The death of gaydar? Not so fast, Mary

In a rather angry piece over at Salon, Daniel D’Addario savages Dan Savage and me, among others, for our “quasi-outing” of anti-gay GOP Congressman Aaron Schock.

D’Addario claims he doesn’t necessarily oppose outing.  Rather, he opposes any attempt to deduce one’s sexual orientation short of catching them in the sack in flagrante delicto.

gayness-seen-from-spaceD’Addario, whether he directly admits it or not, has a problem with the notion of “gaydar” – the ability to discern some else’s sexual orientation by small signals not always obvious to the common man.  And D’Addaorio isn’t alone.  Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed was quoted this morning making a similar claim about how wrong it was to attempt to deduce if Cong. Schock was gay based on his pants, or the way he speaks, or whether he’s bff on Twitter with a gay “personal trainer” who pines to do a gay porn film and then summarily deletes his account when the connection to Schock goes public.

Not gay, say D’Addaorio and Geidner.  Not very “heterosexual anti-gay Republican congressman” either, say I.

But it’s not just them.  There’s been a slowly-growing trend for a while now, often by younger gays, but not always, to suggest that gaydar not only does not exist, but that the very notion of it is offensive and constitutes “bullying.”


First Geidner, then D’Addario.  Here’s Geidner:

[A] group of several gay journalists and activists on Twitter — including Dan SavageMichelangelo SignorileJohn Aravosis and Josh Barro — have decided that mocking Schock for exhibiting stereotypically gay attributes, like caring about his clothes and body, or following Daley on Instagram is the way of dealing with him. This is the same sort of behavior that the same people have said is harmful when it happens to closeted LGBT kids in schools. And, when I look at this happening publicly, I know that those closeted kids could be seeing it too. If it’s harmful for those kids to see athletes say anti-LGBT things, how isn’t it harmful for them to see prominent out people teasing Schock for his pants?

I dealt with the ridiculous suggestion, that mocking a congressman’s clothing is akin to punching a teenage lesbian in the face, here. And will deal in a moment with Geidner’s suggestion that you can never draw any inference about someone’s sexual orientation by the way they dress.

Here’s D’Addario:

This is nothing new; Dan Savage, three months before starting the It Gets Better project, called Schock’s clothing “flaming.”

Schock’s clothing is flaming.

aaron-schock-white-house-clothes aaron-schock-plaid-pants-smalker

And Dan and I and others don’t find Schock’s absurdly-gay clothing funny because gay stuff is funny.  We were mocking how terrible Schock’s taste in clothing is – I mean seriously, that belt and those tight pants – and, more importantly, we were mocking the irony of a 100% anti-gay congressman dressing like a 100% (albeit smalltown) gay.

D’Addario continues:

Outing is important — still. In the case of politicians, it can expose hypocrisy like that of Schock’s consistent votes against gay marriage equality… were Schock gay. But a different sort of hypocrisy has been exposed by tittering gay journalists, a group of people who took a break from describing just how awful bullying is to mock perceived effeminacy and vanity.

aaron-schock-men's-healthNo one mocked anyone’s effeminacy.  Noting effeminacy as one component of a larger picture that informs one’s gaydar is not “mockery.”  It’s a simple fact that often, but not always, paints a portion of the larger picture.  As for vanity, hell yeah we mocked Aaron’s Schock’s vanity.  What sane member of Congress poses for muscle magazines, and seems to have an endless supply of glamour shots to post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and beyond? And last time I checked, vanity was not a virtue.

Is being gay just about sex?

D’Addario continues:

The liberal AMERICAblog ran a list of Schock’s “gayest” Instagram photos (none of which depict him having homosexual sex, the thing that makes a person gay).

Woah, just a second there, Mary.  The only way to figure out if someone is gay is by finding a picture of them having “homosexual sex”?  (Not to mention, “homosexual sex” – what is this, the 1950s?)  You mean if, hypothetically speaking, Aaron Schock’s only Facebook friends were 1,000 gay male hustlers, that wouldn’t raise a few homosexual eyebrows?  And, short of seeing a photo of Aaron Schock doing the nasty, no one could ever discern if he were gay or straight?

So what Geidner and D’Addario are saying is that no one can hazard a guess as to whether this guy was gay:

Or this guy:

Or this guy:

And if you do hazard a guess, you’re an anti-gay bigot.  Or sexist.  Or something.

D’Addario then throws a few barbs at Josh Barro:

Business Insider’s Josh Barro probed Schock’s Instagram follow list, and raised an eyebrow at the fact Schock follows Tom Daley, an openly bisexual Olympic athlete.

But the willingness to fixate on how “gay-acting” someone is means nothing other than that the writer has a prurient sort of bloodlust.

It’s not bloodlust, but it is damn queer that a Baptist Republican member of Congress with a 100% anti-gay voting record follows only 72 people on Instagram, and only one Olympic athlete, and the athlete he happens to follow is newly-out 19 year old Olympic diver Tom Daley, whose hotter than hell and the current subject of lust of a few hundred million gay men worldwide.  And what’s even queerer, is that after we’d reported this first on AMERICAblog, Schock locked up his Instagram account so that only followers could see it, and then Schock quietly un-“followed” Daley.

Is gaydar the gay appendix?

AMERICAblog reader Strepsi made an interesting observation in an earlier post about why it might be that younger gays in particular are so offended by, and don’t believe in, the concept of gaydar. Strepsi was responding to my comment about how younger gays don’t believe that you can tell if someone is gay simply by seeing them, talking to them, etc.

Here’s my speculation about why the younger writers might not be able to tell [if someone is gay]: they’ve never experienced the closet. It is from the closet that we gay people became expert observers of gender performance and human performance, because we were forced to do it, often in fear of our lives. So we can tell when someone is hiding something, when the look lingers too long, when the eyes give someone away. Maybe people who never have to live in the closet have lost that level of very close, coded observation.

Fascinating observation.  Another reader, Keirmeister, noted that when it meant the difference between getting a date and a fist in the face, you got pretty adept at reading the tea leaves as to whether the hot guy in the bar next to you was gay or straight:

Heck, outside of some gay-friendly establishments, a well-tuned gaydar can be the difference between having your advances met with a “no thank you” or getting beaten up.

Is it possible that, with gay rights advancing on every front, evolution has done away with gaydar in the younger generation, relegating it to unnecessary-vestigial-organ status, like the appendix?

Whither queer culture?

Fabian Igiraneza, a student at the University of Cape Town, included me in an email chain about the Salon story, and noted the following (reprinted with permission) about D’Addario’s notion of there-is-no-gay-without-gay-sex:

If you’re celibate (by choice or not) or in a sexless relationship — are you no longer gay? Does queer culture have no value in and of itself? Is it only about the sexual act?

And there’s the rub.  This isn’t about bullying.  It’s about a certain segment of the gay community that no longer believes in queer culture at all.  And perhaps it is a sign of the times.  When I came of (gay) age in the 1990s, gaydar wasn’t just fun, it was a necessity.  And a lot of us got awfully good at reading the tea leaves.  (Though, honestly, it’s not terribly difficult with some people, as evidenced by the videos above.)

Gay culture exists.  And that culture includes verbal expressions, taste in music and clothing, and more.  Are we to believe that gay men don’t pick up culture ticks from each other in the way they dress, and talk, and act?  And that therefore, a third party couldn’t identity those cultural ticks from the outside?

Puhleez, gurl.

Whither the gay gene

It’s also ironic that, in an age where more and more scientific evidence points to the existence of a gay gene, that an increasing number of gay people do not believe in the phenotypic expression of that gene.  It’s somehow an insult, to some, to suggest that maybe the gay gene expresses itself in some, but not all, in ways that go beyond who they gravitate to in love and sex.

I remember when my mother visited me in Washington, DC for the first time after I’d come out to her.  We ran into a number of my male friends on the street, many gay, but not all.  And mom immediately asked me, after each encounter, if the person in question was gay.  After a while, she guessed all by herself that one friend was gay.  I asked her how, and she said: “There’s just something softer in their features.”

Genes for gender express themselves in ways that go far beyond the sex organs.  So why is it so hard to believe that genes for sexual orientation do the same?  Again, not in all cases, but in many.

I’m not afraid of effeminacy or flamboyance – are you?

I grew up in a gay generation when you weren’t afraid of being effeminate or flamboyant.  And neither you were afraid of calling out the queen next door for being the same.  There’s almost a form of internalized homophobia in some of the expressions of horror we’re hearing about the notion that gay culture, and gay genes, dare not express themselves in any way, shape or form that “acts gay.”

Perhaps it’s a bit of backlash from high school bullying.  Those of us who couldn’t hide, and even those of us who could, were made fun of for alleged gay mannerisms. And maybe it’s hard for some gays to understand that not everyone who notes the gay way you talk, or the gay way you dress, is necessarily saying it’s a bad thing.  They’re simply observing an objective fact.

Which takes us back to Aaron Schock.  Not that with a 100% anti-gay voting record he’s earned the right to be defended here, because he hasn’t.  If folks want to talk about bullying, we don’t have to go any farther than the legislative bullying that Schock and his ilk perpetrate on gay and trans Americans every day in the halls of Congress.  I think the man has earned a little mockery, and then some.

