February 1, 2024

Why Do People Say You Look Gay?

As a gay man, you probably know that there are some people who will assume that you're gay just by looking at you. Whether it's for your facial hair, your style or the way you dress, it can be frustrating when people make snap judgments about your sexuality and are quick to point out any flaws in your appearance.

On today's TALK OF THE NATION, our guest is Eliza Byard from the LGBT Education Network. She has a listener who is being told by their friends that they think they look gay, and it's making them feel insecure and is having a negative impact on their self-esteem.

This is a common problem for LGBTQIA+ people, and it's partly because of the language around this issue. For example, "that's so gay" was once a generalized insult that didn't have anything to do with homosexuality. But now, it's become a pejorative that refers to anything that isn't straight. And many people use this term to put someone down, and it's especially harmful to younger children who may not understand the connection between being gay and being an outsider.

One study found that even perceivers who have been explicitly trained not to use this term could still identify a man's orientation just by viewing details like his face, eyes or mouth. That's why it's so important to be respectful when someone says 'you look gay' and try to have a discussion about it with them.


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