A study investigated people's ability to identify homosexual men from pictures of their faces alone. Researchers Nicholas Rule and Nalini Ambady from Tufts University looked through online dating sites and carefully selected 45 straight male faces and 45 gay male faces.
All of these photos were matched for orientation (only faces shown looking forward were used) and facial alterations. To control for context, the faces were also cut and pasted onto a white background for the study. These 90 faces were then shown to 90 participants in random order, who were asked simply to judge the target's "probable sexual orientation" (gay or straight) by pressing a button.
Surprisingly, all participants scored above chance on this gaydar task, correctly identifying the gay faces. Even more surprisingly, accuracy rate was just as good when the images were exposed at a rapid rate of only 50 milliseconds, which offered participants no opportunity to consciously process the photo. To rule out any erroneous data based on a certain physical style homosexuals and heterosexuals wore, they did a second test.
In this second study, the authors used images from the social networking site Facebook rather than online dating Web sites. This way, the targets hadn't so obviously selected photos of themselves meant to attract prospective sexual partners.
They photoshopped off the mens' hair so the face was truly the only thing to see. Again, people were able to detect who was gay and who was not at a rate higher than chance would allow. So, you really can "look gay".