(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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225 Responses to “The death of gaydar? Not so fast, Mary”

  1. annatopia says:

    obviously rep. elliott only has missionary style sex. poor girl. she’s missing out.

  2. The_Fixer says:

    Yeah, timncguy, you better be careful. The big book of myths says that you might get mauled by bears in the name of the Lord if you mention it again.


  3. Stev84 says:

    “From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.”

    — 2 Kings 2:23-24

  4. The_Fixer says:

    I was amazed to learn that stuff. It started with me getting to know a few guys (the aforementioned “mostly straight guys) who are half my age, and being drawn into their circle through happenstance.

    At first I was confused – I thought that they were bisexual, and later observed that they weren’t. I wondered just what the hell was going on here? Through some reading, I discovered this “mostly straight” thing. From there, I discovered the G0y thing. It was all a revelation to me. Previously, I never considered that there could be such guys; the thinking was that a person is either gay, bi, or straight. Of course I knew about the emotional parts of gay, bi and straight relationships, but never thought to separate the emotional, physical and sexual components of such relationships in a way that reflects how things really are.

    And I learned it through the Internet. Apparently, there’s more to it than trolls in comment sections and right-wing conspiracy sites :) Imagine that!

  5. cole3244 says:

    thanks, i’ve been expressing this opinion for decades and the looks aren’t quite so skeptical now.

  6. karmanot says:

    could happen :-)

  7. ChrisDC says:

    Well, I hope I at least made you smile. And I’ll keep paying it forward. But please don’t talk about me nailing anything unless you’re asking me out. 70’s the new 40, Michael. :-)

  8. karmanot says:

    I’ve learned something here.

  9. karmanot says:

    Couldn’t agree more!

  10. karmanot says:

    Closer to 70 Chris, and thank you for those thoughts. You nailed it exactly, it’s all about paying it forward. peace, Michael

  11. karmanot says:

    “Bay City Rollers” OMG! I just knew you were fabulous! :-).

  12. Strepsi says:

    Daniel D’Addario’s article could not be more wrong. And @ JOHN ARRAVOSIS – I don’t even think you got to the worst part of why “none of which depict him having homosexual sex, the thing that makes a person gay” is so offensive: it reduces gay men to a sex act, which is one of the very worst traits of the very worst homophobes.

    Like how homophobes see two men holding hands and think about the buttsecks. Like New Hampshire state Rep. Nancy Elliott wants to repeal same-sex marriage because “we’re talking about taking the penis of a man and putting it in the rectum of another man and wriggling it around in excrement. And you have to think, would I want that to be done to ME?”

    Being gay does not equal sex. And being married definitely does not equal sex (ba-dum BUM!)

    But honestly, when I was young, I was in love with Derek from the Bay City Rollers. Did I imagine lube and penetration? Of COURSE NOT, I was EIGHT YEARS OLD! I was in love with him. A gay identity is an all-encompassing identity statement about who you are attracted to… who you love.

    Reductionism also ignores fluid sexuality. I have known straight men who have received the occasional blow job from a gay rooommate. They have had “homosexual sex” but would never take a gay identity statement, because they are not gay. They may be a Kinsey 2 or 3, but are not gay. By the same token, I have known flaming capital-G flaming Gay men, flaming in every way, who have never had gay sex at all! Daniel D’Addario could not be more wrong.

  13. Strepsi says:

    Well at least we can help people not dress gay:

  14. Strepsi says:

    Honey, get down off the cross, we need the wood.

    (Again, I don’t care where you’re from, no straight man would make this post.)

  15. Guest says:

    Honey, get down off the cross, we need the wood.

    (Again, I don’t care where you’re from, no straight man would make this post.)

  16. Strepsi says:

    The evidence is in the espadrilles. Or the fact that he knows the word espadrilles. Did you even read the posts?

  17. Strepsi says:

    @ JOHN ARAVOSIS: Well said. And I’ve been quoted in Americablog! Made my week!

    ^ P.S. not just mannerisms: no straight man would post that GIF. ;)

  18. sane37 says:

    Sometimes self-deprecation can soften the blows of an otherwise hard life.

  19. dcinsider says:

    It occurred to me today, several days after this story went viral, that not a single woman has come forward to say she has dated Rep. Schock, or to insist that he is straight. We know he knows what’s going on because he lockdown his Instagram account, so we also know that his political allies are keenly aware that he is the subject of considerable debate. Normally, at this stage, carefully orchestrated past girlfriends would be posting that he was their lover, and that he is definitely not gay. The fact that not a single such lady has presented herself makes this all the more interesting.

    Rather than people demanding proof that this guy is indeed gay, how about the reverse?

    Prove that he’s straight.

    Where’s those pictures?

  20. dcinsider says:

    OK love the “Advise and Consent” reference. Great book and movie, a must see for all poli-sci types.

  21. ChrisDC says:

    OK, that just infuriates me. And John can tell you how hard it is to infuriate me. John never fails to “own” what he does. Ask Dr. Laura. (John’s and my disagreements on public policy consist largely of him telling me that I’m too slow to get infuriated.) But John is NOT trying to “force” Congressman Schock to come out. He is solely holding the Congressman accountable for his public policy positions. And, well, his choices in pants. Whether Aaron Schock is gay or straight, the combination of his votes and his pants make him fair game.

  22. ChrisDC says:

    And you saved my life in the process. I don’t know, but I’m betting you’re at least in your 50’s. I just turned 50 and, from Harvey Milk getting elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors just after I figured out that I’m gay, to the non-discrimination policy where I went to school, to the (straight) Congressman I worked for, at every step along the way in my life I found that people like you had already paved the way for me to be me. And not just gay, but happy.

    I hope I’ve managed to pay that forward from time to time, but I can’t help but say, “Thank you,” too. (Luckily, I can multitask.)

  23. cole3244 says:

    don’t get me started, golf courses, the biggest waste of land & water in america.

  24. JayRandal says:

    Final consensus Schock is a self-loathing GOPer Gay guy. He has to hate himself to get approval of Boehner to stay in Congress. As hypocrite he deserves to be exposed repeatedly. End of comments.

  25. Vance Decker says:

    Isn’t Matt already out?

  26. AnthonyLook says:

    I suggest a fund raiser. American Blog should offer its readers a list of the top 10 Right Wing Nuts that need to be out; example- Matt Drudge. Fifty percent of donations will go to American Blog and the other 50% to a private investigator to conduct interviews, pictures, stalk…until a story materializes one way or the other. There can be a graft chart that depict the total amount generated by the right wing lifestyle traitor involved. Gaydar is not dead, it just needs marketing.

  27. ChrisDC says:

    The whole “gaydar” thing, as you point out, can’t be dismissed. I think we can agree that it’s not definitive, but people claiming that it doesn’t exist are stupid.

    Pardon me for saying this, John, but when we were introduced to each other a little over 23 years ago by a mutual friend, I would never have guessed that you’re gay if she hadn’t told me in advance. (Whether you would have known that I’m gay without her telling you is a separate question which I’m not in a position to judge.)

    That matchmaking attempt didn’t work but, wow, did you go on and do some amazing things for the community, or what?

  28. Bomer says:

    As a gay guy that was yelled at frequently by his older brother for having effeminate gestures (“Stiffen your wrist. Point, don’t flip your hand like that…”), yeah, I agree with you about the mannerisms and other unintentional tells.

  29. Vance Decker says:

    Is that a Dalek?

  30. heimaey says:

    Get over it Jews!

  31. Dave954 says:

    A shot of irony and I’d welcome comments. It’s often seemed to me that those gays who denegrate gay stereotypes (oh so many!) are just expressing their own homophobia, almost a type of horizontal violence. Yes? We’ve a rich, DIVERSE gay culture.

  32. Sharon says:

    How could you have forgotten Alan Suess!

  33. Monoceros Forth says:

    Or they think that merely slinging crude racist or sexist insults is “humor” and that if you call them out on it you’re just showing you can’t take a joke.

  34. evodevo says:

    He’s either gay or Vlad Putin’s cousin ….

  35. evodevo says:

    Conservatives in general lack a sense of humor – especially as regards satire, irony, etc. etc. I’ve noticed that among my right wing relatives and friends. It really is almost like they lack a humor gene! I guess that’s why Colbert befuddles them so.

  36. The_Fixer says:

    Oh, these guys are not “rough trade” – they don’t want to have sex with guys. It’s strictly an emotional thing.

    Where the confusion comes in is the societal expectation of what a straight guy is supposed to be. That expectation, or definition, says that straight guys have buddies with whom they like to go fishing, car races, etc. But that expectation is that a straight guy will never share his feelings with his buddies, nor would he want any more physical contact than a handshake or a slap on the back (or butt, if you’re a jock). These straight guys go counter to that expectation as they’re not hesitant to show affection physically – hugging, cuddling in some cases – but nothing sexual. To some people, they are regarded as gay. The societal expectation also puts them as either gay or “not exactly straight”, if you will.

