Straight-acting is a term used to describe a person who does not exhibit the appearance or mannerisms of the gay stereotype. Although the label is used by and reserved almost exclusively for gay and bisexual men, it may also be used to describe a lesbian with stereotypical feminine appearance and mannerisms. Because the term invokes negative stereotypes of gay people, its application is often controversial and may cause offense.


Sex advice columnist Dan Savage commented on the popularity of the term "straight-acting" in gay personal ads, criticizing both the practice and the idea that a man seeking a gay relationship through a gay personal ad is acting straight. Use of the term itself has been labeled as damaging to the LGBT community, as it associates certain attributes with homosexuality.

Men who use the expression "straight-acting" express resentment that the term implies they are acting and not being their true selves.

In popular culture

Filmmaker Spencer Windes explored the term and the definition of masculinity in his film Straight Acting. The film is a documentary about Windes' transformation from a closeted Mormon missionary into an openly gay man, through his involvement in the subculture of gays who play contact sports.

In a 2006 interview with People magazine, former 'N Sync member Lance Bass referred to himself and his friends as "straight-acting," stating, "I call them the SAGs the straight-acting gays. We're just normal, typical guys. I love to watch football and drink beer." After receiving heavy criticism from some in the LGBT community, Bass later stated that he was unaware of the negative implications surrounding the term.

See also


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