Is Gaydar Real & How Does It Work?

You walk past someone in the street and even though it only takes a couple of seconds, you can tell that the person was gay just like you. No, he didn’t wave a rainbow flag. His nails weren’t painted, clothes ordinary, face not covered in make-up. He didn’t walk in any particular way. You didn’t hear him speak. But you knew he was gay. Instantly. So why is that a thing? And how exactly does it work?

By official definition, gaydar is the supposed ability to recognize through observation or intuition that a person is gay. In popular culture, the term has become so widespread that even straight people claim to possess the skill. 

It’s In The Eyes

You might have heard the phrase “gay gaze” before. Whether it’s in the street or at a bar or on the bus, there’s always some eye game going on between gay males. No matter how absurd the setting. It never stops. Even if you’re in an exclusive partnership, you still do it. Not necessarily because you’re checking them out as potential partners. There’s simply a deeper understanding between us, gay men, that transcends merely sexual intentions.

Sometimes the eye game is so strong you both look behind once again after you’ve passed each other. I mean, what can we do!


Eyes can often communicate on a deeper level than spoken or body language. From the evolutionary perspective, it only makes sense that we developed the ability to read someone else’s eyes way before we could even speak. The same way we can tell by looking in someone’s eyes that they’re sad or disappointed or angry, we can also guess people’s intentions and motivations from someone’s gaze.

From a social perspective, it makes even more sense that gay men have mastered the skill of reading eyes. When the world around you is so overwhelmingly heteronormative, you will automatically sharpen all your senses to detect a fellow hunty from the crowd. We’ve grown up with stories of princes and princesses. So you bet we notice the prince that won’t rush to save a damsel. Well, maybe he would. But his midnights are already busy!

The Counterarguments

Well, if it’s real. Why does it still fail sometimes? If the phenomenon is so apparent that it can happen everywhere with everyone. And at any time in the weirdest of situations, how can it still sometimes be a miss? And for some, more so than others? 

Well, like with anything intuitional, there is always a chance for failure. Like they say, an exception only proves the rule. Besides, people’s intuition skills are not always equal and gaydar is no different from the rest.

Sometimes, these “actually straight” guys are still closeted to themselves or others. Sometimes the man is bi. In some cases, they really are straight. But that only makes it more exciting. The thrill that he might be gay and might not. Who knows, maybe he wants you? Maybe he’s just looking at you because you’re already looking? You won’t know if you don’t find out!

Objective Cues

Well, most of us don’t need to, because we already own the skill. But sometimes, certain attributes can help you detect it in a more objective way. Limp wrist, gay lisp, fast walk – these stereotypes just tend to be frequent! 

But you might also find out through a conversation. It can be a deep knowledge and passion for pop culture. Or it could be the gay lingo they use (although some straights have picked it up as well, so proceed with caution). Sometimes it’s written in their outfit choices. Well, there’s a lot you can base your judgment on, but we still recommend using gaydar. I mean, if we were given the gift, we better make good use of it!

Gay Ok GIF by Shauna Brooks - Find & Share on GIPHY

So, what do you say? Do you have gaydar? How accurate is it? Share your funniest gaydar story with us on our Instagram or our exclusive Facebook group!  


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