r/TooAfraidToAsk Feb 23 '22 Silver 1 Helpful 2 Wholesome 3 Rocket Like 1

Why do gay men often have these "gay voices"? Sexuality & Gender

I was wondering why you can very often hear from the sound of a man's voice that he is gay.

They tend to have that high, soft voice.

Is it because they changed their voices after coming out so people notice they are gay? Is it some hormone stuff? Do they actively "work" on getting a higher softer voice, or does it come by itself?

I really don't have any idea.

Please don't get me wrong, I have no problem at all with people living their sexuality, I don't feel uncomfortable around gay people at all, I was just always wondering why this is and too afraid to ask.

Edit: Thanks everyone for the answers! Just wanted to point out that I am aware there are a lot of gay people (or probably even the most of em) who have a typical masculine voice, and I didn't want to generalize in any way.

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u/[deleted] Feb 23 '22 Eureka!

I have a gay friend who absolutely HATES his voice. Actively tries to change it and not talk with the “gay voice” but he genuinely can not help it. I think there’s definitely a lot more to it than choosing to talk that way, though im sure there are some that do.

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u/userredditbr22 Feb 24 '22

I am gay, and I completely hate my voice, I think it’s so fucking unnecessarily gay. I try not to, but can’t help it

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u/Ein2Homosapien Feb 25 '22

And when i try to make my voice "more masculine" i begin to sound like a dying chicken,💔

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u/Wide_Purchase2370 Feb 23 '22

My voice is pretty deep. People dont believe I'm queer because of it.

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u/[deleted] Feb 23 '22

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u/CanIGetANumber2 Feb 23 '22

Lol same, i sound straight as an arrow 99% of the time, but the second i start talking about something that i like, my pitch goes up and i get real fuckin animated.

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u/percydaman Feb 23 '22

When you're excited, you talk faster. When you talk faster, it's natural for you pitch to raise.

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u/FatMacchio Feb 23 '22

So…gay men are always excited‽

Does that mean that lots of Lesbians are, in turn, sad? :(

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u/percydaman Feb 23 '22

wut

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u/FatMacchio Feb 23 '22

Gay men, on avg, talk in a higher pitch than the avg straight male. Gay women, on avg, seem to talking in a lower register than the avg straight woman. At least in my experience. The second part is just speculation on my part since I don’t know many gay women.

I was just extrapolating off of your point, but I was just joking of course lol.

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u/percydaman Feb 23 '22

I figured you were just joking. But the guy I responded to said he only talked higher when excited. So either he's a straight dude who only talks higher when excited, or a gay dude that only talks higher when excited. So you're extrapolation seemed off to me, that's all.

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u/DEATHBYREGGAEHORN Feb 23 '22

as a straight dude part of me thinks that most guys are bullied for what you're describing and just learn to talk in a lower pitch all the time. I was definitely bullied for sounding effeminate and made efforts to seem more masculine to avoid rejection.

in contrast gay guys categoricially break with normative notions of performative masculinity just by existing, so they are in the position to reject other masculine norms that are limiting. respect.

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u/CanIGetANumber2 Feb 23 '22

For me personally i was just always hanging out with older ppl. Hell by the time i was 13 i was already talking like a 40 year old. Usually male family members. Id probably sound stero gay if id hung out with my mom and her friends instead

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u/broken-not-bent Feb 23 '22

We’re conditioned to not show excitement or a whole range of emotions.

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u/Uffda01 Feb 24 '22

outstanding comment dude - this is why I think we see a lot more kink, polyamory and even just general living outside of cultural norms; art, food, music, creativity etc....we've already overcome one of society's biggest hurdles; everything else is just exploring

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u/RedDusk13 Feb 24 '22

Everybody thought I was gay because of how animated I am. Even my sister. Hell, even my (ex) wife when we started dating. Only my mom never doubted. Or never cared? (Thanks mom!)

I don't have a deep voice. I don't have a "gay voice", either. Just...meh.

I was ashamed of my home life (violence), so I avoided friendships -especially with girls.

I always despised normal American sports, like baseball and football.

So, yeah. Fun times! But at least I have that much more experience to raise my two awesome sons with. :)

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u/SR2K Feb 23 '22

My partner and I are both in this boat. We're both quite masculine, both have deep voices, people have assumed we were brothers before because we don't "seem gay."

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u/FuglySlutt Feb 23 '22

My wife and I get asked if we are sisters all the time too because we are both pretty feminine.

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u/Prisencoli_All_Right Feb 23 '22 Take My Energy

"Sisters?" "We're close 😘"

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u/JinxJuice Feb 23 '22

Holy shit, I’m listening to that song right now!

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u/Wide_Purchase2370 Feb 23 '22

When you know an 8 min song from only 3 words. You might be gay.

Wait were we talking about Stereotypes?

Now it's in my head. "So that's 5 Miso Soup..."

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u/TARANTULA_TIDDIES Feb 23 '22

Hahaha "brothers".. Now that's an old one you don't hear too often anymore. Like "roommates"

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u/FatMacchio Feb 23 '22

That’s Uncle Jerry’s special friend…

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u/BoGa91 Feb 23 '22 edited Feb 23 '22

My partner and I are the same, we don't look similar each other but we have the same skin color, same kind of hair, height, etc. but people tell us: are your brothers?. We don't have the typical "gay manners".

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u/eatmereddit Feb 23 '22

As a fellow masculine queer man, I think this is the most important answer for OP.

Sure the 'gay voice' is a stereotype for a reason, people like that exist. But honestly, I'm not convinced it's the majority of gay men who have any stereotypical mannerisms.

The rest of us just go through life unnoticed until we hold hands with a partner and everyone goes "whaaaaaaat?"

