A recently released study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology claims to have partially unlocked the secrets of "gaydar." While the study isn't very in depth and leaves quite a bit of unanswered questions, it does pose some interesting possibilities.
The study claims that when looking at the walking stride (specifically the rear ends) of both straight and gay men and women, respondents can choose the queers with an overall accuracy rate higher than chance (60% for men, not so high for women). The study claims that "the gay subjects tended to have more gender-incongruent body types than their straight counterparts." Specifically, lesbians tended to swagger with their shoulders and men swayed their hips. They did jump to a conclusion that I didn't even think of though... I can't wait to see how SLDN will use this in their work!
"Studies like ours are raising questions about the value of the military's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy," Johnson said. "If casual observers can determine sexual orientation with minimal information, then the value in concealing this information certainly appears questionable. Given that we all appear to be able to deduce this information to some degree with just a glance, more comprehensive policies may be required to protect gays against discrimination based on their sexual orientation."
The findings also are part of mounting evidence suggesting that sexual orientation may actually be what social scientists call a "master status category," or a defining characteristic that observers cannot help but notice and which has been scientifically shown to color all subsequent social dealings with others.