Kids are often told that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Even so, people often believe they can rely on their gut to intuit things about other people. Stereotypes often influence these impressions, whether it’s that a black man is dangerous, a woman won’t be a good leader or a fashionable man is gay.
Stereotypes related to gay men and lesbians often operate under the guise of “gaydar” rather than stereotyping. “Gaydar” (a portmanteau of “gay” and “radar”) is a term that first appeared in the 1980s and refers to a “sixth sense” for identifying who is gay.
Like many purported intuitions, however, gaydar often relies on stereotypes. While many people believe stereotyping is wrong, calling it “gaydar” merely provides a cover for using stereotypical traits – like someone’s fashion sense, profession or hairstyle – to jump to conclusions about someone being gay.
Nonetheless, do you believe the “gaydar” myth?