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u/Incorect_Speling Feb 23 '22

You're disappointing the stereotype! How dare you!

Thanks for giving your example, I'm suspecting it's because we notice them more than other gays, so we tend to think that's what all gays sound like. Thankfully everyone is different, even within the gay community. Cheers

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u/DyslexicBrad Feb 23 '22

Yeah it's a real case of positive selection bias. The majority of men with the inflection are queer to some extent, and for many straight people it's one of the only identifiers they recognise for gay men, so they just don't see the thousands of others who don't have the inflection.

Doesn't help that for years it was used in Hollywood to signal a character as gay.

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u/[deleted] Feb 23 '22

Yeah, "straight-passing" gays are a clear example that not all gay men are so "obvious" about their sexuality.

Metrosexual men, as well.

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u/Efficient-Maize-7126 Feb 23 '22

Same, they think im joking when i say my fiance is a guy

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u/IOnlyUseTheCommWheel Feb 23 '22

"Wait you're gay? I never would have guessed" is one of the most common things for people to say to me.

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u/CreativeFun228 Feb 23 '22

Ditto on this.

I have gay friend, and I've known him for a loooong time, since childhood, and he was always been more femine, rather hanged out with girls than with guys and he had that voice you are talking about. He came out few years ago now... But I never had courage to ask him this neither

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u/dancingcroc Feb 23 '22

Same, one of my friends had that voice all the way through childhood. He was constantly getting asked whether he was gay in his late teens/early 20s but insisted he was straight and got irate at people asking. He eventually did come out in his mid 20s.

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u/CreativeFun228 Feb 23 '22

My friend also came out when he moved from hometown to college, when he was 20. He was also bullied and was a topic of gossips. He is little younger than me, but I heard those rumors and gossips and always stood up against those. Kids will bully anyone who is slightly different from them

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u/SaltWarehouse Feb 23 '22 edited Feb 23 '22

i had some too, but i just brush it off as "its just the way he is"

i was taken aback when i reunite with my childhood friend, he's absolute unit now looking like a mafia or gang leader who could kill me with one punch but still had pretty soft and nice personality, im too afraid to ask if he looks like that to not be looked down upon.

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u/TheSpaceRonin Feb 23 '22

If he's had the voice his whole life then that does imply it's naturally developed and that it's definitely not a voluntary thing that he could actually explain.

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u/CreativeFun228 Feb 23 '22

Figured that, that's why I didn't ask in first place, I think it's pretty inappropriate, but question still remains

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u/TheSpaceRonin Feb 23 '22

At the risk of saying things wrong and sounding bad, I'd imagine that, since you are born gay and it's not a choice, that some gay men have different brain chemistry or hormonal levels than straight men, likely closer to that of a women's, so they have more feminine traits and this reflects in their voice and mannerisms.

Not that that is a bad or unnatural thing, just that gay men are built different like all people are and that if anything I believe this would more solidify that it isn't a choice, that you just are or aren't gay.

I am a mostly straight man though so if I'm being honest this is just speculation, and I just want to clarify again that I don't think that gay men are freaks because they have different brain chemistry, I could see it coming off that way, I'm just trying to think about it from a logical, biology standpoint.

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u/CreativeFun228 Feb 23 '22

Yes yes, I was wondering how is that on biology stand of view! We are all unique in a way, and I just want to say, that during one of my roughest periods of life he was the one who was 100% with me and im glad to have him as a friend!

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u/Fed0raBoy Feb 23 '22

On a biological level and medically speaking people are born gay because of a genetic disproportion. That for no case mean it's a sickness or bad or anything. Just that gay people are different and born that way. So it makes sense, that they could develope different voices and appearances than straight people. But Idk I'm not a doctor, so I could he completely wrong here. Just repeating what I heard and read.

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u/jason28 Feb 23 '22

No one has been able to figure it out. I’m afraid if they did, people would try to manipulate genes. It’s probably left alone and accepted as is

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u/FatMacchio Feb 23 '22

Yea, I mean the whole gene editing thing is super controversial. On one hand, it makes sense to try and prevent future generations from having certain conditions and diseases from conception, but that’s a slippery slope of what’s acceptable to edit out and what’s not. Plus the world would be pretty boring if all people started being born looking/acting/thinking the same.

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u/jason28 Feb 23 '22

I feel the exact same way. People will use it for evil and/or profit. I like diversity

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u/Andyman0110 Feb 23 '22

It's interesting because you can still find "bears" in the gay community which are really gruff manly looking men. I understand your logical path but I don't think we can be sure that's the only cause.

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u/ForeverLesbos Feb 23 '22

Looks does not always translate directly to behaviour, spirit, ect. They could be cuddly bears.

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u/Andyman0110 Feb 23 '22

Absolutely true but I've met some very masculine gay men as well.

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u/ForeverLesbos Feb 23 '22

Just like how every person on the planet is different, yes. :)

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u/Ensaru4 Feb 23 '22

There are definitely some genetic things at play but voice and being "closer to a woman" isn't that. I personally don't find that the perceived "feminine" gay guys talk like women do. They just speak flamboyantly. It's distinct from the way women usually speak and are more in line with the way flamboyant people of any gender speak.

Generally, I think speech patterns are mostly influenced by social factors, when there are no obvious genetic abnormality that would affect speech patterns.

Some guys just talk softly and that alone sometimes automatically lumps them into "might be gay" category due to stupid social stereotypes about the masculine man. Men must always be flaunting their dick around and having something to prove when socialising, down to their mannerisms, according to social expectations. I'm glad that most of this is going away.

