When does this function begin to work?
Is there a help number
I can call?
Hi, Hello.
Yes, the gaydar you gave me just won’t turn on.
Yes, I read the instructions.
I have my queer proof of purchase right here,
Can I get a replacement?

Is immersing myself in queer culture required to getting this thing up and running?
After my sister graduates, she’s going to my aunt’s place in Seoul
There she’ll learn the gayageum and brush up on her Corean,
Maybe that’s what I need to do?
Assimilate myself in all-queer surroundings
Get the language down right…

If there is a password, just tell me
Maybe I can guess

Or is it that I’m so used to being stared at,
So used to everyone watching my every move,
That I’ve drowned all you out?
Ah yes maybe I’ve missed step one—

direct your eyes towards the subject.



Filed under community, queer issues/culture, writing/poetry

21 responses to “gaydar..

  1. cybelline

    I love this poem. Is this yours? I susbscribed to your blog because your writing is so fresh you remind me of me except for the writing part – mine is stilted, formal and beauracratic. So maybe you remind of me if I were some one else.

  2. This is awesome. That is all.

  3. lol @ cybelline! i did write this. i bet your writing is great and would love to read some of what you write sometime (do you blog?)
    thank you for the kind words.

  4. There’s always “are you a friend of Dorothy?”, but that’s me showing my advanced age :).

  5. hahaha!! i never heard of that before. gotta love code words

  6. My brother is a graduating senior from high school and he was showing me his year book. He asked me to guess which of his classmates were gay and which were straight. A guy from his home room he says is his friend was looking way femme to me. I pointed and said that one. My brother was amazed. I said, Dude, if I saw that one on the street and I was that sort of guy, I would not hesitate to address him as Sista. I bet he wears makeup.

    Also my brother asked me to guess which of the people in the GSA picture was straight. That was easy: the white one.

    I think that gaydar is in two things- it’s in knowing how the queer community in your area looks (the allies are all white so if there’s a nonwhite person at a queer event, xe’s queer, but a white person is a maybe maybe not), and it’s in watching the way that person reacts to the people around you.

  7. In Colorado, we use the term, “family”, as in, “are you Family?” I think that it is a fairly national term because I’ve heard it used in Philadelphia, to an extent in Chicago, and in certain areas here in upstate New York. It is used a lot among us queers in ADAPT.

    I’ve heard of Friends of Dorothy, though. Has anyone heard of “In The Life”? That’s what I heard when I was a teen.

  8. this is awesome!

    I heard from a friend of a friend that in Tennessee, the term was, “s/he goes to Our Church.”


  9. mhm Our Church, Our Family sound so much better than my codeword when talking about queer community over the phone at home: member of the club.

    does anyone know the history of in the life?
    so interesting >.<

  10. I suspect that In The Life is an old, old term, probably African American in origin, but I’m not sure. The only ones that I heard use the term when I was a teen were Black. I know that there is a TV program by that name that focuses on GLBT culture, and there is a website called In The Life Atlanta, and Sisters In The Life. They both have to do with Black GLBT culture.

  11. in rural new mexico its all about the knowing smile…funny how in big cities queers can take eachother for granted and get kinda catty and rude and dismissive whereas out here i liken it to rain in the high desert…you can feel it before it even begins to fall…and its always always welcome.

  12. saydrah

    I’m in CO and I haven’t heard the “are you family?” from any of my lesbian friends… hmm, is it against the rules to let straight girls in on the code.

    Hilarious poem, shared the link with my neighbor who’s been struggling with the same problem.

  13. I was in Colorado from ’88-04, in Colorado Springs and Denver. Lots of folks that I hung around used that term. What are they using now?

  14. I’m in Chicago and I’ve had people around the gayborhood ask me if I was family, but nowhere else. I thought it was sorta out of date.

  15. I’ve heard “member of the club” from my neighbor occasionally, but to be honest, I don’t really know– every time I’ve NOTICED that I’m receiving a query about my sexuality, it’s either to the point– “Are you gay?” or “Are you interested in women?” or more generally phrased– “Are you seeing anyone?”

    Could be that “are you family?” is still alive and well in CO Springs, though– Dobson does kind of tend to put a damper on openly expressed sexuality in the area.

    I’ll have to ask my friend from elementary through high school who I just reconnected with after a few years apart. We had a truly epic fight in 10th grade and didn’t speak for a long time, but I ran into her the other day. She’s in art school and seeing an awesome girl, but she is so shy about sexual topics that I imagine there must have been some creative wording involved. I just can’t see her being like my neighbor, who walked over to the fence my first day in my new rental house to introduce herself and her girlfriend and ask about my life, occupation, sexuality– not in an intrusive way, just in an, “OMG, new neighbor, be my friend!” way.

  16. This is awesome. I never have had good gaydar; though usually I’m pretty blunt and to the point about these things. Ah well.

  17. This is brilliant, especially the ending.

  18. Well, I went to Pride today (photos and anecdotes in my blog) and one thing I noticed was that a lot of young ladies wore jewelry, pins, or even wrote on their clothing, “IMRU?” Not a code WORD, per se, but cute and to the point!

  19. “people like us”–although in the south, usually means bisexual.

    Beautiful poem.

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