Raise your voice

Redditors sound off on ‘gay voice’ and whether they code-switch

A Redditor set off a fascinating conversation about code-switching and “gay” voicing recently, asking his fellow r/askgaybros users whether they “consciously or subconsciously change the way [their voices] sounds around other people.”

“Today, I met up with some classmates, both female, to work on a project for school,” he recounted. “As I was there, I noticed I had a higher pitch to my voice than normal, almost stereotypical. However, I wasn’t consciously trying to do it, it just came out that way. Does this happen with any of y’all, as well?”

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“It’s called code switching,” one commenter responded. “We all do it.”

Sure enough, many more users responded with their own experiences toggling different personas on and off. “I am way gayer around people that know I am bi,” one wrote.

“Everyone around me has said I sound ‘normal’ and never would have guessed I was gay,” wrote another. “Ever since I’ve been a little more open about my sexuality, maybe it’s subconscious, my friend said I have a little bit of a gay accent. I also notice that the gay accent is increased by about 300% around other gay guys. Lol, that’s what I get for wanting attention in a straight state.”

Some guys try to go more “masculine” in certain contexts. “My boyfriend has a Jeep and doesn’t realize how much his voice changes when he’s chatting with mechanics,” one Redditor related. “I think it’s hilarious and call him out. He doesn’t even have a fem voice which is why it’s so funny.”

Others intentionally reach for higher octaves. “I raise my voice because I’ve heard it is more likely to keep people from running off,” said one commenter. “I can be a bit intimidating.”

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Another Redditor revealed it depends on what language he’s speaking: “When I speak English, I sound stereotypically gay. When I speak Chinese, I sound ‘straight passing.’”

And multiple guys said they modulate their voice for their jobs. “A good chunk of my day is spent on the phones with customers,” said one. “If I need to help someone out/calm them down, I exaggerate my Midwest accent. (Gosh darn it, I’m trying my hardest here).”

“But if someone is just being a jerk,” he added, “I turn on pure queen voice.”