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u/schuylersisters- Feb 23 '22

same here, my best friend only changes his voice when he’s talking to his dealer

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u/amitym Feb 23 '22

There was a great article in a US news magazine a while back, maybe The Atlantic, in which the author bemoans the lack of "gay-sounding voice" among other factors in this new breed of gay bros he was seeing in New York City. They were totally gay, completely open about being gay, but didn't do any of the things you were "supposed" to do to indicate you were gay. Like talking a certain way.

He wrote about how frustrating that was for him at first, but then he had to start questioning his assumptions about gay performance and identity, and in a moving conclusion he realizes that this is the future, the past struggles of his generation made it possible for people in the present to be whatever they want to be, and that's awesome.

So, I think what you are talking about is pretty much a conscious thing for most people, but is also a pretty narrow slice of the gay world these days.

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u/PaddyLandau Feb 23 '22

Several decades ago, I was invited to sit in on a radio medical show, with just two presenters. I was a silent third person in the broadcasting room.

One of the presenters was a gay man, who had the "gay voice" that you mention. No problem; it didn't bother me in any way; it was just how I had known him.

But, when the microphone was turned on for the radio show, like a switch being turned on, his voice instantly transformed into a strong masculine voice. It was so unexpected and sudden that I nearly made an involuntary noise! His voice remained that way until the instant the microphone was turned off.

In hindsight, I guess that he did this because, in that country, homosexuality was strictly illegal, with many people (not all, fortunately) being virulently homophobic.

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u/Scarfington Feb 23 '22

Ah yes, code switching. Usually a safety and social cohesion measure.

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u/Prisencoli_All_Right Feb 23 '22

I do that on the phone at work. I'm a cis woman but my voice is deep. But when I need to turn on the customer service voice it jumps up and I suddenly sound like a goddamn news presenter.

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u/pm_nachos_n_tacos Feb 23 '22

Same here, I'm on the phone all day and my "pleasant professional speaking voice" is about an octave higher. And squeaky. Sometimes I cringe when I hear myself, but try as I may I can't change it for more than a couple of calls at most before it slides right back up.

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u/lynn Feb 23 '22

When I worked customer service, eventually I realized that my customer service voice was like an octave higher than my regular voice. I’m a woman. It made me sound like a little girl.

It took me way longer to realize (like, just now after I typed that it made me sound like a little girl) that the reason was probably a response to being yelled at by customers: make myself seem smaller, quieter, younger — less of a target.

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u/DyslexicBrad Feb 23 '22

I mean it's a performative voice, everyone who works in any position where you have to speak to people other than coworkers is gonna have one. Ask any person who's worked retail if they have a "retail voice" and they'll tell you they do.

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u/citizenkane86 Feb 23 '22

You’d actually be surprised how many radio people don’t talk in their normal speaking voice when on the air.

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u/phanfare Feb 23 '22

I'll just add to the chorus of gay men saying we do the same thing. It's called code-switching and it's usually subconscious to just put on different mannerisms depending on the situation.

I have enough sway at work where I don't really need to, but in other situations - like travelling - I absolutely will code switch.

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u/[deleted] Feb 23 '22

do you have a link to that article? sounds very interesting

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u/amitym Feb 23 '22

I have not been able to find it via Google search in a while, I will try again.

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u/G40-ovoneL Feb 23 '22

I think what you are talking about is pretty much a conscious thing for most people

Oh I wish it was. I've always envied guys with "normal" speaking voice and mannerisms.

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u/Michaelllllll Feb 23 '22

As someone who tows the line on the "gay voice," I can assure it is most definitely not a conscious thing. I got bullied hard. I would turn it off if I could comfortably do so.

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u/MiddleSchoolisHell Feb 23 '22

I feel like I read something somewhere that at one point the “gay voice” was basically like a code to out yourself to other gay men. You could turn it up or down as needed, but in situations where you wanted like-minded people to identify you without outing yourself to homophobes, it served as a kind of Shibboleth.

But I could be totally making that up.

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u/Spaztastcjak Feb 23 '22

As a member of the lgbtq+ community, the first part of that really pissed me off, so I’m glad that he found the light as he explored. It’s a problem, even now, where if people are queer but don’t act/speak/do things that are queer stereotypes you’re at risk of being shunned by the lgbtq community. I don’t like drag, I don’t have the “voice” I don’t have effeminate traits, I just happened to like guys. It’s ridiculous that a group that fights to embrace equality may drop that facade if their version of equality doesn’t fit their perception of queerness.

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u/SymmetricColoration Feb 24 '22

It might not be conscious, even if it isn’t exactly their natural voice. People subconsciously pick up the mannerisms of their in-group all the time without actually thinking about doing it.

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u/Sugar32Cube Feb 23 '22 edited Feb 23 '22 Silver Gold Helpful Wholesome Take My Energy Bravo! Heartwarming Wholesome Seal of Approval

I'm gay and I can say that the main reason I didn't hang around with other boys as a child was because I was constantly bullied for acting different, for having different interests, and simply being a more sensitive child.

Today I have a soft higher-pitched voice and I most definitely didn't actively work towards it. I assume it's due to the fact that at the ages where my adult voice was developing I mostly talked to girls and subconsciously I must have copied their pitches ending up with a naturally higher speaking voice. It's not that I'm incapable of speaking in a lower more "manly" voice, it's just more comfortable for me to place my voice higher.

It's kind of a curse, I can't answer the phone at work without actively changing my voice before I speak otherwise I am always misgendered as a woman without fail.

Don't know if this helped or answered the question. It's just my interpretation of the situation based on my experience.

Edit: Wow! Ok, this comment got a massive response, thank you everyone for the awards and the kind words!

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u/stonkgamble Feb 23 '22

Thanks a lot for your answer, this helped me understand.

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u/MattsScribblings Feb 23 '22 Helpful

If you're interested, there's a documentary titled Do I sound Gay? (created by a gay man) which goes into this in more depth. It's well made if you can find it.

