In high school, I was surrounded by people who thought they had the gift of being able to detect homosexuality in other people*. A ‘gaydar’, a gay radar.To my knowledge, very few of those people were gay or within the queer community. Rather they used predetermined social stereotypes to assume when they thought someone was gay. He/ she is so obviously gay, they would say. He wears makeup, and he talks like a girl. She has short hair and wears boy clothes, she’s such a dyke. Needless to say, I grew up in a fairly heteronormative environment where it was thought necessary to know someone’s sexual orientation, especially when said orientation fell outside of the hetero category. And then I really grew up, and I met all kinds of different people.
People who fell into those stereotypes who weren’t gay and people who didn’t assume any of those stereotypes but were. I met people whose sex, gender, style, and sexuality had nothing to do with their sexual orientation. And I met people who actually had a ‘gaydar’, queer identifying individuals who for all intensive purposes were allowed to have a gaydar. Not like the rest of us who base ours on stereotypes and societal preliminations, but people who really understood what it was like to feel queer.
One of those people is my friend Daniel– Daniel Andres Lastres Rodriguez. He let me interview him for this article. Those around him often perceive his style as feminine, but Daniel made it very clear to me that he enjoys wearing stereotypically ‘male’ and ‘female’ clothes equally. Not to mention those aspects of himself are entirely separate from his sex life.
Daniel’s grindr bio reads as so: “Positive vibes, don’t hit me up with Masc4Masc shit, feminine people or masculine, just talk to me” *Masc-masculine (and for those of you who don’t know, grindr is a hookup/ dating app for gay males)
One of the things I spoke to Daniel about was sexual fludity-
Daniel identifies predominantly as gay but has had sex with girls before. Mostly bisexual and gay girls he told me, explaining that he thinks queer women are more open to sex with different identifying people because they’re generally more open. So yes, Daniel is gay and has had sex with a lesbian. They both enjoyed it.
“I wouldn’t consider myself 100% gay[…] I’d say I’m more sexually fluid but prominently gay”
I asked Daniel if ‘queer’ would be a better identifying word for him.
Daniel: (Yes and no) “When I think of ‘queer’ I think of my whole identity. […] They’ll be times when I’m down to hook up with a girl but I’m a very queer individual and very flamboyant and there will be times when I don’t think I’ll meet the expectations that a girl wants”
When Daniel suggested that a lot of girls seem to want a dominant partner, I asked him if he preferred to be dominant or submissive during sex. He explained to me that he can be both and while most assume he’s submissive because of his personality physical appearance, he can be dominant too. He doesn’t have a preference, he told me.
“I just like sex a lot and I really like changing things up”
Emma: How do you think straight girls perceive your sexuality when you flirt with them?
Daniel: I think with girls, there’s this idea that because I appear a certain way, I’m going to be a certain way [in bed]. (For example) With this one girl, I was playing with her titties […] at the time it was turning me on, but she thought I was just being weird. I didn’t know what to do with them, they were so big
I asked Daniel what sex was like for him in general and he told me that it seems like a lot of people have a poker face when they’re having sex because they don’t want to embarrass themselves or seem unattractive to their partner. He on the other hand could care less what the other person thinks. He’s attracted to people who like to have fun, which is exactly what he has during sex. (He referenced a memory of ‘riding’ another guy while cheering and laughing out loud). It’s all about smiling and having a good time, he said.
When we started to talk about appearance, assumptions quickly became the main topic of discussion. A lot of people think femininity translates to your sexual taste and preferences. But the reality defends the opposite: while a lot of people dress the way they dress because they want people to see them that way, that’s not always the case.
Daniel: “The way you dress up, the way you display yourself has nothing to do with your sexuality, has nothing to do with your gender”
Daniel: If I wear very basic clothing, people wont think that I’m gay (Apparently trunks and a tee shirt is a straight look). I wouldn’t assume someone’s identity, gender, sexuality, just because of the way they dress or just because of the way they act”
Daniel is 21, born in Toronto, he is half Costarican and half Peruvian. Within the queer community, Daniel’s predominant identity is gay.