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Documentary Explores the Question, 'Do I Sound Gay?' — VIDEO


Why do some people sound gay? Why do some people not sound gay?

Filmmaker David Thorpe describes his new documentary:

In the tradition of funny-but-serious first-person movies like Supersize Me, Roger and Me and Good Hair, you’ll follow me as I encounter a colorful cast of linguists, historians, voice coaches, speech therapists, friends, family, and total strangers on the street, gay and non-gay, who share their wisdom and touching, funny stories about the "gay voice." You'll also hear intimate confessions and hilarious anecdotes from LGBT icons - Margaret Cho, Tim Gunn, Don Lemon, Dan Savage, David Sedaris and George Takei - as they open up about the "gay voice."

Thorpe has launched an ambitious Kickstarter to put the finishing touches on this film.

Watch the engaging trailer, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. It's a put-on, a front, a fakeness.

    Posted by: Buckie | Apr 30, 2014 7:59:29 PM

  2. That looks great!

    Posted by: Kakapo | Apr 30, 2014 8:16:52 PM

  3. That looks really good. I like guys who "look like tarzan and talk like jane" I think its sexy. Tim Gunn should be appalled by his voice LOL just kidding

    Posted by: Patrick | Apr 30, 2014 8:32:16 PM

  4. "Sound Gay" - Sure I know what it means, but when I start to consider it, I think, wow, what does "Gay" sound like? Are they meaning "not masculine", "feminine" - it's so loaded, the phrase itself. It's like "looks Gay", "Straight acting", etc. Maybe the film will clear it up. hmmmmm.

    Posted by: Mark Leo (@SFCpdx) | Apr 30, 2014 8:32:41 PM

  5. Don't ask others "Do I sound gay?," ask yourself "Am I well-informed, self-confident, strong, an engaged listener?," and nothing else matters.

    Posted by: rick | Apr 30, 2014 8:37:33 PM

  6. When I hear my own voice, I think I sound gay. However, I'm a Southerner living in Minnesota. No one can get past my Southern accent to hear the gay voice.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Apr 30, 2014 8:42:43 PM

  7. There is no such thing as sounding gay. You can sound camp but you cannot sound gay.

    Posted by: petey | Apr 30, 2014 8:53:51 PM

  8. Well Buckie and Petey, you could have saved David Thorpe a lot of work. He could have used all your research.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Apr 30, 2014 9:44:47 PM

  9. Who would have thought that such a simple question could unlock so many fascinating deeper issues? I'm in.

    Posted by: Phil | Apr 30, 2014 10:32:21 PM

  10. I hate to break it to you, but some straight guys sound "gay" too which means that how one sounds is utterly ridiculous with regard to understanding sexual orientation.

    Posted by: mcgill | Apr 30, 2014 10:50:17 PM

  11. So true, I have met many effeminate heterosexuals in my day.

    Posted by: Patrick | Apr 30, 2014 11:07:42 PM

  12. It is a fake posturing meant to mock their own self hate.....the "docudrama" should have mentioned that...

    Posted by: styler | Apr 30, 2014 11:30:07 PM

  13. Why on earth kid yourself about this? Lots of gay guys sound gay, a lot more than straight, or straight guys.
    I have a gay inflexion I don't like at all but there's nothing I can do about it. I'm definitely guessable to the savvy and I have to live with it. It's far from the worse thing in the world but I'd get rid of it if I could.
    Mostly I like men who have no hint of gayness in them whatever. You know: masc. I'm not that, but not too far from it. Just myself really and it's a great ongoing life lesson to accept and allow that.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Apr 30, 2014 11:41:23 PM

  14. In elementary school I was a member of what David Sedaris calls the "Future Homosexuals of America" and spent many hours in speech therapy to "fix" my thrusting tongue on S sounds. It's at least 95% gone now...although it returns, sometimes, when at least two of these conditions are present: I'm tired, I'm drunk, I'm stressed, I'm for some reason thinking I need to talk really fast, and, strangely, when I'm really hungry!?

    Posted by: Jason | May 1, 2014 12:10:53 AM

  15. I've always been curious about what causes the varying degrees of the "gay voice" so many of us have, even in those of us isolated from other gay people.

    Posted by: JMC | May 1, 2014 12:47:05 AM

  16. We used to rely on Buckie for a certain type of comment, and now I see after reading two posts we now have Petey too.

    Nicely done promo. Interesting topic, and they got a lot of A list gays to talk. Hope it works out.

