I have recently come upon this relatively new TikTok challenge, “Tell me you’re gay without telling me!” There was this guy who did it by showing his small dog breed. It was a pug or something. And I thought that this challenge relies extremely on shared-knowledge stereotypes about gay men, i.e. you can recognize one by his gestures, his cocktail preferences, his accessories, and, well, his pet, obviously. But of course, this doesn’t always work that way. At least not anymore.

“Effeminate” behavior and dazzling styling might have been the prevailing image of gay men, but things have dramatically changed over the last few years. Gay men started to gravitate around other styles, mainly to avoid adverse social reactions. Even the flamboyant and emotional gays, the ones obsessed with fashion, art, and Cher, have moved on to wearing more “masculine” clothes. It’s happening as we speak: the era of gay vagueness is already upon us.

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