Gaydar is the so-called intuitive ability of a person to assess other people’s sexual orientation. All of us have come across statements that intuition one has about another person; but is it real that someone with their intuition can figure out if an individual is homosexual or heterosexual or bisexual.
Off late, Gaydar is one of the fair subjects in the LGBT community that has stirred a controversy. A few say that Gaydar is real and others have claimed that it is a myth made of LGBT stereotypes in response to minimal information, such as the way someone dresses, walks, or talks.
Earlier in 2019, a study ‘Archives of Sexual Behavior’ was published in the University of Toronto. The study had reviewed the scientific literature of the topic Gaydar. The study revealed that most of the scientific study about gaydar suggests that it is just an idea that has its focus on detecting sexual orientation from looking at an image or picking up on the individual movements and speech patterns. The study had various tests and screenings done to land on an accurate result.
During this study, people were asked to carefully make sexuality judgements based on their determinations. At the end of the study, the researchers found out that the gaydar that people used to identify one’s sexuality often lacked insight when they have very minimal information. But they also found a fascinating information that the women’s gaydar was more accurate when they were ovulating. Put another way, when women are at peak fertility, their ability to distinguish men who are gay from those who are straight seems to improve.
Also, the study revealed that when people were given an opportunity to guess one’s sexuality based on a spectrum such as using the Kinsey scale or Langdon’s scale or the Purple-Red scale of sexuality, they found out that the gaydar only distinguishes heterosexual from non-heterosexual, meaning it doesn’t necessarily help when it comes to making more fine-grained determinations such as knowing if the person is bisexual or queer. The research found out that the gaydar was an imperfect tool to identify one’s sexuality and it would not be possible with people’s intuitive to determine one’s sexual identity under the wide spectrum of sexualities.
LGBTQ rights groups decried the research, saying it’s based in pseudoscience and poses a danger to members of the LGBTQ community around the world. Other researchers in psychology decried it as physiognomy, the long-defunct pseudoscience of attributing personality traits to physical characteristics.