"gaydar", another gayspeak term, is the joining of the words "gay" and "radar" and means.. well, what you can probably discern from those two words (and the other writeups on this page). granted, it should be called "queerdar" due to its scope (it is, after all, not used solely on gay men) but, hey, it's a catchy-sounding term. so, whatever. it's not unusual for it to be substituted with "bi-dar" (the ability to detect "bisexuals") every now and then.. but this substitution is usually made by bisexual people. perhaps it'd be best to just call it 'dar, as a catch-all phrase.

the question remains, however, if gaydar is merely recognition by sight/sound or by some other indefinable sense.

well, there are definitely certain visual clues that'll tell you (like the inverted pink triangle shirts that guy you've been wondering about in the office wears or the telling bodylanguage he affects) and sometimes even audio clues (a certain lilt or affected gruffness in the voice or use of a particular diction). unfortunately, these clues usually can run concurrent with popular fads and styles, stereotypes, or the person's level of openmindedness.. and so what one's gaydar might reveal may, in actuality, just be speculation. this is learned gaydar. this is the kind of gaydar that an otherwise straight person can acquire.

then there's also the indefinable, otherworldly sense possessed by a vast majority of gay people (despite what you might think, not all gay people have gaydar.. sad, really). it's kind of like picking up a vibe. or feeling a kind of deja vu or secret familiarity. it's like going "heh, i know yer secret". this is inherent gaydar. straight people rarely ever acquire this and only after prolonged exposure to members of the gay community.

it should be noted that gaydar is not 100% fool-proof (despite what some tired old bitchy queen may tell you) nor does every queer register as a blip on each individual's gaydar. otherwise, the phenomenon of gay boys falling for or accidentally going after straight boys would not happen so readily.

I always explain gaydar to people this way:

When I see or meet someone new, I'll often get a sense about them, part empathy, part bottom of the barrel impressions from my "conventional" senses. These flashes often give me an intuition about a person. This sense or skill or whatever has been very useful in my life.

Whenever that sense tells me, "It takes one to know one", that's when I define the sense as my gaydar going off.

Perhaps not surprisingly, most people have a similar skill. Most call it simple intuition, but a lot of people ignore it, because intuition often seems, on the surface, baseless.

Since gaydar is, to me, based on intuition, and my gaydar is usually very reliable, I'm forced to wonder if people's intuitive sense is as strong as mine, and what I did to place such trust in my own intuition.

In addition to its psychological definition, the Gaydar is also the name of a small, keychain-sized electronic device produced by the Toronto-based company Gaydar Direct.

At about 2.5" x 1.5", it is about the size of a car remote, and is designed to send out radio signals to other similar devices. The device, obviously, is designed to be worn by homosexuals, who wish to identify and meet others of the same sexual orientation while preventing potentially awkward situations before they occur. When the Gaydar comes within about 20 feet of another activitated device, it vibrates quietly, letting its user know that another of the same orientation is nearby.

The device sells for about $70 each. More information is available here, which appears to be the product's official website: http://members.tripod.com/~marco_santoro/index.htm

Gaydar is also the world's biggest online gay commmunity website, linking gay users across the world in a spirit of freedom, tolerance and.... well, actually it's just a personals site. A very good one though.

Gaydar splits each participant country down into a group of regions to which users belong. Users may submit many photos, and can message, email and phone other users. When visiting other users' profiles, you leave "tracks" so they can see that you've visited, and respond accordingly. It's demographic is quite balanced, with roughly equal people from the age ranges 18-30, 30-40, 40-50, 50-60 and 60+; slightly fewer users fall in the 40-50 age bracket, for some reason.

It is quite a central part of the gay culture in the UK, where the website started some years back; often gay men will swop Gaydar profiles along with mobile numbers; the site is particularly popular among university LGBT societies.

Gaydar has become so successful and profitable that it has launched its own radio station, playing a wide range of music, mostly gay bar-style anthemic dance tunes. It broadcasts live from G-A-Y Club in Soho (Britain's biggest gay bar) on certain nights, and is easily more popular than its only credible competitor, Purple Radio.

The site's url is www.gaydar.com. A sample Gaydar profile (ie, mine!) is at http://mygaydar.com/ajwazzer.

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