Do I Sound Gay?

DIRECTOR: David Thorpe

Expected to attend: Director David Thorpe, Composer John Turner

Is it the sibilant “s,” or is it the drawn-out vowels? Is it the two-dollar vocabulary, or is it a certain theatrical quality acquired after too many viewings of All About Eve or Mean Girls? Whatever it is, we know it when we hear it: “gay voice”—a tone and way of speaking that, if you believe the stereotype, announce homosexuality. Documentarian David Thorpe has gay voice. And after a breakup and an early-forties crisis of confidence, he decides that his voice is preventing him from finding happiness. Where did it come from? And how can he get rid of it? With these questions, he visits numerous speech therapists and delves into his own past.

This lighthearted (and often hilarious), taboo-busting film features great commentary from celebrities like George Takei, Dan Savage, Tim Gunn, and David Sedaris, as well as illustrative footage of Paul Lynde, Liberace, Truman Capote, and others. Linguists and cultural historians provide insight into gay speech patterns, code-switching, and what it means to “sound gay.” These experts help us (and ultimately the filmmaker himself) understand why Thorpe—who, by the way, is not some closet case but a handsome, likable, very out gay man living by all means a marvelous gay life in New York City—could possibly be so ashamed of such a rich vocal heritage.

— Charles Purdy

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: D306

Co-presented by:
San Francisco Movie Bears

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