    That’s why they call themselves “mostly straight”. They don’t fit the traditional mold of a straight guy as it has been presented to them. It’s really a misnomer, because they really are straight sexually, but not afraid to show affection to their male friends (maybe even have a “guy crush” on one of their friends), and share their emotions with male friends more easily than say, their fathers or grandfathers ever would think of sharing.

    It’s really very similar to the emotional component of a gay relationship, without sex, of course. If such a relationship ever goes beyond sexual experimentation, then we’re probably talking bisexuality, of course.

    So they’re really not so much “rough trade” as they are more connected emotionally than most straight guys.

    Rough traders are either gay or bisexual. These guys are sexually straight. Emotionally? That’s a bit more complicated.

    If you want to get into a further graduation of the emotional/sexual scale, there’s <a href="http://"; "G0ys". They are like the “mostly straight” guys, but have minimal sexual contact with other “g0ys”. They draw the line at anal sex – and vehemently object if you call them gay. Some have quite a bit of animosity toward gay people, in fact. I think there’s a lot of repressed gayness with “g0ys”. But, I suppose we could talk quite a bit about that whole thing. I think they’re in denial, myself.

  37. LanceThruster says:

    And then there’s this…


  38. usagi says:

    No one is suggesting otherwise. But they know that other gay people do exist (I can think of at least of a half dozen friends my age who’ve said they thought they were the only gay who ever existed anywhere when they were a kid). Their reruns don’t consist of Uncle Arthur on Bewitched. They see Jack on Will and Grace. IGB videos and LYRIC are a smart phone away. They know there’s a way out, and they don’t even have to leave their state and go to NYC or San Francisco anymore.

  39. You mean you’re saying by his mannerisms you knew he was gay? Lol

  40. Drew2u says:

    Oh, “Modern Family” is as unwatchable to me as “The Office” and both for the same shaky-cam reason.
    I found the slovenly neighbors of Sarah Silverman on her show to be more accurate and more relatable as depictions of gay men.

  41. karmanot says:

    I found it annoying too. Even ‘Modern Families’ for all its brilliant writing has a tad too much gay cooning for me.

  42. karmanot says:

    Capeheart is very ‘stylish’ himself, but I suspect those bow ties cut off circulation to the brain.

  43. Drew2u says:

    On the flipside, listening to my Swiss host family talk to each other in swiss, made me smile because the inflections and body-language of the son+parents reminded me very much of my siblings+parents. They asked if I knew Swiss, lol

  44. Drew2u says:

    Lol, I’ve never watched it; I found it to be too annoying when I tried. She DID hang around a big circle of gay guys, though.

  45. Dave954 says:

    Since, John, the generational issue has come up, let me suggest it’s, too, a matter of the perspective one gains over the years. At least I hope I’ve gained some in my 50+ years. For example, many of us can perhaps recall, often with some considerable embarrassment, the oh-so-sure-of-ourselves proclamations we might have made in our 20s. I therefore take the younger gays’ opinions you’ve cited with a grain of salt. They rarely have the frame of reference one gains by simple life experience. Pretty much the same point you made. Just more plain-spoken.

    As for Schock, who regrettably appears to be living a complete lie in his early 30s in an era when it’s simply not necessary, I suppose I feel a sense of pity for him, though I abhor his official actions. Given his profession, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Same tired, sad old story, dealing with the disgust about his own alleged sexuality by lashing out at the very community where he’d otherwise find support. Give up all that perceived power and influence so quickly acquired when you can “pass” as straight?

    If he wasn’t in a position of public power and influence I’d say leave him alone to work it out. That’s not the case however. As such, he appears a complete hypocrite and deserves to be hounded by the public he supposedly serves to demonstrate personal honesty and integrity. But, at the tender age of 32, I guess he’s risen so far so fast he still feels he’s invincible. Perhaps he believes he can carry on a charade forever. What’s he going to do? Marry a woman for appearance, have children and, when he finally comes out, upend their lives? You’ll be surprised, Aaron, how quickly the next 20 years pass…and how deep the s#*t becomes.

    It’s not so much his homophobic voting record that would be first to turn me off. Strangely, I’d be less inclined to vote for him primarily because I perceive his innate dishonesty…with himself.

    Unfortunately, too, this is a setup for Schock similar to the fate of Allen Drury’s Senator Brigham Anderson in 1959’s “Advise and Consent” (Otto Preminger movie in 1962). I still believe we’ve made some progress in the past 50 years, the Aaron Schock’s of the world notwithstanding.

  46. dcinsider says:

    You must check out Jonathan Capeheart’s pathetic piece and the comment section. OMG what a mess. Capeheart loves to be a contrarian. He’s such a bag of wind.

  47. karmanot says:

    Same here. There is a movie of me at age two on the lawn, waving my arms and standing in second position just before attempting a barre.

  48. karmanot says:

    And only The Grove.

  49. karmanot says:

    “mostly straight” guys’ that used to be called ‘rough trade.’

  50. karmanot says:

    No flies on the universe of manga.

  51. JDH says:

    “It’s a negation of the overall existence of culture.”
    This was the point I was trying to make earlier. Breaking down stereotypes in a struggle for greater social acceptance is a worthy goal, but it has (and should have) a lifespan. I think we are crossing over into LGBT cultural negation at this point, and it goes well beyond just this tiff over gaydar.

    We routinely see public voices condemning the overt sexuality of pride events, a public wedding on a float, “stereotypes” like Kurt Hummel or Cam and Mitch, and effeminate/queeny men entirely. “Ugh, you flag-waving/ leather-wearing/ lisping/ sexual/ fashionista/ speedo-dancing twink/ drag-loving/ glitterati gays are setting the movement back and making us look bad!” Ummm…excuse me?

    To those voices, I say this: I didn’t come out of the closet as gay just to be pushed into the asexual closet by activists/pundits with thinly-veiled internalized homophobia.

  52. karmanot says:

    “Her gays” very Will and Grace.

  53. karmanot says:

    —-Will make for very colorful road kill. If the GOP finds its ‘ick’ Schock will be left behind (pardon the pun).

  54. karmanot says:

    Well, maybe, but consider the Easter egg outfits worn on a typical Republican country club golf course—-especially in Florida.

  55. karmanot says:

    Maybe an indiscreet leg up will appear on Utube soon.

  56. karmanot says:

    Just curious. Does tcwaters stand for toilet closet waters?

  57. karmanot says:

    Not to worry John. He probably typed all at with arms akimbo after every pause. There was also several sighs and tsks’, but we couldn’t hear them.

  58. karmanot says:

    One of our greatest strengths and weapons is satire and comedy….straight bigots tend to lack a sense of humor. #David Sedaris.

  59. karmanot says:

    “—the fear of stereotyping is the fear of what straight people think about us in general,” Indeed, but my generation came out fighting and could give a good G*d damn what straight bigots think, except to see them as enemies to be faced and beaten down at every turn. For those of us who sweat blood and tears and endured decades of the plague have earned our authentic identities the hard way and will not turn back, even though we appear to be maturely assimilated into the larger culture. We are the radical ‘gaychurian’ candidates.

  60. Actually, this guy can call me too.

  61. It’s worse than that. It’s the curse of the forever angry. Not everyone is your enemy. Maybe occasionally you (not you, he) can start a conversation by not calling someone a jerk.

  62. karmanot says:

    But only if you glowed in the dark like I did—–cool on the dance floor, not so much in Church. #glitter disaster. :-)

  63. karmanot says:

    When Schock starts wearing furs, we’ll know the Repubs have come around to climate change.

  64. And you at least are making a valid argument for why stereotyping could be used against us. These other guys are claiming it’s based on a fallacy, and sorry but it’s really not. When I met my friend Ben, back in the early 90s, he had just come out – and I mean “just” as i n months ago – and it was the funniest damn thing because Ben was the biggest girl you’d ever meet in terms of his speech and his gestures. You would never, ever meet this guy and say “oh yeah he’s straight” (no offense, Ben :) I think the problem is when A) people assume we’re all one way, B) when people use those mannerism, etc as insults against us. But neither of those negates the fact that the ‘stereotypical gay behavior’ is a real thing that exists for many, but not all gays, and it really doesn’t exist among many straight guys.

  65. JDH says:

    It was a shimmering but dark time. /shame

  66. dcinsider says:

    It was the bronzer Mr. Speaker.

  67. dcinsider says:


  68. emjayay says:

    Obviously this topic goes way beyond Mr. Shock, which makes for a whole lot of interesting conversation. Kind of like when you talk food.

  69. emjayay says:

    I think you are right. I just partly wanted to point out a show that doesn’t get as much acclaim, a bit more conventional and derivative than Modern Family, but smart and funny and having some things to say including on the gay front.

  70. JamesR says:

    Aah the curse of the open mouth and closed ears!

  71. JDH says:

    It would be a very interesting topic to discuss. I came out as a teenager in 2003(?) and never experienced anything like a gay “community.” Even in Oklahoma, everything was just sort of diffused. I met plenty of gay folks while volunteering or working, but I only bonded with a handful of them.
    But, then again, maybe it was just me. Kind of bookish and can’t dance for shit.

  72. karmanot says:

    He can take tips from Trump his Republican man pal.

