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Can People Tell That I'm a Lesbian or Bisexual?

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Dear Kathy:

Can women tell that you are gay? And no, this question isn't coming out of the blue. I live on campus at my college. I have what you can call a very active social life. I don't mean to say that I party 24/7 but I do my share. I go out with a group of friends and usually I get hit on by the frat boys. But lately it seems that women have been flirting with me a lot (not that I mind...) Some actually came up to me on the dance floor and started dancing with me. I'm not "out" but I am not the kind of person that will walk away from anyone like that. I can't be rude.

I can't help but ask because this didn't happen before I came out. I never got hit on by any girls. Can girls really tell?...Is it a coincidence that girls start hitting on me at the exact same time that I start exploring my sexuality? Or has it always been happening, I just didn't notice before?

Signed,

What's going On?

Dear Going On:

What a great question! This is something that gays and lesbians wonder all the time. Can someone tell if you are gay or not? Some people believe there is such a thing as "gaydar." Gaydar is a sixth sense that gays and lesbians have to distinguish gay or bisexual people from heterosexual people.

Is gaydar for real? Some people will swear it is. Personally I think that we gays, lesbians and bisexuals develop gaydar as a type of survival intuition. We need to be able to suss out who is and who isn't gay because hitting on the wrong person could be big trouble for us!

You will find some people who are convinced they just can't tell who is and isn't gay--even ones who are gay themselves. And then there are those people who fool everyone--even the ones who think they can tell.

To answer your question: Can people tell if you are gay or not? My guess is that they just sense that there is something about you that seems open. Maybe they are just hoping you're gay. You may even be giving off signals that you are not even aware of because now you ARE open to such kind of flirtation.

What do you think? Can you tell if other women are gay or bisexual?

--Kathy

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