Joshua Tabak, a psychology graduate student at the University of Washington, and Vivian Zayas at Cornell University reported a more than coincidental relationship between how college students perceive a person’s sexual orientation and the persons actual sexual orientation in the peer reviewed journal Public Library of Science on May 16, 2012. The research was reviewed at the Eureka Alert web site the same day.
The 129 test subjects viewed a series of 96 photographs of persons of various sexual orientations that had been cropped to eliminate any overt or direct cues about the photographed person’s sexual orientation. Only faces were visible to the participant judges.
The 129 judges predicted the sexual orientation of women accurately 65 percent of the time and adjudged the sexual orientation of men correctly 57 percent of the time.
The ability to determine sexual orientation at first sight was termed “gaydar” by the researchers who indicate the research undermines “the assertion that if people just kept their sexual orientation to themselves then no one else would know and discrimination wouldn’t exist, an argument frequently used by opponents of anti-discrimination policies for lesbian, gay and bisexual people” and may be totally inaccurate in a culture that is not obsessed with sexual orientation like Alabama is at present.
Now just suppose the legislature of the “great state” of Alabama got wind of this research.
Are there legislators in Alabama who would propose a “gaydar” law similar to HB-56?
While the only openly gay member of the Alabama legislature, Patricia Todd, would be adamantly opposed to using “gaydar” as a means to identify gay or lesbian persons as a state safety measure the full legislature has failed to pass any amendment to the Constitution of Alabama to include persecution or assault based on sexual orientation as a hate crime despite numerous attempts by Alvin Holmes to include such legislation.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is on record as stating “I will ensure that Alabama does not follow the trend of allowing gay marriages or civil unions, and I will protect our state’s right to define marriage as between one man and one woman.”
Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court candidate Roy Moore is on record in a 2002 ruling in a lesbian child custody case as believing “The State carries the power of the sword, that is, the power to prohibit conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution. It must use that power to prevent the subversion of children toward this lifestyle, to not encourage a criminallifestyle… Homosexual behavior is a ground for divorce, an act of sexual misconduct punishable as a crime in Alabama, a crime against nature, an inherent evil, and an act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it.”
It is very conceivable that a “gaydar” law may be in the offing for Alabama.
Just consider the position of a police officer taxed with determining at a glimpse the sexual orientation of an individual.
If this happens, or one might say when it happens, the tax payer of Alabama had better prepare for more proration in schools and every other state service to pay the litigation bill for such legislation. Remember Alabama already has HB-56 to stand on.
The paper “The Roles of Featural and Configural Face Processing in Snap Judgments of Sexual Orientation” is avialable at this site.
Joshua A. Tabak 1*, Vivian Zayas 2
1 Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America, 2 Department of Psychology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, United States of America
Citation: Tabak JA, Zayas V (2012) The Roles of Featural and Configural Face Processing in Snap Judgments of Sexual Orientation. PLoS ONE 7(5): e36671. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036671