  73. Oh you again. For those not aware, this is a guy who’s been berating me on Twitter with personal attacks, unwilling to actually discuss the issue with me as a rational, polite adult, even though I repeatedly asked him too. He’s also now link-whoring, which I’d have allowed if he weren’t launching ad hominems with every comment, so sorry Thomas, but your link is gone.

    Thomas doesn’t believe in gaydar. He doesn’t believe that you can ever tell if someone’s gay. He also doesn’t believe that there any expressions of gay culture or genes, be it in your mannerism, speech, look, how you dress, how you talk, how you walk, how you gesticulate, that can ever be used to get any indication whatsoever of whether you’re gay or straight. Because who hasn’t gone to the TGI Fridays and seen that straight football jock yelling at the team on the TV, “you go girl!”

    I asked him if he couldn’t tell that Liberace, Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly were gay from the videos I posted earlier, since he doesn’t believe in gaydar, and doesn’t believe in any external manifestation of gay culture or genetics. He refused to answer, not surprisingly, as of course he and everyone else can tell that those three are gay because they talk and/or dress and/or have mannerisms that are – let’s all say it together on the count of 3 – gay.

  74. Drew2u says:

    Tell what? About the woman? She was a friend of mine for a fair amount of time, but she and my BFF never met. When they did meet, and we had fun hanging out, she made some remark about “her gays”, leaving my BFF flabbergasted. He told me that he had a crush on her but that was probably not going to happen, now. I told her that he was completely straight (about as opposite the kinsey scale as I am) and her response was that she just assumed he was gay. Other than that, they never did hit it off. Like I said, hilariously sad.

  75. JDH says:

    The complication here is that stereotypes are innately very complex. Appropriate opposition to stereotyping exists when stereotypes are used as a substitute to exploring the lives and stories of stereotypical people (eg tv girl’s gay best friend only exists for punch-lines). However, I think we are on the verge of crossing a threshold where we’re rhetorically marginalizing the large portion of gays who are stereotypical; this is a shame because their voices and stories deserve to be told just as much.
    There is enormous representative variety amongst gay public figures these days. From Elton John to Bryan Sims and from Rosie O’Donnell to Portia DeRossi. The point I’m making here is that the fear of stereotyping is the fear of what straight people think about us in general, and I think that straight people have had too much power for far too long. While offensive stereotypes do exist, I see no reason for us all to conform to a PC rejection of stereotyping that threatens to whitewash gay history and further stigmatize non-gender-conforming behavior in all forms.

  76. Moderator4 says:

    Please stop linking to your own blog in multiple comments, unless you have permission from John to do so. Thank you.

  77. karmanot says:

    “There is only one public sighting of him out with a woman, Megyn McCain” OMG—-ping, ping, ping………………

  78. JamesR says:

    THANKS Pete. Happy Vortex back at ya!

  79. karmanot says:

    “Yes, never having experienced the closet” I wonder about that. West of the Sierras and East of the Alleghenies is one vast stretch of regressive, radical Christian hate. Outside of suburbia and cities I suspect it’s damn difficult to be a gay kid.

  80. And that’s the thing. At least one person alleging that gaydar, and “stereotypical gay mannerisms” don’t exist is 100% obviously gay the second he opens his mouth. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s just a fact. So I have to chuckle at the notion that it’s impossible to discern whether someone is gay, and at the notion that it’s somehow homophobic or sexist or something to suggest that there are gay traits that sometimes do mark some gay men as gay. Not all gay men, but some absolutely positively.

  81. woodroad34 says:

    The other thing, though, is that same collection of items to a straight person doesn’t mean anything–so there must be another element to gaydar: intuition? More subtle clues (body language, eye movements, hand movements, intensity in conversation)? Or, in some cases, an extreme lack of body language, eye movements, et al that may belie a fear of discovery.

  82. woodroad34 says:

    I’ve had sex with straight guys…seriously. They were horny–right time, right place. They then went off and got married, had kids, etc. Those little episodes didn’t make them gay, they just wanted sex with someone they felt comfortable with at the time. I’ve also known gay guys who’ve had sex with women and they’ll still go out and buy rainbow colored beach towels and wear speedos and do campy Youtube renditions of Katy Perry songs; sex with women doesn’t make you straight. It’s all about the heart and who you want to spend the rest of your life with.

  83. HereinDC says:

    Yea, John…do the leg work……find out if Scock is the catcher or receiver of the “3rd leg” LOL . :)P

  84. JDH says:

    The Salon article was funny. I remember being gay my whole life and was a virgin for 10 years after I realized it around age 7. Also, it’s remarkable how precise gaydar can be. I can remember times out in public with my parents where a young gay guy would walk up and give me their number or just ask me out. They didn’t stop for a second to wonder. My parents and straight friends were always just aghast that a stranger would be so bold and presumptuous. After all, I wear scruff, have a thick build, and have a careless affinity for crew necks and hoodies.

    Thing is, Im obviously gay to gay people. Maybe it’s the groomed eyebrows. Maybe it’s the mannerisms that I make zero effort to conceal. Maybe it was the awful bronzer phase I went through. Whatever it is, it’s no secret, and that’s how I like it. Gaydar is real.

  85. tcwaters says:

    Hey John, why not simply own what you are doing? Instead of lashing out at everyone else, just admit that you are being aggressive in your efforts to force Schock to come out. Or better, do the leg work needed to find some real evidence of this guy’s sexual orientation.

  86. woodroad34 says:

    Even more to the point, the Republican Party is like the HIV virus….it does lots of damage then hides behind the guise of “being bullied”–just look at Linda Harvey’s response to people not liking her book w/o reading it….so someone does read it and it’s worse than we thought: Sometimes, just the stink let’s you know it’s sh*t (you don’t have to taste it to know it). America has become weakened by the virulence of the ultra-right viral load.

  87. The_Fixer says:

    I watch that show periodically, and love it when Brad is on. I seem to remember that Brad eventually came out at some point, didn’t he?

    That’s a pretty funny show, some talented acting there. I am not wild about Patricia Heaton, but the rest of the cast makes up for that. And I think the kid who plays Brick is just hilarious.

  88. FemAlly says:

    Conversely, what makes me a straight woman is definitely NOT the fact that I have sex with men!

  89. The_Fixer says:

    Yeah, it does.

    I’m all for brightly-colored clothing (you should see some of my shoes!), but think there’s a point where it is… odd. The red tablecloth shirt, white pants and turquoise belt combo is a clash of colors that does not work for me and makes me think that perhaps he is color-blind. We can’t see from the picture, but I shudder to think of what his shoes were like. Maybe tan boat shoes? Purple loafers? Ruby slippers (couldn’t resist a Dorothy reference)? The whole ensemble is so color-insensitive that you know the shoes were equally awful.

  90. olandp says:

    I was speaking of plaid more generally. That shirt does look like a tablecloth, a big gay tablecloth.

  91. The_Fixer says:

    That shirt does not make one a lumberjack, it makes one a picnic table. It looks like it was a tablecloth in a previous life.

  92. caphillprof says:

    We’re decades away from the notion that ones sexuality is only determined by a sex act in flagrante delicto. Schrock is a Republican throwback to a time when everyone knowingly ignored the obvious.

  93. The_Fixer says:

    Yes, the eyes have it (sorry). I forget who said it, but on another site someone said if you want to know who is gay, pay attention to their eyes and who they are looking at. A straight guy will follow women with their eyes, a gay guy will follow the men with their eyes.

  94. emjayay says:

    Brad and Sue.

  95. PeteWa says:

    that’s a really great breakdown of what I was talking about, much more direct and the example is great.
    hope you’re having an awesome day.

  96. emjayay says:

    And never having a girlfriend of any kind in his entire life.

  97. emjayay says:

    I also flagged it.

  98. emjayay says:

    With people like Aaron Shock I think maybe it is possible for gayness to be so buried in layers of denial that he doesn’t consciously even get it. But given his personality it just comes out all over the place in a hundred different ways, and that’s the story here and what makes it more interesting. Of course, particlularly these days long before someone is his age they usually manage to unbury it.

  99. emjayay says:

    In The Middle (check it out people, it’s on the same channel an hour before Modern Family) Sue Hecht’s friend and for awhile she thought boyfriend Brad is obviously gay to everyone on earth except Sue. They are in high school. Brad dresses just like Aaron Shock.

  100. emjayay says:

    I’m sure it’s an issue for Aaron which no amount of working out and dieting and low body fat percentage can fix, no matter how hard he tries.

  101. emjayay says:

    Or even wanting to fuck men in private, and….

  102. emjayay says:

    But of course he’s from Peoria.

  103. emjayay says:

    Very interesting and I think very correct comments, both of you.

  104. FLL says:

    Yes, the turquoise belt has become something of a holy grail, a sacred object that symbolizes closeted elected officials who pursue anti-gay policies.

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  106. emjayay says:

    Yep, I think that’s the picture everyone (almost) is seeing.

  107. emjayay says:

    I don’t think anyone ever said anything about how anyone is supposed to act.

  108. John Masters says:

    And that is the point/value of gaydar. It goes beyond discerning just who’s nelly, or who knows all the songs in Oklahoma. Gaydar, as one writer noted, is about picking up on the more subtle clues…the eyes usually tell the story, the extra glance, the turn of a head. A well formed gaydar compiles a rich set of data, and then sets a flag one way or another.