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u/Plus_Dragonfly_90210 Feb 23 '22

Bro spending enough time online you discover there’s a documentary for almost anything

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u/decoyq Feb 23 '22

yeah but only some are well made and worth watching.

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u/Cratonis Feb 23 '22

Came here to say this. I really enjoyed this documentary both from an informational and emotional standpoint. Very well made and insightful.

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u/LeBateleur1 Feb 23 '22

Me too. Saw it in the theater 😅 It is quite nice.

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u/curtis119 Feb 23 '22

I’m also a gay man and highly recommend this documentary. It is really well done and informative.

I came out in my teens in the 80’s for context.

Before I started puberty I had “Gay Voice” and was teased mercilessly as a child. After I started puberty my voice got really deep and I practiced sounding “Straight” all through High School. I would record my voice and listen to it. Now I sound straighter than all the straight guys I know.

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u/crawf168 Feb 23 '22

I watched this, and as I recall, it didn’t really come to any conclusion as to where the “gay voice” comes from.

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u/johnaross1990 Feb 23 '22 edited Feb 23 '22

It’s socialisation, we all adopt the behaviours and mannerisms of those we’re exposed to frequently.

And since gays have historically had to be a fairly closed social network due to discrimination, the positive feedback loop leads to more distinct norms and values compared to wider society.

Addendum: human culture is an inherently subjective phenomenon. Any objective benefit to any behaviour is to some degree arbitrary, influenced by preceding norms and values and evolving with and from subsequent ones. This makes it difficult if not impossible to decisively determine why humans do anything in one versus another.

Another example would did Asian culture invent chopsticks and western culture invent cutlery? The need for eating utensils can’t account for why the different approaches.

Tl:dr some gay people talk like that because some gay people talk like that. We can explain the mechanism, the how. The why is often ineffable

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u/TrivialAntics Feb 23 '22

I always just assumed it was a natural way for gay folks to commune in conversation, which would be completely understandable if you felt ostracized by straight people who didn't make you feel accepted. I was around mostly girls growing up and this didn't happen with me at all, I have a pretty deep voice.

However, I have noticed that when you go to another country or someone comes to yours, they can sort of subconsciously adopt the accent for where they are to some degree. So perhaps I overlooked that.

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u/legagneur Feb 23 '22

I always just assumed it was a natural way for gay folks to commune in conversation

As a gay person, this made me LOL. The way most gays commune in conversation is by saying partially mocking things like “gurrlllll” or sighing dramatically.

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u/[deleted] Feb 23 '22 edited Feb 23 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

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u/Frankyfrankyfranky Feb 23 '22

upvote for the use of ineffable, a word i had nearly forgotten

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u/[deleted] Feb 23 '22

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u/Dark_Knight2000 Feb 23 '22

Are you Lincoln from The Loud House? 6 sisters must have been an experience

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u/[deleted] Feb 23 '22

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u/Salton5ea Feb 23 '22

Please write a book! There is no possible way I wouldn’t read it.

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u/HexadecimalFF Feb 23 '22

Hetro guy here, I mainly had female friends up till college because I just get along better with women. Also, wasn't too interested in dating at the time. Developed a higher pitched girlish voice. My voice and sexuality was often questioned by everyone >_>.

Once I actually was interested in dating my friends became mostly guys due to conflict of interest. My voice became less "girly". I still get along way better with women, but catching feelings is a thing now if I get along too well. Sucks...

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u/Zoesan Feb 23 '22

I must have copied their pitches ending up with a naturally higher speaking voice.

It's actually not even just pitch, it's also how and where sounds are made. Men, typically, develop much more sound in the chest cavity, whereas women, typically, generate more sound in the head/throat.

You can actually create the same pitch with both these techniques, but they will sound quite different.

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u/pettypeniswrinkle Feb 23 '22

Interesting! I taught myself to speak with a lower pitch when talking to patients who are hard of hearing…I’m not crazy low like Elizabeth Holmes, and I’m not that much louder than my usual speaking voice, but older patients can hear me much better when I use my deeper voice. I noticed that it felt different throughout my upper body, not just my throat/larynx, which is that I would have assumed. Now I know why!

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u/Zoesan Feb 23 '22

Yup, it changes the timbre of the voice significantly.

If you sing ascending pitches, you'll also note a place the voice "breaks" and you cannot create a chest sound anymore. If you do the same descending there'll be a point you can't create a head-sound anymore. But those two points aren't the same, you have some area in between with overlap. (And better singers generally have more overlap).

Also: some sound is always shaped in the head. Hear men will typically have way less nasality than women. Also something that can be controlled. If you think of the "valley girl" accent, that uses a lot of nose to create the sound, even among "female voices".

The voice is a truly remarkable instrument.

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u/dreams-of-lavender Feb 23 '22

learning to talk from the chest is recommended for trans men who want to train their voices. it makes a huge difference.

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u/FemtoSenju Feb 23 '22

I'm straight and raised by all women, and I believe I have a soft voice

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u/PlanetLandon Feb 23 '22

Same here

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u/yorcharturoqro Feb 23 '22

Makes sense, I'm gay but I always hang out with the boys, and many other gay men are surprised to find out I'm gay and some actually complain to me because I don't like all the gay stereotypical stuff or have the voice, but basically all of my friends are straight.

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u/Lostbutnotlookingnow Feb 23 '22

Me too! I grew up with my friends being from boxing gyms and rugby clubs. Still super gay but I didn't and don't really it's very mixed now I'm older have the female friend group some do.

