When Gaydar Becomes A Bullshit Detector

Andrew Sullivan —  Jul 15 2011 @ 8:06am

by Chris Bodenner

Dan Savage cites a fascinating study on gaydar from a few years ago to address the mannerisms of Marcus Bachmann:

Straight people haven't just gotten used to gay people—to openly gay people—they've come to the realization that they prefer openly gay people to lying closet cases. They would rather have a beer with an honest Cam than a glass of champagne with a lying Liberace. And that's why Marcus Bachmann is being ridiculed: it's not because he's perceived to be gay—it's not because he pings on everyone's gaydar save Michele's—it's because he's perceived to be dishonest. He appears to be a lying closet case, a lying closet case who's made convincing other gay people to join him in the closet his life's work. And straight people don't like being lied to. Not anymore.

The above closet case interviewed by Colbert deserves much more sympathy. A better Daily Show segment on the subject is Ed Helms walking through Boston with his homometer. (By the way, if you missed TDS's brilliant segments on Bachmann this week, go here and here.)

Update: A reader says it better than I can:

That video is absolutely heartbreaking.  Sure, the kid opened himself up to a bit of ridicule by inventing a proto-Grindr while maintaining his heterosexuality, but regardless of what his sexual identity was or is, the desperate, panic-stricken look on his face nearly brought me to tears.  Maybe I’m projecting.  I remember that phase of my own life all too well; wanting to admit to the world what I knew in my heart, but being too terrified to do it.  It was awful.

Thankfully, It Got Better, but 17-year-old me would never have been able to hold up as well as he did in the face of Colbert’s relentless confrontation.  I’d have completely broken down.  And it’s nearly as impressive that Colbert was able to keep it up and stay in character.  I know comedy isn’t pretty, but I imagine that he felt like a big piece of crap after that aired.  Or at least I hope he did.

Anyway, wherever that man is today, whether he’s married with kids or gay as a picnic basket, I hope he’s happy.