  109. John Masters says:

    I agree totally MichaelS. I was thinking exactly what Strepsi wrote as I was reading the parts about the lack of, or unreliability of, gaydar. Evolution tends to have a way of discarding things no longer important, so maybe that is what’s happening. I came out in the mid-80s, and I remember a strong gay culture/community in the larger mid-sized town where I lived. There was a “gay ghetto” sort of…a gay bookstore (not the XXX kind, although there were a couple of those too) where you had to go to find anything gay related to read. No “alternative lifestyle” section in the chains back then.

    Of course there was a club culture, and one or two gay-friendly restaurants we all frequented. I liked that feeling, of being part of something kind of different. I acknowledge the desire to “assimilate,” and I suppose there’s some importance to that in order to be more fully accepted by the larger society, but I’m not sure it’s a completely good thing. Lot’s of good and fun stuff is being lost, I’m afraid.

  110. HereinDC says:

    “we were mocking the irony of a 100% anti-gay congressman dressing like a 100% (albeit smalltown) gay.”
    LOL That’s a 2 snaps if I ever did them. LOL

  111. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Oh no, anything but that! I have always found receding hairlines exceedingly sexy. I don’t want to feel that way about him. However, I think the fact that he no longer has a perm in the plaid pants pic adds to that illusion.

  112. HereinDC says:

    ” small signals not always obvious to the common man.”
    Lordy……..Shcock is not subtile…..P LEEEEEZE. It’s NOT small signals.
    Your reporting John was totally correct.

  113. olandp says:

    I wore that outfit, minus the plaid shirt (what am I a lumberjack?) in the 1980s. I still have my white Beene Jeans with hopes of one day fitting into them again, won’t happen, but the party colored nylon belts have disappeared over the years. I really liked them.

  114. dcinsider says:


  115. TheAngryFag says:

    Have you ever conducted psychology experiments?

  116. dcinsider says:


  117. Drew2u says:

    Like I say, between me and my best friend, people who’ve hazard a guess thought he was the gay one and I was the straight one (I type this as my boyfriend leans in for a kiss). Those that know me and are introduced to him think he’s “gay, too?” – which led to a hilariously sad assumption by a woman my best friend had a crush on.

  118. timncguy says:

    It’s the same theory that they use to determine that all male pedophiles who have sex with male children must therefore be gay because they engage in same-sex sex acts. It’s wrong of course, just like it is wrong in this case.

  119. JamesR says:

    Rubio has a glass of water, Palin has a turkey cone, Larry Craig has that wide stance, Weiner has, well, a weiner, and Schock has that belt! Forever.

  120. JamesR says:

    The “mostly straight” phenom is a beautiful product of the absence of homophobia – what happens when guys are able to act on what they feel, using the full spectrum of options available to them as humans, not stereotypes. Without the burden of having to pretend to be a stiff and nasty prick. So to speak.

    Interesting to juxtapose these independent and authentic young men who have no homophobia, straight, (mostly,) and their actions, with the residue of codependent homophobia, projection, and sideways professional jealousy contained in the commentary written by gay men. [Geidner and D’Addario]

  121. MichaelS says:

    Actually, John, you raise a great point in this discussion that probably merits its own topic — the loss of gay culture and point of view (as in the ability to have a functioning gaydar) as we continue to assimilate. I know from others in the service that years ago, the CIA targeted gays for recruitment because, after a life of living in secret and learning to read the quiet signals given by others, gays were a natural fit for intelligence work. Don’t know if that’s still the case, but it would be a fascinating question to pursue.

  122. benb says:

    Oh yeah, oh yeah. This guy D’Addario is ignorant and Salon let them use their name and publish that crap. It makes me want to scream to every nervous boy, teenager, and man: just because you have sex with another man doesn’t make you Gay. Once, twice,…five years—it doesn’t matter…my experience is: if you are gay you will eventually reaiize you are. There’s no test and no one will ever be able to tell. I’ve had lovers who went on to be happlily married with a wife and kids. ‘Homosexual sex’ isn’t—at all–a determination of sexual orientation. If you’re gay you’ll figure that out but it’s not YOUR problem it’s THEIR problem.

  123. dula says:

    Didn’t this outing begin with a very gay shower?

  124. The_Fixer says:

    I can’t claim to be a fastidious and tidy dresser, but I know fugly when I see it.

    My wardrobe consists of jeans and t-shirts I’ve found at Goodwill, some of them are band/concert Ts. I’ve found cool stuff cheap there.

    Regardless of personal clothing choices, sometimes fugly just jumps out at you.

  125. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Always? I’ve never not known, but I’m not sure that is the same thing.

  126. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    My husband always referred to that as a gay accent.

  127. cole3244 says:

    the reason for all the push back could be that the log cabin republicans are afraid they will have to replace their wardrobes that mimic schocks.

  128. It’d a sick and disgusting comparison. Not yours, theirs. Stockholm Syndrome doesn’t begin to describe it.

  129. JamesR says:

    “unsourced” yet her most famous apocryphal saying LOL – Many think it was about Tab Hunter, costarring with her in a play, and then there’s this telling it involving Montgomery Clift. Sounds like her, fits both of them, she’s been quoted for years.

    It’s a truth that has outgrown the original facts!

  130. usagi says:

    Or explicitly taught. My first boyfriend was a classically trained gay man. Although I suffer from GBWOC (Gays Born Without Camp) myself, he taught me how to decode everything and the backstory on where chunks of it came from.

  131. timncguy says:

    If he really had a trusted source, he shouldn’t have written the piece as a hypothetical “what if I told you…” and should have actually named Schock.

  132. JamesR says:

    Yeah, but a joke you have to be in the know to get. One you have to see just like having gaydar, to appreciate.

    There seem to be subtexts of shame, fear of shame, and reaction to reaction to ‘otherness’ – a form of internalized homophobia, in the way they both approach the issues.

    I realized I was over all mine when I say Pussy Tourette perform in front of the capitol building in DC in 1993 at one of the national gay rights marches, and thought “what a show Clinton missed” – without any trace of co-dependent fear of reaction to others’ shame (etc..) I realized right then – in a conscious flash – that I was experiencing no shame, no concern, no proactive reaction, that all of my internal homophobia was gone. And as I realized it was gone I also knew that it was that that I had had, for years. Even in ever diminishing amounts as I had come completely out.

    Only upon realization of it’s absence was I aware I had had it – kinda like relief from chronic pain or bad eyesight is said to be.

    Then I mourned again the absence of our purported [not] friend Bill Clinton that he could have missed such a truly American thing, right on the doorstep he took pains to have been absent from. This is also an American thing. A political and cultural real thing, those with eyes can clearly see, and openly discuss without the taint of their own personal issues.

    Daniel D’Addario is probably in his mid to late twenties, Chris Geidner is older but still young, in real years, to me and to you. They will get it, probably, one day. Unfortunate for that timing they are so clever and smart – it takes longer for the more intelligent and / or thought / concept / theory oriented (like I was way more in my twenties.)

    Perhaps they’ll have an epiphany of sorts as I described reading some responses – today (yesterday) is the day!

  133. Monoceros Forth says:

    I’m inclined to agree although I can hardly claim to be an arbiter of taste. My customary uniform is jeans and a selection of shirts I bought at various rock concerts over the years.

  134. Monoceros Forth says:

    It just occurred to me–you know what’s really funny about this notion that Schock is being “bullied”? It’s that it conjures up images of a schoolkid who would be happily enjoying his rich and fulfilling day at the GOP Middle School for Conservative Studies, except that a pack of thuggish gays showed up to hassle him every day, take his lunch money and ask him jeeringly if his mom picked out his clothes.

    The difficulty is that the GOP Middle School isn’t there to nurture him, it’s there to exploit him. I suppose that his fellow Republicans will cover for him right up until the point that he’s too troublesome and embarrassing for him; then they’ll dump him and try to forget him just like they dump all their pet minorities. It’s not a question of pushing around a sad, put-upon schoolboy; it’s a question of trying to wake up someone who’s in the clutches of a destructive cult.

  135. Funny you should mention that…. Nit re D’Addario….

  136. I’ve always known.

  137. Did she actually say that?!

  138. MyrddinWilt says:

    I remember at college we went out to the Hippodrome and one of my friends was chatted up by a well known (male) MP. He was rather upset about it at the time. He really did think he was straight.

    For the past ten years he has been living as the husband of another openly gay MP.

  139. MyrddinWilt says:

    Yea but there is no way to separate out the environmental from the genetic. Smell is conditioned by environment as well.

    And don’t get me started on how bogus virtually all psychology ‘experiments’ are. Yes you can find that people behave differently in a barely statistically significant way in the lab. But it takes hundreds of observations to really get a good result and you have still only measured behavior in the lab.

    One of the rather funny aspects of the show Mythbusters is that they typically have sample sizes three to four times larger than the academic papers in my field. The pop science is vastly more scientific than the academics.

    The problem is that the academics are only answerable to their peers in their field who work under the same budget constraints. Only the Mythbusters have to go the extra mile and make sure that their experiments are not going to be taken apart by the physicists or chemists.