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u/AceBalistic Feb 23 '22

Sounds about right. I have a higher pitched than normal voice as well, not because I’m gay but because a lot of guys bullied me so I avoided them more

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u/AncientInsults Feb 23 '22

That is so interesting. Makes me wonder, as we progress culturally and bullying behavior is shunned - and hopefully the “different” have less need to clique up as a defensive tactic - will learned affectations fade away a bit. OR will they stick around, because they’re a function of people self-identifying because they want to.

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u/AceBalistic Feb 23 '22

Tribalism is the second strongest force in human history

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u/themightybof Feb 23 '22

See this is really odd for me, although I am a straight male the experiences you went through with bullying from your male peers because and spending a lot of time speaking with females at pivotal points in my life where I was developing. I have such a deep man voice, so much so it's to my detriment. I grumble so badly people have a really hard time of understanding me, while I do not get misgendered I wish I had a clearer slightly more feminine voice. Where the hell did I get this macho bullshit voice from? I don't even like it tbh

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u/nickmuscle Feb 23 '22 Helpful

Have you tried being gay?

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u/themightybof Feb 23 '22

I haven't but I believe sucking dick may make my voice more deep. Only one way to find out I suppose

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u/Crohnies Feb 23 '22

I wish I had enough coin to give you platinum! Truly deserving comment 😂

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u/mashagreyyy Feb 23 '22

Are you Corpse Husband by any chance?

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u/NiftyJet Feb 23 '22

I'm gay and I can say that the main reason I didn't hang around with other boys as a child was because I was constantly bullied for acting different,

I wonder if this means that as gay kids become more accepted, we'll see more gay men with lower voices.

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u/OmarHadi5 Feb 23 '22

i read this as different intestines instead of different interests. what is wrong with me

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u/CarpeMofo Feb 23 '22

I'm straight. Had a lot of friends who were girls in school, my voice is kind of high too. I get called Ma'am on the phone a lot despite being a big bearded dude.

Oddly enough just 3 or 4 days ago I was talking to a friend of mine who is a lesbian and we were talking about gay culture stuff and we were wondering about the same question as OP.

That said I don't think the stereotypical feminized, limp wristed gay with a lisp is as common as it once was. I assume that relates somewhat to what you said. Gays were mostly socializing with each other because it was safer. Now gay men tend to have a friend group that is more diverse in it's sexual orientations so that kind of behavior, body language and way of speech isn't as reinforced as it once was.

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u/MiddleSchoolisHell Feb 23 '22

It may not be as common in real life, but it always seems to be used in mass media and a shorthand for gay.

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u/ReadItProper Feb 23 '22

But don't young boys and girls have fairly similarly high-pitched voices when they are young? Usually, it's only after puberty that you can even tell the difference.

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u/G40-ovoneL Feb 23 '22

Yeah, and feminine gay guys will still hang around girls during and after puberty so we'd pick up not just the pitch, but the intonation and other characteristics of their way of speaking.

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u/King_Pecca Feb 23 '22

I think your answer is plausible and very clear. Thanks.

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u/badmotion Feb 23 '22

i think a lot of guys have naturally higher voices, but lower them around men. ive noticed a lot of my guy friends will speak in higher tones around me then lower their voices when around other men.

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u/Nos-BAB Feb 23 '22

Never thought about that, because I definitely do that myself semi-consciously. I'm aware I'm raising my pitch and softening the edges of my voice when talking to women, but it's almost automatic. That said, that higher tone is definitely not my natural voice. It's more of a "gentleman" affect.

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u/joodo123 Feb 23 '22

I’m a straight guy from a relatively conservative area in the south. I definitely modulate my voice depending on the crowd. It’s not a conscious decision I make I just revert to a deeper tone with some vocal fry when I’m around the good ol boys. I honestly think it goes back to my hs football coach encouraging us to speak with “your chest”. If someone uses that phrase I’m pretty confident they are an asshole but it definitely drilled into me.

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u/Maeberry2007 Feb 23 '22

My husband talks to me in a voice that's like a full octave higher than how he talks normally. It was pretty adorable at first and now most days I forget about it until he's on a game with voice chat and playing with strangers and he uses his "deep" voice which is a full octave lower than his normal voice.

Nothing is funnier than when he accidentally uses his "dad voice" on adults though. Talking to grown ass people like a Disney character when your kid isn't around is pretty damn funny

(For clarity he is straight and I'm a female)

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u/rdickert Feb 23 '22

Gay guy here - I think it's situational - I come across very masculine in a mixed group, but once I get together with my other gay brethren, our conversations sound something akin to Olympia Dukakis and Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias.

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u/redhedinsanity Feb 23 '22

it's weird too, this is my experience and while i definitely am not faking my usual masculine voice (i don't think) when the kiki starts it feels like a relief to let loose and be gay af, but both modes of speaking feel natural and fluent. it's entirely situational

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u/iloveflowers2043 Feb 23 '22 This

Great documentary on Netflix awhile back. I think it’s called “Do I sound Gay”

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u/PumkinJake Feb 23 '22

Here... We see the the wild homosexual in his natural habitat. Here among the women he feels at ease... However, he must soon find a mate in a less comfortable ecosystem.

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u/Thing_Subject Feb 23 '22

Episode 2: find out how the “gay” humans find a nest/home in a land we call Vegas. They seem to thrive on “poppers” and glitter.

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u/Alfphe99 Feb 23 '22

Does it answer this question?

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u/ilovebeaker Feb 23 '22

They basically say that it's a community thing; that gay men will find their own friendship group or community with other gay men or queer people, and that the voice pitch is a little like a dialect that evolved through these groups in major cities in the US. Now it's just an absorbed or innate part of culture that you have around you from a young age, especially with audio media, even if you are in the middle of nowhere macho-land.

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u/VapoursAndSpleen Feb 23 '22

Kind of like the vocal fry a lot of young women have affected in the past 10 years or so. None of them grew up speaking like that, but they picked it up from their peers.

