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Do We Need Gaydar Anymore?

This is a fascinating idea: what if we don’t need gaydar anymore because being considered gay is no longer a big deal and because people are now fairly forthcoming—and laissez faire—about their sexuality? This is the interesting premise of an OK article recently published on the subject.

The story maps out a few people’s experiences, mostly from the male gay gaze, from a slightly down-low lawyer to Margaret Cho to some server who is obviously included in this article to promote his “comedic” Tumblr. The conversation gets at how asking or being asked about your sexuality is kind of fun now, inspiring reactions like “I wish.” for those who aren’t and “Never!” from those who are. Here’s why:

In a world in which a wedding ring or a desktop photo of children is no longer a signifier of heterosexuality, the question is being asked with what seems increasing frequency. Freedom almost always comes at a price: If, in the last decade, an increased tolerance of homosexuality has reduced the stigma of that sexual orientation, this reduced stigma has also emboldened more people, both gay and straight, to ask what they now view as a less-volatile question.

The other thing that is great is a mentality that I have always adopted, which comes from the most sane person in the article: the lawyer. Here are his thoughts on if he cannot figure out someone’s sexuality.

“If I can’t figure it out,” the Egyptian lawyer said, “then I know it will reveal itself in time.” Or, more complicated but not impossible, you can put yourself in Ms. Cho’s orbit. “In my world,” she said, “everyone is gay and they remain gay until proven otherwise. I assume homosexuality always.”

Bingo: that’s exactly it. What would be more interesting in this story that is untouched is that the new question, one that I deal with a lot and that I feel most urbanites are now faced with, is what gender someone is. That will be the new defining question, one that is supremely difficult—and inappropriate—to just blurt out. As with sexuality, let the person reveal any identity you question themselves: don’t ask.

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