  140. The_Fixer says:

    One has to wonder if pictures of him in drag exist.

  141. MyrddinWilt says:

    Its not just the need to develop Gaydar, its the need to drop the covert signals. Some people do that naturally but for a lot of people its a skill that they learned either consciously or by hanging around with the right people and picking up the mannerisms.

  142. PeteWa says:

    there is what you described, and I was thinking that in part, but I also sense (particularly in D’Addario with his ‘only gay if homosexual sex!’ quip) a bit of the uncomfortableness that I’ve seen throughout my life with quite a few – those who don’t want to admit to and are uncomfortable with their ‘otherness’.
    we are not the same as straight guys in certain fundamental ways – and all too often I’ve seen it be the case that those who are most obviously ‘of the other’ protest the most (in various ways) how they aren’t, y’know, that kind of gay.
    and ‘you can’t tell, can you?’
    uh, yeah, we really can tell.
    sorry to burst that bubble.
    the fact that they turned this entire episode into a giant pink manly red herring is at least amusing.

  143. The_Fixer says:

    Fugly is a better descriptor.

  144. usagi says:

    And the anime con sample is FAR from random (as one friend on the dealer’s circuit put it, if you’re going to be into anime, you’re already open to asking questions and learning about stuff outside your comfort zone). I have been going to cons for a long time, and it has changed in the last few years. They are experimenting, but they’re experimenting without prejudice. Straight guys are using it as a space to be women. Women are using it as a space to recreate traditionally male roles interpreted as female. Couples of all gender configurations are appropriating and reinterpreting couples who were traditional boy/girl in the original media.
    One of the best, most hardcore cosplay moments I saw was midnight on Saturday, and suddenly Cinderella started running down the huge convention center staircase. 15 seconds later, a Prince started chasing after her (the Prince was definitely a girl dressed as a boy–I’m curious now if the reverse was true with Cinderella, but I didn’t get a good look at her).

    The point being that even if the “no labels” doesn’t stick past that experimental phase, the need to develop gaydar goes away once everyone is playing around with gender roles and people start asking what your personal configuration is rather than assuming they know before they’ve engaged with you.

    They’re creating spaces where gaydar isn’t necessary because if you’re curious or interested, you ask and proceed from there.

  145. The_Fixer says:

    I know a couple of “mostly straight” guys. They don’t have sex with guys, but have a close relationship that is emotional and involved cuddling, etc. One of them has told me of his “emotional boyfriends”. At one point, he actually thought he may have been bisexual, but realized that he is heterosexual and what he has is an ability to emotionally connect with guys.

    I don’t think we’re talking about sexual fluidity here, though. Maybe it’s more of an emotional relationship fluidity.

    There’s a lot of talk about the Kinsey scale, but there’s been more research in recent years that breaks down and separates emotional attraction from sexual attraction (and does so in degrees, the “Klein Grid”). I think rather than sexual fluidity, this is what we may be seeing in some same-sex human relationships. Some of them do not have sexual components, rather, emotional ones.

    I think we’ve always seen this in guys. It becomes more socially acceptable and less so depending on the social climate of a given time period. But they’ve always been there. It’s just now that we’re beginning to recognize and understand them a little better.

    Homosexuality was not even defined until the 1860s. Since then, it’s been largely misunderstood. I think it’s fair to say that there’s a lot more to learn about the emotional and sexual components of human relationships. After all, it all happens in the brain, and we certainly don’t know everything that there is to know about that, do we?

  146. DRoseDARs says:

    So someone isn’t gay until they’ve had “homosexual sex?” I’m not sure which is more offensive: That D’Addario is shoving me back in the closet or is trying to de-gay me altogether.

  147. JamesR says:

    …and yet they are both gay. Not culturally the same gay as we are though. At least or most as gay as Schock heh.

    Perhaps they are protesting, rejecting and projecting the reverse of, the mantle of age and experience. And are still stuck in a mythical land of ‘academic objectivity.’ They will get over it by the time they are our age LOL.

  148. unclemike says:

    I fuchsia myself as often as I can.

  149. JamesR says:

    David Cross IS amazing – He came to NC and did several benefits against Amendment One. (Something Obama et al did NOT do before the fact) He is hilarious and also serious – I believe he has a form of gaydar as most keen observers of humanity can cultivate. [Disclosure: He identifies as straight as does his girlfriend and did not ping my gaydar]

  150. PeteWa says:

    all I’m getting out of Geidner and D’Addario is projection and defensiveness.
    of which I’m sure they’d deny vehemently, in a very, very not gay manner.
    poor things don’t seem to realize how painfully obvious it is.

  151. etseq says:

    You know, I’ve been hearing that same theory since the 80s now – every few years these memes of rampant “fluidity” make the rounds, usually along with the claim that young people “reject labels” and gay will be soon eclipsed by post-gay. Unfortunately, there is no empirical data to back this up. In fact, the GSS data on sexuality has been pretty stable since they added it back in the 90s. Also, a gay researcher at Cornell, Ritch Savin-Williams, has been claiming for over a decade now that labels are dying but it hasn’t stopped him from trying to create the same one you did “mostly straight” The problem is that he has never been able to construct a stable identity category from quantitative data that is sufficiently distinct from bisexual or straight and several studies have debunked it. Savin-Williams used qualitative studies to propose his “mostly straight” hypothesis but it failed validation using population samples measured over time. The people you mention are real, of course, but most likely they are young experimenters that end up straight or bisexual.
    PS – I should clarify that the the studies applied only to men – women’s sexuality is not as polarized as men – Lisa Diamond has done some good work on female fluidity.

  152. JayRandal says:

    As for outing it is OK in my opinion to out hypocrites like Rep. Schock. Any guys whom are NOT hypocrites should be left to themselves to reveal being Gay. Rep. Barney Frank before he retired from Congress said he knew whom Gay in Congress. He refused to reveal those names. I wish he had outed all of the GOPers.

  153. JamesR says:

    Like Talulah Bankhead’s famous quote about weather her costar Tab Hunter were gay, “I don’t know he’s never sucked my cock.”

    It was Tab Hunter for God’s sake! Do we have to wait decades to call a $3 bill queer, today? No.

  154. Mark_in_MN says:

    D’Addario save the erroneous basis for this whole rant until the last paragraph: “Everyone else is doing the public a disservice by presenting ‘acting’ gay as something shameful and laughable.” That hasn’t been stated by any of the people he cites in his screed, it seems to me that it is something that D’Addario himself adds in here. Criticism or discussion of possible hypocrisy is about the exact opposite, that being or “acting” gay is neither shameful nor laughable. What is shameful or laughable is thinking and acting like it is (which, by virtue of his Salon piece, seems to include D’Addario).

  155. The entire field of Intelligence is based on this. As is Wall Street, and economics, and I’d argue politics in a big way too (obvious, I suppose, as these posts are political – but more generally, so much of good political writing, I think, is reading the tea leaves, but also trying to get a sense of the zeitgeist, whether it’s what’s the people are feeling, or what government officials are feeling. You’re trying to read 1,000 indices and help people figure out where things are heading next. It’s gaydar writ large. And it’s just another reaffirmation of the notion that so much in life is piecing together puzzles and ultimately making conclusions, gut conclusions, based on imperfect evidence. (I’m sure there’s a lecture in here that someone gave Commander Data once about not waiting until you had every piece of evidence or info because you never will.)

  156. PeteWa says:

    I’m sorry, D’Addario, but yes, we can all tell you’re as gay as Aaron Schock.

  157. JamesR says:


  158. JamesR says:

    I’ve been bullied. I’ve been accused of being straight (the equivalent of being accused of being gay right?)


    People who say gaydar does not exist are what’s known as “wrong.”

    Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks incessantly, and Phil Robertson would shoot it? Duck. Or gay. Either way it is what it is. [Get over it.] Great post thanks.

  159. JayRandal says:

    Doesn’t require any Gaydar to discern Rep. Schock a simi-closeted Gay guy. His constant showing
    off his pecs and abs. Dressing flamboyantly Gayish. His effeminate mannerisms. Actually he is swishy
    more than masculine demeanor. In a way he is a mockery of majority of Gay guys. Worst thing about him is his hypocrisy. As GOPer he is required to hate himself for being Gay. He needs to come out of the closet completely and wisely depart GOP.

  160. Mark_in_MN says:

    The thing so many people, such as D’Addario, seem to want to take each piece of evidence on its own and disallow the establishment of patterns or a whole picture by putting it together. That’s strongly connected with the ridiculous statement about needing photos of an intimate encounter or it doesn’t count, especially the bit about sex acts being the specific piece of information that determines sexuality.

  161. devlzadvocate says:

    I don’t know if that phenom is unique to Europe. Metro-sexual men are often mistaken for gay in the U.S. and elsewhere. Consider that Ryan Seacrest was thought to be gay until he started dating women. Now we know he is a lesbian. In addition, reverse gaydar is also a viable thing. I’m sure that all the men in Duck Dumbnasty are str8 due to the similar flags I use in my gaydar.

