A New Documentary Asks What It Means to ‘Sound Gay’

When journalist David Thorpe set out to understand what it meant to “sound gay,” he was approaching the topic from a purely personal place — one of actual anxiety over his own “gay voice” — but the more he investigated the cultural phenomenon, the larger the questions became.

What exactly does it mean to “sound gay”? Is it a liberal use of the adjective fabulous? Or does “sounding gay” refer to men embracing vocal tics typically associated with women? Is “sounding gay” a stereotype that lends itself to offensive SNL parodies, or is it the speech pattern of a shared culture? Do gay men want to sound gay? What does it mean to sound straight? And, more than that, how do society and the gay community think of men who sound gay and men who don’t?

So, rather than just sharing his personal journey from gay-voice loathing to self-acceptance, Thorpe enlisted celebrities like Tim Gunn and Dan Savage to weigh in on their own experiences, and polled psychologists and speech therapists. The result is an enlightening and very funny documentary: Do I Sound Gay?

Watch an exclusive clip here, and check out the entire film in select theaters and on VOD.

What Does It Mean to ‘Sound Gay’?