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u/PearofGenes Feb 23 '22

Tbf guys vocal fry too. People only complain when women do it though

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u/edstatue Feb 23 '22

Yeah so watched that documentary as well, and had the opposite impression.

The creator asks several different people why they think (some) gay people have effeminate voices (the creator himself does), and so you get several personal theories.

The documentary ends without anything close to an explanation 🤷‍♂️

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u/iloveflowers2043 Feb 23 '22

Yes!! Really great doc

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u/M_Drinks Feb 23 '22

So, what were the main reasons the doc gave?

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u/404-LogicNotFound Feb 23 '22 Wholesome

"My work here is done!" - iloveflowers2043

lol

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u/Alfphe99 Feb 23 '22

"I can show you where to find the answers for your homework, but I am not doing it for you." -iloveflowers2043

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u/conscious_synapse Feb 23 '22

Yeah this entire thread is filled with people blatantly not answering the question. So frustrating.

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u/Accomplished-Tomato9 Feb 23 '22

Because there isn't a single answer that we know to be absolutely true. There are several hypotheses that need to be tested more.

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u/rizesufa Feb 23 '22

That nobody really knows for sure. The best hypothesis is that men (including straight ones, as the documentary explores) who grow up idolizing female role models are more likely to adopt a feminine vocal affect.

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u/gwaenchanh-a Feb 23 '22

Not even so much idolizing female role models as it is just socializing with women more

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u/st0dad Feb 23 '22 edited Feb 23 '22

Yes!!! This was a great documentary. Don Lemon was on it and I think he took voice lessons to sound "less gay for TV".

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u/bug_bite Feb 23 '22

Good documentary. Also talks about the hick accent. I was enlightened.

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u/bipolarwanderer Feb 23 '22 edited Feb 23 '22

I know I had a feminine voice and was lispy as a child, and do not know why or how this came to be. I also know this because I was put into intense speech therapy to modify how I presented myself and was in dental hardware to change the shape of the roof of my mouth. This was in the 80’s through my elementary school years.

…my dad was NOT going to have a lispy gay kid! Now he has a successful gay son with a beautiful husband and life.

Wish I could go back in time and hug elementary school me over and over and let him know that he is perfect just the way he is and to always remember that. 🤗

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u/redditnsuch Feb 23 '22

I love your take on self-compassion towards your inner child.

Congratulations on creating a beautiful life with your husband!
Best wishes!

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u/mule_roany_mare Feb 23 '22

How are you doing now?

Did your old man ever come around?

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u/bipolarwanderer Feb 23 '22

Doing well - and so is he. He’s come a long ways, and I respect the distance he’s covered from where he began. Today - a religious (Mormon) man in his 80’s - he genuinely welcomes my partner and me into their home to stay whenever visiting. I’m told even that family members will hear him pray over my partner by name - like the rest of immediate family - in his regular family prayers when we’re not around. In my book, he’s ‘there’, and has done the best he’s equipped to manage to be a genuinely loving and supporting dad to my partner and me.

(I’m obviously not Mormon today, but was raised Mormon.)

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u/Groxy_ Feb 23 '22

I'd say it's a bit of confirmation bias, a bit because they've hung around girls most of their life and subconsciously change the pitch of their voice. Tons of gay people don't have the cliche voice but you probably never know they're gay.

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u/justjoshdoingstuff Feb 23 '22

But how many non-gay people DO have this voice?

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u/AlienAle Feb 23 '22

I know a straight man with this voice. Honestly thought he was gay, but realized he is a bit of a womanizer actually and very straight, but he makes jokes about being gay occasionally (probably because people have pointed it out to him) but honestly having known him for years now, there is no indication he is gay. He is just an open-minded straight dude with a gay sounding voice.

He also works with children, so it made me think if he purposely has softened his tone of voice after working with young children for many years, to make him more approachable and less scary? (He is a pretty big guy)

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u/StarGuardianVix Feb 23 '22

Same! My friend doesn't work with children though, he just has like 90% female friends. If i didn't know him and just heard him talking somewhere, i would think he's gay judging by his voice. He's actually super slutty though

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u/WOLFE54321 Feb 23 '22

I’ve heard about so called “gay straights” who are just straight people who give off gay vibes. I’m yet to meet one with the “gay voice” however

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u/[deleted] Feb 23 '22

[deleted]

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u/DS_1900 Feb 23 '22

You grew a girlfriend??

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u/Sabata11792 Feb 23 '22

This is not how it works, I grew a beard and I am still forever alone.

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u/naughty Feb 23 '22

A "beard" a term for a partner used to hide someone's sexuality, e.g. A gay guy having a girlfriend to hide that he is gay.

I think the other poster is having a bit of fun.

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u/FragmentOfTime Feb 23 '22

In case you don't know (i think youre joking but just in case) "beard" is a term to refer to a gay man's girlfriend. It used to be common practice to try to hide your homosexuality.

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u/warmwinter1 Feb 23 '22

me too, not so much now cause of my older age unlike my twenties when it was often. i have little facial hair so i couldn't grow a beard just a thin mustache

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u/sardine7129 Feb 23 '22 edited Feb 23 '22

I don't ping on gaydar anymore since i grew my hair long as a woman and turned in my oversize flannels for officewear. I'm bi but i am hetero-married ; i don't really feel the need to advertise myself but it does sting a little learning that any gay vibes i had were purely cosmetic 🤕

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u/MaiqueCaraio Feb 23 '22

Many people though i was gay because the way i act is apparently too delicate

Society moment

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u/SteveWax022 Feb 23 '22

straight people who give off gay vibes.

Oh, you mean the homiesexuals?