    Of course the gay accent is a lot more than the classic sibilant S that Jason is talking about. The whole thing is an interesting question...little proto gay boys can have it who aren't hanging around with a lot of gay guys obviously. I've always wondered what the deal is myself.

    And of course straight guys can sound gay, but whatever it is it's a mainly gay thing. Although Mike Meyers who observed speech to do comic characters once talked about the artist accent and I think the teen accent being close to the gay accent.

    I myself am somewhere in the Dan Savage area or less, not necessarily immediately identifiable as gay voice but probably registering easily on decent gaydar!

    Posted by: emjayay | May 1, 2014 12:54:53 AM

  17. There's also the phony or affected intellectual voice - there are many "kinds" of voices - and mannerisms indicative of kinds of people. Calm, nice, easy going, nothing-to-prove, people who are not angry, such are the best company.

    Posted by: UFFDA | May 1, 2014 1:12:18 AM

  18. Seems like a neurological thing to me...

    It's still no excuse for having a cat crawling all over you though.

    Posted by: ToddyOutWest | May 1, 2014 2:18:26 AM

  19. I'm reminded of my Favorite Gay Ant..."He's So Gay, he can put S's in 'cracker!'"


    Posted by: Bruce Wayne | May 1, 2014 3:25:45 AM

  20. I'm looking forward to this movie. "Sounding gay" and its close cousin effeminacy have never as far as I know been given their due. Has anyone seriously studied these subjects? C. A. Tripp, author of The Homosexual Matrix and The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln, identified four distinct types of male homosexual effeminacy, and made the amusing and intriguing comment that men manifesting any given type almost always personally despise at least two of the other types. Now isn't that interesting? And drop-dead plausible? But seriously, the whole "acting gay" issue IS fascinating: some gay people "act gay," some "don't," and some (like me, I fondly think) "switch hit." But there's a catch. A lot of men apparently don't know "how gay" they act & sound until they see themselves on tape (the movie trailer talks about this). Here's a reason to take the issue seriously. Why is effeminacy associated with homosexuality? It's not a trick question. And it's more complicated than it might seem. Why do some boys (some gay, some not) have "girly" personalities? What makes that happen? I'm delighted to report something astonishing: NOBODY KNOWS. Really. Unless the psychological literature has delved into this in recent years in journals I don't hear about it, NOBODY has explained why some gay males act femme or, for that matter, why some lesbians act butch. The topic is wide open. So, why is that? Clue, I think: it relates to the issue of whether or not people are "born gay," and all the ambiguity and controversy therein. Nobody knows the answer to that, either. Queer Studies people: get busy.

    Posted by: Lewis Gannett | May 1, 2014 3:44:12 AM

  21. perhaps early affectation leads to the habit that is no longer recognized
    I know gay men who in gay company "nellies" but in non-gay supportive situations, i.e. work, sound "not gay"

    Posted by: L G. | May 1, 2014 6:56:58 AM

  22. Interesting promo (great cat). Raises lots of issues (and obviously some hackles) and I'm curious about the amount of socialization they track, versus biology. Looking forward to it, and I will contribute.

    Posted by: Ronny | May 1, 2014 7:01:52 AM

  23. It's an interesting complicated subject. A "gay voice" can be learned, just like an actor portraying a character or it can be natural and innate and subconscious. It could be "unlearned" or covered up but that would acting.

    Gestures, as quick as a second or two, can be just as revealing. And they can be natural or learned.

    It's too bad other people want to shove everyone into a category that fits their own prejudices instead of just accepting the variety and the differences.

    Posted by: james st. james | May 1, 2014 7:10:42 AM

  24. a friend of mine and myself always talked about the "gay accent"... another friend later introduced me to the "lesbian voice" (a sort of NPRish, newscaster voice with a hint of coach in it)....

    we later found out that there are tons of academic studies and research on the subject, and there are even terms and theories that are widely accepted. I hope this guy has come across that stuff...

    what I find most fascinating, and this is something that people who speak more than one language can relate, is that the "gay accent" seems to be consistent across language barriers...

    Posted by: V-8 | May 1, 2014 7:11:35 AM

  25. I had a boss who worked with the deaf. He said he could tell who was gay by the way they signed. So the gay accent can be full body I guess.
    How do straights get their accent? An accent that, in a majority of cases, indicates the person is straight. Do they get a sense of where they fit-in in society and acquire those traits as they grow-up? Maybe - and maybe gays are the same but different.

    Posted by: Markt | May 1, 2014 8:07:01 AM

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