Honey, I've never been able to hide this gayface. I've been mixing patterns and clashing colors since 1985. In terms of fashion, I like to be loud even if I'm feeling quiet. I'm a bit of an extroverted introvert, so the beauty of clothes is being able to turn up the volume without opening my mouth. There are also a lot fewer dykes in my peer group still living in the city. The queer-exodus has made me want to be as visible as possible, not just for my own ego but because I think having a multi-generational queer tribe is important. My wife and I are excited to play our role as "elders?" in the community. I hope that when the gaybies see us around town they think: OK. You can get older, find your unicorn, rock your own style, and make a little coin in this city without compromising your identity.
There was a lot of self-doubt surrounding how “coming out” would negatively affect my relationships with friends and family. It took years to amass the courage to tell those closest to me that I live a bisexual lifestyle. I recall the sense of fear from being exiled from my people—but instead, I was surrounded by the most endearing support system. So everything I do, I do out of love and I do it for them
To me, it's about living out loud. It's like, "I am what I am, and if you don't like it, bye". Mainly because I don't really have much of a choice. Look at me. When I walk into a room, everyone knows a gay has arrived! At work, I use they pronouns, which is edgy for me, even if most of the time, to the outside world, I seem perfectly confident. But I feel it everyday, that I am different, but instead of cowering because of it, I've learned to lean in. To stand up taller. I did try for many years to hide it but I was miserable. So now, I'm 37, and loving life, doing all the things I always wondered if I'd be free enough to do. And I am. My queerness is intrinsically out in front for me, so I've embraced that: it's in my signature, pins on my jackets; I wear it brightly, I make films about it (thegettybrothers.com), and I don't apologize for it, not anymore, because that's just not me. #theyface
From the tattoos to the piercings to my other style choices, I know I likely read as gay, and more and more, I’m loving leaning into that. When I was closeted, fashion was an escapist world, but I was vigilant not do anything that could overtly signal my latent sexuality. In the present, beyond looking good and feeling good, I feel a responsibility to show up authentically, in the hopes that maybe, just a little, I can help others feel safe to do the same.
Growing up in a very conservative religious community I struggled with so much insecurity about looking or acting gay. After coming out I then struggled to find or fit the stereotypes & heteronormative gender roles that were just as prevalent in the LGTBQ community as well. I’m an avid lover of mythos and stories, especially of the sci/fi & fantasy variety. I have always been drawn to powerful characters that I felt awoke my own power or fanned my flame of individuality. These stories & characters inspire the looks I put together and the jewelry I create and that confidence they give me is the face I do my best to put forward every day.
Do I have a gay face? If people had to make a snap judgement, I feel the resounding answer would be “yas queen”! I love blurring the lines between feminine and masculine as an androgynous cis woman; proudly pushing back on a dominant cultures ideas around what it means to be “normal” without having to say a word. I am an embodied celebration of the outlier, a quiet challenge to the status quo. With something as simple as lipstick and a jumper one day, and a suit and tie the next, I am continuing to remind others (as well as my conservatively rooted/raised self) how fluid we really are. Anti-assimilation is revolutionary. Long live the revolution!
Do I have a gayface? I’m a black, masculine of center, woman who hasn’t identified as gay since my teen years. All of my identities have made me vigilant of how I am perceived and how my every move lands. Although the path hasn’t always been bright, I’ve learned the true meaning of courage along the way.
I don’t know if I have gayface, but I definitely aspire to it and joke around about that with my friends. When I get dressed, there is always an oscillation between femininity and androgyny. My equilibrium usually feels like a balance of both a couple pieces that look pretty gay (overalls, stompy boots or platforms, baggy painter jeans, backwards caps, etc. balanced with something that feels more feminine via fit, cut, and/or print and pattern (and then there’s always the long hair, and often some makeup). It’s rare I go all in towards one pole or the other, but it feels good to be able to own that too every once in a while. Feeling into the shape of my own masculinity more after coming out has felt powerful for me.
Sometimes it’s frustrating to experience femmephobia within the community and queer spaces, but all in all in any scenario, I feel confident that if I want someone to know I'm queer, I always find ways to make sure they feel it. .
Our world is attraction-based, and for me life is all about energy and developing an aptitude to relax within whatever is happening. To be efficient that way feels good! Sex and love are just what they are. I may look or sound gay at times, but that’s just one dimension in the rainbow which connects us all. Tbh I think any gay face I have is much less apparent on public transportation
I tried so hard to conform my entire life. Growing up in a conservative town, passing was a privilege and a necessity. I started my transition when I was four or five, so like most other boys very early in life I absorbed what masculinity and manhood “should” be. You can’t play dress up. You can’t wear nail polish. All of your weaknesses were to be hidden. And my transness was most decidedly a weakness.
I hid the fact that I was trans so well most people ignored it—I did too, but that left me isolated from any kind of community, and made talking about a large portion of my life impossible, or embarrassing. Because of that internalized shame it’s taken me a long time to be comfortable publicly identifying, even within an LGBTQ+ space. Now that I have though, I’ve realized what a pleasure it is to be seen for your whole self. And I’ve realized that I don’t actually want to look or be cis. I don’t want to be some cheap facsimile when I could be myself. And I’ll wear nail polish if I want to.
Gayface to me is really more of a style or way of carrying oneself at this point...I think there are still plenty of visual cues that queers give off but at this point in time I think diversity is greater than ever and Gayface is really more of an aura of acceptance than anything else.
