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There’s a near-empty bottle of Red Square vodka, an untouched VUWSA diary, some dark green skinnies, an unauthorised Justin Bieber biography ($2.00 HOT PRICE sticker still attached), an unopened Bounty Bar, Beyoncé’s 4 album, and the Skins seasons 1-4 box set sitting on my desk. Yeah, I’m a hedonistic alcoholic with a penchant for vicariously living the lives of British teenagers and coconut-themed chocolate bars. And I fucking love Beyoncé.
More to the point, you’ve probably already judged me based upon that meagre selection of things, and (disregarding the fact I’m writing Bent) your ‘gaydar’ might be beeping to hell and back. How many straight dudes own a Justin Bieber biography? How many love Beyoncé enough to add the accent to the ‘e’? How many manage to fit the word ‘Beyoncé’ four times total into the first two paragraphs of any given column? To quote a New Zealand hip-hop great: not many, if any.
Ignore, for the moment, my predilection for referencing Scribe, and my embracing of what are probably the less refined elements of camp, and you’ll see this whole thing was just an awkward segue into Bent’s final, random romp of the year: gaydars (vaguely).
A portmanteau of “gay” and “radar”, for those not in the know, ‘gaydar’ is the ability of people to assess the sexual orientations of others. The assessments are based upon non-verbal clues, including oft-stereotypical tastes, styles, social behaviours and mannerisms. But, as explained by hilarious homo Hannah Hart, of YouTube’s My Drunk Kitchen webseries, things are becoming less black-and-white: “with the advent of hipsters, us homos are in constant states of camouflage … I can just never tell anymore, and probably never again.”
Indeed, we’re continually seeing what were previously telltale signs of queerdom converting suddenly into mainstream fashion. Dudes are shamelessly wearing loafers sans-socks. Radical undercuts abound. Girls are shaving the sides of their heads and piercing their tongues ad nauseam. Frankly, all this hoohah is causing confusion for some still reliant on their gaydars in the proverbial playing field.
But I can’t have my cake and eat it too. It’s excellent that we’re progressing towards a society where people nonchalantly push the envelopes of gender and sexual expression, entirely without concern for their genders or sexualities. We’re becoming less prejudiced, as a big, swirling mass of people, and even if hipsters are fucking with my gaydar, I shan’t complain.
I take comfort knowing that I’ve been lucky enough to grow up in the 1990s. Previous generations of queers were oppressed for merely expressing the fact that they were up for a bit of same-sex coitus—something as simple as an earring in the left or right ear, or a handkerchief in the back pocket. A secret fashion fuck-me code. Gaydars, I suppose, come from a place of necessity in the past. But are they redundant now?
Well, stereotyping is not an entirely redundant way of identifying who might be homo. For example—it’s pretty reasonable to get involved with musical theatre if you’re looking for a hotbed of gays. Or student politics/Young Labour, for that matter. Heading down to the Roller Derby will probably find you a few more lesbians than going to the rugby (but only by a few). Everything’s changed; so what can we do now to find queers in a crowd?
We can talk about our sexualities. This is homosexuality in the 21st century, after all. Stereotyping is so 1997. It’s no longer necessary to adhere to a particular code of fashion, involve yourself with a particular group, or perform particular social mannerisms in an effort to get laid. Sexual empowerment doesn’t simply mean to live out your sexual identity as flamingly as possible, but to do so, rather, in whatever manner that suits you.
PS: come to the UniQ Formal at Club Ivy this Friday—check the notices section for more details. And remember Bent’s advice until we return next year: go forth, flirt shamelessly, and pash some babes. <3 *