I reckon I’m pretty good as spotting my own kind – gays that is, well, and columnists – they tend to have their picture next to the article. But after a few failed attempts at guessing which team someone bats for, I’ve come to the realisation that gaydar is fucked.
Aside from that rare occasion when a stranger who has the same things in their pants as you, stares longingly into your eyes, or boobs – most of the time we’re judging someone’s sexual orientation on simplistic, stereotypical “gay” characteristics. Effiminate man = totes gay. Butch woman = dyke-o-rama. You know what I mean. We’re all guilty of it.
Accurate gaydar would require homos to be the sexuality equivalent of a McDonalds cheeseburger – looking, tasting and smelling the same everywhere. While I once craved that shit, my grown up taste buds now demand a whole lot more.
Some of us do wear our rainbow hearts on our sleeves, or literally have them tattooed there, but others easily slip under the, ummm, gaydar.
Gaydar is blind to diversity, and in a society that loves to pigeonhole, we queers should know better than shoving someone in the sparkly gay box because of a few familiar traits.
Sexuality is complex whether you’re into boys, girls, porn, kink, all of the above, or nothing at all.
My case in point is Ian Thorpe. Sure he gives off gay vibes – the slightly affected voice, the designer clothes, the feminine mannerisms and a soft, gentle hand which I was lucky enough to shake the other day – but the dude says he’s not gay so we need to respect that.
I can remember backpacking through Paris just after I’d come out and this sleazy Frenchman kept telling me that I’d like men if I just let him make love to me. Ewww. There’s nothing more frustrating than when someone claims to know you better than you know yourself.
Admittedly I didn’t realise I was gay until I was 21, even though folks later bragged they’d known all along. But I wasn’t lying about my sexuality before then, I just hadn’t discovered it yet.
Some folks reckon Thorpie’s in denial, but really, who are we to judge? Straight, gay, bi or asexual – the dude’s an exceptional human – and I hope he has a happy life.
INFO: You can follow Monique Schafter on Twitter @MoniqueSchafter