In news that shouldn’t really shock anybody currently alive in the 21st Century, the ability to spot a person’s sexuality based on their appearance and mannerisms (a ‘skill’ commonly known as having a 'gaydar', and one which people weirdly pride themselves on) is actually a load of hoo-ha.
According to a study by the psychology department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, when people employ their ‘Gaydar what they’re actually doing is pointlessly stereotyping people. Something that we can all probably agree is quite a dick move in this day and age.
Lead author William Cox explains: “Most people think of stereotyping as inappropriate, but if you’re not calling it ‘stereotyping,’ if you’re giving it this other label and camouflaging it as ‘Gaydar’ it appears to be more socially and personally acceptable.”
The study found that when participants were lead to believe that ‘Gaydar’ was a legitimate thing in made them a lot more prone to stereotyping their peers and arguably, slightly worse human beings.
“If you tell people they have 'Gaydar', it legitimises their use of stereotypes. There was a subset of people who were personally very prejudiced, but they didn’t want other people to think that they were prejudiced. They tended to express prejudice only when they could get away with it.”
So there you have it – if we encourage the use of stereotypes we make people more prejudiced and in turn the world becomes a slightly sadder place so let’s all quit it with the pointless stereotyping.