🏳️‍🌈 Gayskool: Sounds Fabulous!

One of the stereotypes about gay men has to do with their speaking voices. (Think David Sedaris, Paul Lynde, Quentin Crisp, Liberace, and a whole bunch of Disney animated villains.) It’s often called the “gay lisp,” but I think it’s not really a lisp. To me, it sounds like a lilt, combined with a bit of a twang, some crisp consonants, and a bit of a musical cadence. It’s kind of hard to describe — but you definitely know it when you hear it.

Where does this voice come from? To be honest, I’ve never heard a good explanation. But filmmaker David Thorpe put out an excellent documentary a few years ago called “Do I Sound Gay?” I highly recommend it. Thorpe is embarrassed by his speaking voice, and looks into reasons why it’s there and possible ways to eliminate it. By the end of the film, Thorpe is more accepting of his voice.

The sad fact is that many gay men, like Thorpe, are ashamed of their voices, and will go to great lengths to suppress it. In Hollywood, there are vocal coaches that specialize in helping people sound less gay.

I, for one, hope the gay speaking voice never disappears. Ever hear a straight person say “yass qween”? Ugh. Just no.