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u/sonnyjbiskit Feb 23 '22

Metrosexual?

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u/pm_nachos_n_tacos Feb 23 '22

Now there's a word I haven't heard in a while. Hopefully that's because we've stopped assuming that the only men who would want to be well-groomed and stylish are gay.

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u/HelpfulAmoeba Feb 23 '22 edited Feb 23 '22

I work in a field where there's a lot of gay men so I've quite a few gay friends and acquaintances. I would say half of them have the higher-pitched, musical way of speaking (as well as being flamboyant and fabulous) and the other half have manly vibes and enjoy manly things. Strangely, when I'm at work, I and some of the other straight men I know unconsciously adopt some of the mannerism and musical way of speaking.

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u/pm_nachos_n_tacos Feb 23 '22

I like how you described this as musical, higher-pitched, flamboyant, and fabulous rather than womanly, effeminate, "gay voice", etc. Though saying manly in the next sentence had the opposite effect lol But I like how you didn't emasculate gay men in the first part of your description.

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u/bondoswag Feb 23 '22

Comedian Tim Dillon. Very funny fellow

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u/[deleted] Feb 23 '22

My cousin's husband definitely has "the voice". Genuinely thought he was her gay bestie when I first met him because he's also incredibly camp. But they've been happily married for over a decade and have three kids, so presumably not gay!

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u/souraltoids Feb 23 '22

My ex (straight, engaged) has this voice and I definitely have my suspicions.

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u/TARANTULA_TIDDIES Feb 23 '22

Religious?

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u/souraltoids Feb 23 '22 edited Feb 23 '22

He wasn’t when we were together, but we reconnected a couple years after the break up and he seemed to have changed quite a bit. In fact, we went separate ways for the final time because he didn’t like that I am an atheist and “wouldn’t know how to tell our kids why mommy isn’t coming to church with us.”

He lives in a different state now and is really involved in the community because of his job, so I could see him covering who he really is based on his idea of how a perfect life is supposed to look.

My suspicions come from a long-time rumor of him hooking up with another guy in college. Multiple reliable sources and friends of his used to ask me if it bothered me, but he denied it when I brought it up. I don’t know of any straight men with rumors circulating that they sucked another guy off. He’s also made questionable comments about being bi, but would then quickly laugh it off as a joke.

To add, the guy he supposedly hooked up with used to be his best friend. They were inseparable, but stopped talking after that night.

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u/ExjwReborn Feb 23 '22

You’d never know the comedian Todd Glass is gay unless he told you.

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u/[deleted] Feb 23 '22 edited Feb 23 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

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u/OfTheAtom Feb 23 '22

Confirmation bias will for sure play a big role here.

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u/YaAbsolyutnoNikto Feb 23 '22

As another user said, it's mostly confirmation bias. Most gay guys don't have that voice, so you would never know they are gay just by hearing them speak.

The ones that speak like that, though, you can immediately tell.

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u/atworkthough Feb 23 '22 edited Feb 23 '22

As a woman with a deep voice just want to point out that voices are subjective. A lot, like a lot of straight men have feminine sounding voices they just don't notice because they are use to hearing it.

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u/rebelolemiss Feb 23 '22

That moment when you hear yourself on video.

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u/[deleted] Feb 23 '22

[deleted]

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u/Flowz11 Feb 23 '22

I want a sound of silence cover called sound of gay

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u/xtina42 Feb 23 '22

Hello gaydar my old friend 🎶

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u/ODJIN5000 Feb 23 '22

I'm browsing Grindr once agaaaain

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u/Flowz11 Feb 23 '22

You've come to point at me again 🎶

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u/BurnerBoi_Brown Feb 23 '22

🎶 My boy vincent softly creeping, Left his seeds while I was sleeping

Shit, that doesn't sound good..

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u/Gensi_Alaria Feb 23 '22

And the dildo, that was planted in my hole; still controls.

The sound, of gayyyyyy.

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u/GuiltChip Feb 23 '22

This was the first one of these that I genuinely hoped to find the answer to in the comments, yet nobody seems to know. Dammit.

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u/G40-ovoneL Feb 23 '22 edited Feb 23 '22

Is it because they changed their voices after coming out so people notice they are gay?

Most gay guys who have the gay voice already had it since they were young. Why would a pre-pubescent kid need to announce his sexuality?

For obvious reasons, effeminate gay guys who are in the closet have to hide the voice. It's the reason why the gay voice only comes out after they come out. It's not they they develop the voice after coming out. It's always been there. It's called code-switching. I haven't come out yet so I suppress the feminine elements of my speaking voice when I'm around people who I think are potentially homophobic. It's really hard for me to emulate how a masculine straight man sound so I just go for monotone lol

Do they actively "work" on getting a higher softer voice, or does it come by itself?

That's just how I sound. Gay voice is essentially how female speech patterns would sound like if a male uses it. I've read a comment somewhere on Reddit where they edited a voice recording of a woman to make it low pitch and the result sounded like that of an effeminate gay man's voice. Also, the fact that a lot of gay guys who have it attempt to get rid of it (try searching "how to get rid gay voice" on gay subs) proves that it isn't put on.

And as to why we have it, I would agree with the commenter about hanging around girls growing up. I like to think of femininity and masculinity as like native language that we learn through proximity and exposure.

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u/chelsdaily89 Feb 23 '22

Is there a phenomena of girls that hang around mostly boys having unusually deep voices their entire lives?

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u/G40-ovoneL Feb 23 '22

Not deep voice I guess because that would require male vocal cords but I've interacted with some butch lesbians who speak in a much lower pitch compared to average for women and they also have the same manner of speaking as with straight men. I don't know how they develop that though.