  162. MyrddinWilt says:

    There is a generational issue here. Before gay sex was legal, gays developed an underground culture with covert signs that enabled them to meet up. In the UK it was being ‘camp’, in the US there was also the leatherman culture that emerged in the air force during WWII. Then there was Freddie Mercury who could make one of Liberace’s outfits look macho. The code is different in every country. Whether he knows it or not, Schock is dressing in a very particular way.

    One of the consequences of winning the culture wars is that straight guys can be effeminate if they like. So I don’t automatically assume that effeminate or camp means gay. Which is also good. People can do what they like.

    Well up to a point. What people can’t do is to build their careers on telling people to hate other people. Schock is fair game because he is a bigot. It doesn’t really matter if he sleeps with men or not. The problem is that the Republican party has become the hate party. It has got so bad that Lynn Cheney threw her sister under the bus in a desperate attempt to get elected.

    Lets imagine that instead of being an anti-gay bigot, Schock was an anti-Catholic bigot but he spent his weekends dressing up as a Roman Catholic priest. Wouldn’t that be kind of weird and ridicule worthy? Why is being an anti-gay bigot and dressing that way not similarly weird and ridicule worthy?

  163. St Martyr says:

    Come and live in Europe! lol!

  164. Monoceros Forth says:

    Is that raspberry? I’d say fuchsia myself.

  165. St Martyr says:

    Great point. In London, that overtly colourful style and mish mash of styles is really big in hipster circles. I love it in fact BUT the way he is wearing it and also the rest of what you said screams ‘Gay’ to me.

  166. With all due respect (which means I’m about to bite your head off), was I writing about an anti-gay congressman from France?

  167. Bingo. I remember years ago, a female friend at work interested in a guy from another organization, and asked me if I thought he was gay. I told her, he was flaming. And told her why. Among other things, his clothing, which was fabulous, and included fabulously flowing scarves and so much more. (His personality was rather gay as well.) I remember she said to me, “but every guy dresses like that in New York.” And I told her, “do we live in New York?”

  168. St Martyr says:

    I don’t agree with the bullying bit but I disagree majorly with how gay men are supposed to act, listen to music or behave in culture. LGBTQ people like you guys, who do behave in a very narrow minded way, seem to forget about gays from non western cultures, gays in Europe were you can barely tell the difference between a metro-sexual guy and a gay guy etc etc. It makes you sound as ignorant as the guy who says that being gay means engaging in gay sex. The amount of gay men who hate diva’s and dress badly that I know is ridiculous.

  169. BeccaM says:

    I’ll put it this way: I have met and known people I thought were straight who later turned out to be gay or bi. In my 50 years on this planet, I think I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of people who I thought were gay who ended up not being so — and have at least two fingers left to snap in a deliberately flamboyant gesture.

    And there I mean “truthfully, honestly, not gay.” As opposed to in-the-closet self-denying gay, which seems to typify “confirmed bachelor” types of the last generation and some of this one as well. The ones with mountains of gay porn stashed under the floorboards and secret, seedy assignations in well-known bars.

    Anyway, D’Addario and Geidner are missing the point. (1) Schock sets off the gaydar for a LOT of people. And (2) no, people with secret gay lives don’t get to enjoy them while at the same time using their careers and professional position to make the lives of other gay people more difficult.

    With respect to Schock, it’s not just one thing. It’s a whole spectrum of behaviors, habits, social circles, and so on — added to something else we old-timers also know well: The more virulent the homophobe, the more likely they’re hiding something.

  170. Yes, sounds like he has a source he trusts and doesn’t have permission to name him, sadly. And yes, sometimes you go with stuff based on sources you trust, anonymously. It bugs people, but I’ve done it, and lots of others have. If you really trust a source, you have to make the judgment call as to whether you trust them enough to run with it.

  171. It’s so bizarre that gay people have to make clear that they like gay couple. Granted, if you’re a gay Republican, there might be some question. But geez.

  172. Schrodinger’s gay cat, love it.

  173. Correct. Individually, each item could be a meh. Collectively it gets a whole lot more interesting.

  174. Monoceros Forth says:

    I find myself thinking of something I was told years ago, when I was with a friend and wondering aloud how obvious it was that the man walking about with me when shopping &c. was my boyfriend. “Oh, it’s really obvious,” was his answer. I’m sure there’s an intimacy of body language that gives us away. I’ve striven to be…well, not closeted exactly, but in unfamiliar social situations (e.g. new workplaces) I’ll keep quiet about my private life at first, and I’ll avoid doing anything too affectionate in public. It’s not a big worry in a town like Seattle, I suppose, but I like to be at least a little careful.

    Culture is changing out from under me, I’ve got to admit. I’m just old enough to have some connection with many of the venerable cultural references of the gay community. I like Judy Garland movies, I’ve been to Cher concerts, and I’ve been known to quote Sunset Boulevard from time to time. But my mate, who’s nine years younger than I, is a stranger to all these things and he’s got no interest in them–or, at least, no particular interest. But then he lies on the other side of that great divide, the Japanese invasion. His cultural references are far more likely to come from Japanese cartoons than from anything I’m familiar with.

  175. FLL says:

    OK, forget the turquoise belt. There’s a chance that some straight Republican guy could have pulled that stunt during a momentary lapse of good taste and common sense. But following Tom Daley on social media? Following a famously out gay British diver who is at the center of social attention today? There’s a real credibility gap there. And the many anecdotal sitings of Schock at DC gay bars, and the video documentation of Schock strolling through Tampa’s gay neighborhood, complete with building-sized gay flags as scenery? And the topic of his monologue while strolling through the Tampa gay village? Schock’s topic of choice is his obsessive admiration for Paul Ryan body and how some tighter fitting clothes would give the observer (especially Schock) a better view. D’Addario is protesting a bit too much.

  176. lit per says:

    Both D’Addario and Geidner are homophobic apologists.

  177. usagi says:

    Yes, never having experienced the closet is impacting younger people’s perception of gaydar

    So does having access to being Mostly Straight as an option.

    I was at an anime con this weekend with a way younger crowd than I expected and the gender fluidity was amazing (there were several people if I’d engaged them in conversation, I’d have had to ask about their PGP).
    Gaydar as you and I and the rest of the old farts experienced it will be gone in another few decades. Not because it didn’t exist (it certainly does) but because it’s not a necessary skill any longer.

  178. Houndentenor says:

    Then he could do what all his colleagues do at CBS and cite confidential sources (which I think half the time are other reporters or someone looking to play a “journalist” for their own purposes). I suspect it wouldn’t be that hard to get a couple of gays to spill the beans if he had worked on the story for very long. Mike Rodgers always had signed affidavits before “outing” a politician just in case.

  179. devlzadvocate says:

    Some years ago a family member said to me, “I can deal with you being gay and you having sex with men”. I immediately said, “I am gay and I am attracted to men.” Two different things. Two different images.

  180. devlzadvocate says:

    What you describe is really what gaydar is to me. It is a number of things, not just a picture. In an earlier post I stated some snark about, “the long list of women he dated”. There is only one public sighting of him out with a woman, Megyn McCain. Not that dating or not dating women would tell us anything at all by itself, but with the clothes, associations with men, who those men are, comments on record regarding a number of things of personal preference, etc. create a more complete picture of a person that sets off gaydar.

  181. woodroad34 says:

    I kid Schock about his clothing, but that picture was taken during Easter, when such colors are more or less acceptable. And I do happen to know some very wealthy straight East Coast Republicans (or rather “Conservatives”), who are very colorful in their attire–albeit it in a Brooks Brothers way. But when you start stippling all the various points together: the big facial expressions, the attention to body image, the modish attire, the bear/muscleman/trainer, stalking 19 yo half naked divers, flashing your body in picture spreads altogether it all just points to “Mary, are you gay or WHAT????!!!” I’m from the Midwest–right next door to Schock’s state–and all of that is just screaming.

  182. Hue-Man says:

    ” (none of which depict him having homosexual sex, the thing that makes a person gay)”

    This has to be one of the most outlandish statements I’ve seen written about gays, ever. First, let’s deal with the double meaning: “The thing that makes a person gay is for him to be depicted in photos having homosexual sex.” Forget nature vs. nurture, there is only one thing that turns you gay and it’s a Kodak moment.

    The intended meaning, I think, is “A person is gay if, and only if, he has sex with another man.” The logical extension is that we’re all like Schrodinger’s Cat until we have sex with a man or a woman (sorry no bisexuals allowed in this black and white world). The fact that I was attracted to boys at age 12 must, therefore, have been a quantum error on my part since my sexuality couldn’t have been defined until I lost my virginity. What’s troubling about this new theory is the case of bisexuals or of people who no longer have sex – do they go back to their Feline inexactness?

    Let’s hope he doesn’t stray into the cultural arena; I feel an attachment to my ethnic background even though I’ve only visited the country once, don’t speak the language, and my ancestor who actually lived there, died more than 50 years ago.

  183. devlzadvocate says:

    “Anonymous”, like everything else, is only temporary.

  184. heimaey says:

    David Cross is amazing.

  185. devlzadvocate says:

    I think he meant Fire Island.

