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How can I tell if someone's gay?

Wed 18 Jul 2007 In: Ask Our Expert View at Wayback View at NDHA

Photo: Joseph Dupouy Don writes: I live in a small town and I don't know any other gay people. How can I tell if a person is gay or not? I really need your advice! Jacquie Grant comments: Don, the small town dilemma where the closet door is perpetually closed can be the lonliest of places for a Gay person, I would try the personals on gay websites and look for contacts in your immediate area as well as possibly broaden your horizons to the nearest big town, you will be surprised how the network works one you get inside. From my own personal experience, small town Gays usually are conservative and are possibly still in the closet so are hard to reach. Bill Logan comments: You can't really expect other people to reveal anything about themselves unless you are willing to reveal something about yourself. Some guys scatter their homes and cars and conversations with hints—references to gay clubs, perhaps, or postcards of Michelangelo's David, or rainbow flags. It is certainly worth picking up on such “hairpins” when other guys drop them, and if you are not willing to be completely open, then it is probably worth dropping some yourself. But the less direct your approach the slower the results. There's a lot to be said for directness. Find your target, arrange a drink or a coffee, and make sure your legs connect (briefly and “accidentally”) under the table. Do it a second time and hold the connection. Within about fifteen seconds you have a fair degree of knowledge. But if the hairpins don't work, and you can't bring yourself to the direct approach, you might resort to the code, which dates from the days when the closet was the norm. Unfortunately these days not so many guys know the code, and I've only encountered it once in real life, but there's no harm in trying it. About ten years ago I was visiting Seoul, walking in a lane in the central city near “Pagoda Park”, when a very attractive young man tapped me on the shoulder and asked in rather good English, “Are you a friend of Dorothy?” My hesitation was brief … “Yes, of course.” So perhaps you can ask your target: “Are you a friend of Dorothy?” A.J. Marsh comments: Don, unless you have finely tuned gaydar, which most of us don't, you'll not know who's gay and who isn't other than were they to broadcast it publicly. Contact your local council and ask if they can refer you to any LGBT organisations in the area or know of regular gatherings, coffee evenings, etc. Most towns will have these, and you can search on the Net too in order to find such events. Plugging GayNZ here, post a personal on the message boards asking if anyone knows of anything in your town; contact the UniQ or PolyQ at your nearest university/polytechnic as they often retain such details; look in the local paper's classified section. If your question really needs an answer as to how to identify your Queer brothers and sisters, I can't help you. Although, you could get the ball rolling and put a Rainbow flag sticker on your car or wear a Rainbow badge. I sincerely hope that, in our wonderful country, it won't get you assaulted, but you might find that others are drawn to you and recognise you that way. Also, speak to local cafes and see if they won't mind displaying publications like UniQ pamphlets or OutTakes! programmes, which can be obtained from many sources, that you can give them, and take note of if they're read or not. Just a suggestion. - 18th July 2007


First published: Wednesday, 18th July 2007 - 12:29pm

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