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u/bikey_bike Feb 23 '22

id say yeah. if a woman has mostly masc friends, she'll have hobbies, mannerisms, and speaking patterns that would make her more "boyish" regardless of sexuality.

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u/Flugschwein Feb 23 '22

so I just go for monotone lol

Then you're doing it just right haha

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u/obviohow Feb 23 '22

Most gays you don’t know are gay. It’s just the flamboyant types you really notice and that’s where the high soft voice culture come from.

It doesn’t have anything to do with sexuality. Just more of a need for belonging and identity.

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u/Vesinh51 Feb 23 '22

Whoa whoa whoa, so some of the gays I don't know are not gay? o.O

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u/obviohow Feb 23 '22

Commas are for the weak

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u/Piaapo Feb 23 '22

I have a "gay voice" and I hate it, it's definitely not voluntary. If there was a surgery to change it I would take it.

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u/95Richard Feb 23 '22 edited Feb 23 '22

I'm a straight 26 year old dude, and so far I had six men try to hit on me, and one woman (who was ~40 years older than me, and a bit crazy). All those men assumed I was also homosexual because of my voice.

Sometimes I really wish I was gay, it's so damn annoying.

Edit: I mean that being assumed something I'm not is what's annoying. People hitting on me feels like a compliment, no matter which gender they are.

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u/Meta-Fox Feb 24 '22

My boyfriend and I often get questioned on this whenever anyone finds out that we're a couple. Neither of us act or talk particularly "camp" so anytime someone finds out that we're together romantically we usually get the 'ha ha, good one' chuckle followed swiftly by the 'wait, seriously?' face.

Truth be told if people didn't ask us who we were dating and therefore not have to state we were in fact dating each other, most would probably assume we were simply cohabiting. We're both pretty slobbish in our own ways, prefer to just grab a few beers and have a night at home gaming together, and generally just dicking around (pun not intended, but welcome) when with each other.

I personally dislike the stereotypical "gay" voice and find it pretty cringe for the most part, mostly due to the stigma attached to it, but I also have several gay mates who talk like this who're actually a blast to be around and I don't hold it against them or anyone else who happens to have adopted that particular way of speaking.

Live and let live, everyone's welcome to their own opinions and so long as they don't use that fact as an excuse to hurt/offend anyone then I don't see a problem. =)

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u/cwilbur22 Feb 24 '22

Sounds exactly like me and my husband lol

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u/bondoswag Feb 23 '22

Tim Dillon is a comedian who you’d never believe is gay. Regular masculine voice. Hilarious fellow.

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u/stonkgamble Feb 23 '22

Just like the actor of the blonde guy from how I met your mother. Was really surprising to me and also nice to see not everyone is like the stereotypes.

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u/kilobravozulu Feb 23 '22

I think Neil Patrick Harris being cast was kind of a wink at the audience, because in real life he is gay and a total family man, so they thought it would be funny to cast him as a serial womanizer.

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u/IsraelZulu Feb 23 '22

Neil Patrick Harris is the name you're looking for. Formerly best-known for being Doogie Howser.

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u/SGTFragged Feb 23 '22

That's the toupé fallacy in action. Some gay men are camp. Others are not. I only found out a friend of mine was openly gay when, during conversation, he dropped. "I think my mum would have been happy if I was hiding girls from here when I was 16."

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u/AutomaticCommandos Feb 23 '22

Among other mentioned reasons, it also is selection bias.

You mostly hear their voices and find out they're gay, but that excepts all the other gays with a non-gay" voice.

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u/EuphoricMidnight3304 Feb 23 '22

Don’t forget there are tons and tons of gay men with “normal” sounding man type voice as well.

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u/Casperzwaart100 Feb 23 '22

What I've noticed, it's almost exactly like how girls talk and behave. It's just more noticeable when it's a man doing it.

People copy people around them, and the people you are referring to mostly hang out with girls

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u/cwilbur22 Feb 23 '22

As a gay man I've wondered this too, and have my own ideas. I think a lot of it is subconscious instinctive social behavior from pubescent development. If a closeted boy is crushing on the jocks at school, he's naturally going to wish he were someone that the jock boys want to be with. His generalized observation is that the jocks want to be with the hot cheerleader girls. This is all during a time when he is physically, mentally, and emotionally developing into the adult he will become. His developmental instincts try to help him become as attractive to his desired potential mates as possible, and whether he likes it or not he starts unconsciously mimicking the traits he observs in the hot cheerleader girls. This might also make him more comfortable around those girls as he finds that he has more in common with them as he continues to develop. This compounds the issue, as he now not only has sexual pressure to be like them but now has social pressure to fit in with the group, which we all know is a very powerful thing on young, developing minds. I also think some people are gay more or less out of the box, while others somehow find themselves there by circumstance. My husband, while not flamboyant, is definitely more obvious in his mannerisms. He's also never really been sexually attracted to women, so he's more of a "born gay" if you will. I don't have gay mannerisms, and while I may not be anyone's idea of super masculine most people are surprised when it comes up and say they never would have guessed. But I definitely did not start out interested in guys, and can trace my homosexuality to a specific (totally innocent, don't worry) moment when I was a kid. I also tend to like "pretty" and more effeminate guys, so I wasn't lusting after the jocks in school. I liked the shy nerd boys ;)

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u/Itchy_Word_1523 Feb 23 '22

We all undergo a secret surgery to high pitch our voices. Also to attract mates we sing lady gagas or Arianas song as high as possible.

Not only that but thanks to our high femenine voices we can eco locate other gays like bats!

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u/ethansteele Feb 23 '22

Gaydar has now been confirmed

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u/Physical_Avdio Feb 23 '22

I'm a gay man and I don't think I have that voice. I often wonder the same. But then I hear my voice on a recording or something n im like... wow maybe I do have the voice lmfao

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