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March 12, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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Want to know how to recognise queer people in all their glory? First of all, it must be pointed out that only using the limp-wristed or angry feminist stereotypes to tell if someone is gay isn’t the most infallible of plans, because they are stereotypes. By their very nature, they do not allow for the individuality of each and every queer person. We are not our sexualities; they are merely an interesting facet of our own colourful existence.

Gay-dar: The uncanny ability to pick out the gay and lesbian individuals in a crowd, a party, or your bed. Gay people, well, they just feel different. They give off a different vibe, like some sort of mysterious X-factor (or Q-factor, if you will). They hold themselves and interact with others in slightly less than normative ways.

Gay-dar increases the more contact you have with, and experience you have of, queer people. You can start your gay-dar ball rolling by getting others to point out which people are gay, or you can deduce it for yourself. There are subtle (and unsubtle) ways to fi nd out if someone is gay without asking anyone else.

Subtle way: Observe who they have more energy for. Who were they talking to, or who entered the room when they suddenly perked up?

Unsubtle way: Yell, “Oi, you! You like the boys/girlies?”

I’m guilty of using the unsubtle way on more than one occasion. In my defence, it’s really fun. Now, with four years of experience under my belt, I can pick out queer couples walking past on the street – even if they aren’t holding hands! You can often do this by observing their body language. It’s somewhat harder to judge with women, due to our culture allowing females to be freely physically expressive with one another, without sexual implications. However, straight men generally don’t sit or walk as closely together. Or gaze into each other’s eyes. Once you’ve recognised them, it’s compulsory to exchange the secret knowing smile that bonds strangers in the queer community together in a fraction of a second.

The following terms aren’t much in circulation, because I made most of them up. Nonetheless…

: When someone ‘dings’ your gay-dar, but it’s only half a ding. Bisexual people have this half-queer feeling, like you’re pretty sure they are – but then they go and do something straight, like have a long-term boyfriend. They’ll also say things such as, “yeah, I’ve gone down on a girl before.” They send confusing gay and straight messages, but that’s what the message is: both. And that’s how you know.

A-dar: Asexuality is very much misunderstood, and I shall talk more about it later. But for now, you can tell an asexual by what they talk about. Or, rather, a lack of what they talk about. They don’t talk about sex. They don’t make jokes about sex. They don’t comment on a third party’s sexual appeal. And they seem to exhume this creepy, innocent quality. I say creepy because innocence isn’t a quality that you see often around university. Naughty, sexy place that it is.

r: To all the straight people who feel compelled to announce their heterosexuality upon suddenly finding themselves in a queer environment: relax. We know. You lack the queer vibe, but that’s okay. We don’t like to discriminate.

Homophobe-dar: The recognition of those who exhibit conservative views towards homosexuality. (Also, certain types of straight males, but I’ll let you figure that one out for yourself.)

Drag-dar: Okay, now I’m just making them up as I go along. But you can tell if that tall, handsome woman you’re dancing with is actually a man by the broader shoulders, bigger hands and feet, stronger calf muscles and jaw, and the Adam’s apple. Another give-away is if she’s wearing a lot of make-up.

Now that you’re armed with new information – don’t use it for evil. Don’t hassle someone to come out just because you’re, like, totally sure that they’re gay.

You’re not the boss of their gayness. You can’t bully someone into accepting that they love the cock/pussy/some combination of the two – it’ll only have a reverse psychology effect, and push them back into the mental closet, for who knows how many years. Wait patiently for them to realise it themselves. And when they’ve finally come out, you can taunt them with how you knew, all along.

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