gaydar are gay men and lesbians, naturally, and" - cocktail party tidbit - "ovulating women."

PT continues, "Subjects identify lesbians accurately between 64 and 70 percent of the time; gay men are correctly identified with slightly less reliability in the 60 to 65 percent range."

Tested subjects are shown pictures of gays, lesbians, straights to guess who is homosexual and who isn't. Those who respond with a spontaneous gut reaction are more frequently on the mark, in contrast to those who hesitate in forming a judgment.

So called straight-acquired gaydar doesn't work in certain instances, instances that are often confusing for gays and lesbians as well. "Metrosexuals trigger false alarms; lesbian femmes and gay Marlboro men often ride under the gaydar."

As for judging a book by its cover, Ambady and Rule conclude, "Stereotypically, gay men are more emotionally expressive than straight guys, adopting more female-typical facial movements, and some lesbians may express themselves more like straight men."

Given all the celebs now jumping on the rainbow bandwagon, the simplest thing to do socially is just ask, "What took you so long, Mary?"

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