  186. jm2 says:

    i suppose you may be right. i literally read Itay’s post within seconds of him hitting the ‘send’ button; i just happened to be on FB, and being in Illinois it was not a stretch to instantly know who he was talking about. it’s one of those ‘open’ secrets here; he’s not the only politician in Illinois, but he is the only one that flaunts it as if he wants everyone to know. as long as you don’t open your mouth, no one cares – wink, wink.

  187. keirmeister says:

    OK, considering the topic, I had to link to David Cross’ routine on the subject:

  188. RyansTake says:

    Journalists can’t reveal their sources without permission.

    Furthermore, what he did is very different than what other journalists are doing, because at least he’s relaying something like this at all… instead of hush-hushing it and treating LGBT issues as if they’re something to be ashamed about like most of the media does.

  189. RyansTake says:

    Not to mention the fact that you ended your original post that blew this whole thing up with a pretty big caveat, making it clear that you were making a broader point than whether he was gay or not.

    In fact, that broader point is very important in the battle of LGBT rights… plenty of people are persecuted or otherwise put down just for ‘looking gay’ or being worried about looking gay, and the bully-nuts of the GOP are a huge part of that problem by being so vociferously hateful.

  190. devlzadvocate says:

    MS. D’Addario: Excuse me for using my five senses and ability to deduce things based on past experiences (i.e. normal brain function) and then using those decisions my brain arrives at to inform people of my thinking on people and things in our public life. That is not bullying. That is speaking truth to power. What is bullying is fucking men in private and then having the power to give those same men (and/or women) expanded rights, but denying them for your own selfish purposes.

  191. timncguy says:

    Itay Hod wrote his entire piece as a “hypothetical” instead of just doing what he was complaining about journalists not being willing to do. In fact, he never actually mentioned Schock by name. It was written more in the style of one of those idiotic “blind items” where the writer basically brags about “I know something you don’t know, can you guess what it is with these hints”

  192. jm2 says:

    HAMPTONS. he’s from Pe-O-ria, Illinois! you can’t dress that way in Central Illinois. well, unless you live in Effingham…

    i just may get in trouble for that!

  193. jm2 says:

    and what if Itay’s source wishes to remain anonymous? reporters are always dealing with this & media accepts it. am i correct, John?

  194. jm2 says:

    pheromones! or is it pheromoans? i forget. well, i get confused.

  195. jm2 says:

    wait! isn’t Mary, errr i mean D’Addario, the one who ‘outed’ or in a round about way ‘outed’ actor Chace Crawford by writing about the ‘man’ the actor was with at some event?

  196. TheAngryFag says:

    Gaydar is a phenomenon that actually has been put to the test in a lab. They just identified it as part of our sense of smell. Hence my crack in an earlier post about being able to smell Schock’s homosexuality two states away.

    Here’s the Psychology Today article on it.

  197. heimaey says:

    I have met two straight guys who have had the affectation. I’m still not convinced but they are in their 40s now and married with kids and I figure they would have come out by now. Who knows though. It doesn’t matter because the affectation exists and a lot of gay men have it and there’s nothing wrong with it.

  198. timncguy says:

    None of this controversy would have even happened if the Itay Hod, the out gay journalist who was complaining about journalists keeping the closet doors shut for gay hypocrites, had done for himself what he complains other journalists won’t do and actually presented the EVIDENCE for Schock being gay. Tells us the name of the journalist who saw Schock in the shower with another man and the name of that other man. But, until Hod does that, he is no better a journalist than all those he is complaining about. Once you do that, it’s no longer just speculation. Well, except for the one guy who won’t believe he’s gay until he sees the penetration for himself.

  199. rerutled says:

    Regarding Schock’s raspberry checked shirt, white pants and teal belt: I am pretty sure that’s how everybody dresses at summer lawn parties in the Hamptons.

  200. timncguy says:

    No, It was just very noticeable with the two pics side by side.

  201. Just don’t call him a drag queen.

  202. And as you noted, many gay men, but not all have it. I have yet to meet a truly straight guy who does. I met one years ago – he was married, and flaming – ten years later he hit on me on Manhunt :)

  203. heimaey says:

    So now it’s convenient to say that gay people don’t “sound” or “act” gay. Those are the same people that will kick your ass for talking like a faggot.

    Everyone KNOWS there’s an affectation that is considered “gay” and that not everyone who has it s gay, and that a few straight men have it. Aaron Schock has it. Liberace had it. Paul Lynde had it. So Schock may not be gay, but by having this affectation (speech patterns – not just his dress) should allow us to question it based on his abysmal LGBT voting record.

  204. The_Fixer says:

    So? This is a sin?

  205. The_Fixer says:


    There are a lot of gay guys who absolutely knew they were gay from an early age, well in advance of puberty. Being gay is not just about sex, it’s about who you are romantically attracted to (of course!).

    To say that they only criteria for truly being gay is one’s sexual activity is leaving quite a bit out of the equation.

  206. AtticCrazy says:

    Well, at least we don’t have to out D’Addario as a complete bore, because he has already done that himself.

  207. timncguy says:

    And here I always thought that what makes one gay is being sexually attracted to persons of the same sex whether one ever actually has sex or not. A person can be gay and a virgin the same as a person can be straight and a virgin, right?

  208. ChrisDC says:

    Well, if anybody can do that it would be you. I’ll sleep soundly tonight. :-)

  209. timncguy says:

    Look at the difference in his hairline in those two pictures. The picnic outfit from a couples years ago versus the Christmas “pants” outfit recently.

    HE’S GOING BALD !!!!!!!

  210. The_Fixer says:

    D’Addario’s rant is misdirected and missing the point. We’re not making fun of Schock (well, other than perhaps his taste in clothes), but rather acknowledging his probably being gay based on his actions. Gaydar may enter into it for some people who have directly interacted with him, but for most of us, it’s more evidence-based. That evidence being the following of Tom Daley, the people he associates with, and his knee-jerk reactions to the discussion to start with. That remark he made about Paul Ryan’s clothing choice was pretty telling, to me anyway. There’s also someone who saw him in the shower with another guy, and it wasn’t a locker room.

    My gaydar is spotty. Sometimes, it’s right on. Other times, I really can’t tell. I envy those people who are 100% correct. I’ve never known a straight person to approach that level of accuracy. Their criteria is based on what kind of clothes a person wears and what kind of interests they have. I have a straight friend who gardens and knows a lot about flowers, Some people think he is gay because of that. One of his ex-girlfriends “knew” that I’m gay based on the fact that when she met me, I was wearing skinny jeans. There’s nothing about me that makes straight people think I’m gay (there are people who say that they are surprised to hear that, there’s no effort on my part to “act straight”). So, her sole criteria was my choice of jeans. So there’s a lot of straight men out there wearing skinny jeans that she thinks are gay. Quite laughable.

    I hang with some younger people and their attitude regarding gaydar is that it’s nothing that they care much about. The straight ones are not worried about sexual orientation, so the gay ones really have had no need to develop it (as others have pointed out). If a young gay guy asks a young straight guy out for a date, the young straight guy is usually not going to freak out. They just say “no thanks, I’m straight” and they continue the conversation. Younger guys are (usually) not afraid of someone thinking that they are gay. It’s just another thing.

    So if Gaydar goes away with the next generation, it’s because of social evolution. I think that’s OK, as long as we continue to make progress in obtaining our rights. The ones that Aaron Schock wants to deny us (and quite probably himself, too).

  211. Mateus James says:

    I couldn’t agree more. D’Addario is terribly out of line with his misplaced empathy. To say that there is no gaydar, is to say as humans we employ no ability of deduction or intuition. And regarding the younger generation not needing/using gaydar, I also believe popular culture to be suspect; particularly music cultures influencing ones image and behavior.

  212. Yes, but the simpletons – as always – are taking it as mocking gayness, which is rather idiotic, and typical of the Twitter generation. (I must read something quickly, reach a conclusion about something the writer never even said, and then be interminably outraged!)

  213. karmanot says:

    Does D’Addario know he’s a drag?

  214. Indigo says:

    Not much to say when the punditery rejects gaydar because straight men who take up that occupation are straight which, more or less by definition, guarantees that they haven’t got gaydar in their genetic makeup. Ignorance is no excuse but a genetic absence is entirely understandable. As for the “young” and their preferences, I trust them to speak for themselves.

  215. ChrisDC says:

    Sure, there was (deserved) mockery in your writing on this, but I read it as, “Oh, sweetheart! Who do you think you’re fooling?”

  216. BloggerDave says:

    I believe the reason the younger gay generation is trying to reject gaydar is because they don’t want to give anti-gay people any kind of “tool” to bash gay kids. If gaydar exists, then anyone could have it including bigots who then can claim it and use it to harass gay kids… I’m sure they do agree it exists in private but in public I believe their denial is trying to serve a higher purpose…

    Having said that, queer culture exists as has been correctly portrayed in shows such as Will and Grace and most recently, Modern Family (watch the episode of the gay kid taking the Dunphy daughter to prom.) Hilarious and so true…

  217. bkmn says:

    The part where gaydar gets complicated is precisely with a closeted, self-hating gay. Your gaydar can ping at a scale of 10, but you know the closet case is going to deny it with all the bluster they can muster.

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