Do you have the uncanny ability to spot homosexuals via your amazing “gaydar?” Well, it turns out that “gaydar” doesn’t actually exist, and you’re just a stereotype-peddling bigot! Or at least that’s what University of Wisconsin-Madison psychologist William Cox is suggesting.
According to Cox, previous research studies claiming that “gaydar” actually exists were flawed because the pictures of gay men and lesbians that were used were of a higher quality than those of their straight counterparts. After adjustments were made to control for the difference, the study’s participants lost their supposed ability to tell gay from straight.
“Most people think of stereotyping as inappropriate,” Cox said. “But if you’re not calling it ‘stereotyping,’ if you’re giving it this other label and camouflaging it as 'gaydar,’ it appears to be more socially and personally acceptable.”
Cox also cited the fact that straights outnumber gays by such a wide margin as a reason people’s supposed use of “gaydar” is flawed.
“Imagine that 100 percent of gay men wear pink shirts all the time, and 10 percent of straight men wear pink shirts all the time,” Cox said. “Even though all gay men wear pink shirts, there would still be twice as many straight men wearing pink shirts. So, even in this extreme example, people who rely on pink shirts as a stereotypic cue to assume men are gay will be wrong two-thirds of the time.”
Right or wrong, I’ve always understood “gaydar” to be more than simply looking at someone’s picture or noticing pink clothing. It’s a feeling you get after interacting with someone in the real world. So while “gaydar” may or may not exist, I’m not sure how this study, as it was explained, completely disproves it.
Of course, it’s possible I’m just an ignorant bigot who is making excuses for “gaydar” because I’m unwilling to expand my narrow hetero-normative worldview. But isn’t it also possible that this anti-gaydar study was secretly funded by certain high-ranking members of the Church of Scientology who set off people’s gaydar?
Nah, I’m probably just being a bigot.
Source: (The Washington Post)