Growing up I heavily denied my own feelings for women- as a kid I promised myself that “liking girls” would be a secret I would carry to the grave. Nowadays I tend to question if I’m “queer enough” because I have dated/loved men and struggle feeling comfortable with dating other AFAB people sometimes. I’m terrified of making moves on people! I’m scared of risking coming off predatory, ya know? I punish myself for falling into cycles and struggle with imposter syndrome when I date dudes. But I also consider experiencing sapphic love as one of the most life changing and beautiful things to ever exist and hoot about scissoring any chance I can get, so go figure.
I previously worked as a talkline counselor for the LGBT hotline, a resource for LGBT and questioning people to get help coming out, figuring out their gender/sexual identity, and to find local queer resources in their area. Having conversations with strangers across the country about their experiences and blunders navigating their sexuality taught me that UNCERTAINTY is a consistent theme of “The Bisexual Experience”. Feeling uncomfortable with straight culture and feeling alienated by queer spaces is also a common thing; it’s been difficult to shake off. I’m unlearning things and growing more comfortable with myself the more people I meet who move through the world defying what it means to neatly fit any sort of sexual categories. I think I “gayface” inherently just by existing as queer person. But I guess I also signal my “gayface” with having a deep, flat voice, veiny arms and having an affinity for shitty haircuts. Being invested in exploring my queer identity over the years has pushed me to be more openminded and empathetic in the larger picture. I love my queerness. Navigating queerness and bisexuality has been exciting, absurd, gorgeous, and a gift. I’m so blessed to experience love in so many different ways, as confusing as it is sometimes. :)
As a white cis man who can pass as straight, I have the privilege of playing with fashion and flagging my queerness when I want. Like so many of my peers, I spent much of my life (almost 24 years) actively hiding who I was, so I’ve become hyper-aware of how people “present”. It’s ingrained into me whether I like it or not. As a proud gay/queer man, I love being able to show up as “masculine” at a job and then WORKING A F*CKING LEWK like this when I so choose.
I’ve never felt comfortable hiding my homosexuality simply because I don’t feel I can do it well. Growing up in my Mexican family involved a lot of “don’t wear that… don’t stand like that… stop flicking your wrist… go play with the boys.” It ingrained in me that I shouldn’t be myself, but what they wanted me to be. My reality was that I played better with girls than I did with boys and that was especially apparent when surrounded by family. Over the years since coming out, I’ve been learning to accept the body, mind, and spirit that I was given. I’ve been learning that to redefine the *machismo* in my life, I need to step into my *femenino*.
I used to have gay face. Before I transitioned, when I walked into a room, there was NOTHING I could do to not be read as queer. Now, unless I try, I just get read as another boring white dude. It’s been a lesson in humility, entitlement and mindfulness amongst many other things. I mean I’m deeply queer but do I have gay face? I dunno, do I? God I fucking hope so.
I think of gayface as being an energy, a vibe, a shared silent knowing. In my mind, I am always giving off gayface and am shocked when the general public assumes otherwise. I suppose that when I want to be sure that a fellow queer person reads me correctly I might drop a reference in one way or another to being “family.” If I think someone is a babe then I will def try to communicate the gay through a knowing look... wait is that flirting? All in all, I live my life, and see the world, though the lens of gayface and, girl, she look cute.
I think I probably have gay face? Twice in one month clearing customs in SFO and then Mexico City, I got misgendered. I find it simultaneously amusing and offensive getting "sir-ed" I'm at once transported and contained. I remember the night I became an honorary member of the short hair club at the @lexingtonclubsf (RIP), and gifted free drinks. It's funny how our bodies and presentation can read to queer community, family and the rest of the world, fitting into multiple spaces that can limit or expand our self projection.
I have the face of a 16 year old boy. If that isn’t gayface IDK what is! When people start with the transphobic slurs I smile and laugh, then walk (or run away). Don’t let them get to you! We are the future!
LGBTQ+ ❤️ and solidarity.
If you need anyone to talk to I’m here. ACAB,
XOXO -Noelle Skool.
I definitely have a gayface. Honestly, I'm shocked when anyone DOESN'T clock me as queer. I'm kind of a walking soft butch stereotype. But I actually like to be identified quickly—unless I'm in a space that doesn't feel safe. (See: Leering men, deep south, etc.) I haven't "come out" to anyone in forever. It hasn't seemed necessary. But I guess that experience is also coming from a place of privilege. I live in a liberal bubble where looking queer is no big thing.
Being all of me, whether at work, raising a daughter, or simply grocery shopping is something so easily taken for granted. I too often do. But the current political climate and policies being enacted are hurting people like me and preventing them from being all they are. Visibility matters and it’s past time to be heard.
Lately, I've been thinking about the difference in how I am treated depending on if I read as gay or not - like when I used to have short hair. I have a more alpha personality in general so when I present more butch physically, people outside of the 🏳️🌈 community tend to see me in a more narrow and singular way that borders on negativity (even in SF). I’ve never been one for labels as I don’t fit into one label. I am a solid mix of lesbian, bi & queer who happens to be happily married to a women. I used to be ashamed that I wasn’t just gay or straight but have come to embrace it. So many in our community put pressure on others to be one or the other when there is so much in between. I’m here for all of those who didn’t know they could be proud to be more than one thing.