"Gaydar" might be more of a real thing than a not-real thing, says science. Apparently people have the ability to "judge with surprising accuracy," the gayocity of a person just by looking at their face. Personally, I was hoping for gaydar that was actually a tangible electrical gadget, but if I already have the latent ability in my brain then that's pretty cool, I guess. I mean, it's free.
The University of Washington study showed that people can make "snap judgments" about the sexual orientations of others based on "individual facial features and from the way those features fit together." The snap judgments are right about 64% of the time; it's not infallible, but in a binary system, surpassing 50% is noteworthy. And yes, while I'm aware human sexuality is not binary, the study simply had people picking between gay and straight. Oh science, you so crazy!
Sexual-orientation prediction wasn't hampered by the use of black and white pictures, removing the subject's hair (the subject in the picture, not the person doing the judging), or flipping the image upside down. Regardless of alterations, people were able to do "better than chance" at picking out a sexual orientation from just a face.
Researchers say that people might make quick decisions about sexual orientation without even thinking about it, akin to how we deal with the gender of others. This brings us one step closer to our awareness that we all have Robocop-like HUDs that can identify sexuality, gender, race, occupation, and favorite deli meat just by looking at someone. Did you know that all Hispanic lesbian pharmacists like honeyed ham?