David Thorpe sets out to tackle a topic that is so relevant to the gay community but has seldom ever been openly talked about: the “gay” voice. We all know it, we’ve all mimicked it with a laugh, but Thorpe—with a gay voice of his own that he suddenly can’t stand—stops to wonder just why he can’t stand it and why there is such a stigma behind it from both the homo- and heterosexual communities.
Do I Sound Gay? starts out being almost a childish experiment conducted by a grown man who suddenly decides that the way he talks is the reason he’s so unlucky in love and ends up becoming a fairly thorough learning experience for everyone involved. From speech therapists to linguists to average men from the gay community to gay celebrities, Thorpe seeks the advice and experiences of all these people in an attempt to change the way he talks while simultaneously trying to comprehend why he wants to change it to begin with.
Thorpe explores everything from the possible reasons for the conception of the gay voice, to the negative attention—even violence—it often attracts, to the definition of the voice, including a breakdown of just how it differs from heteronormative speech. Openly gay celebrities like David Sedaris, Margaret Cho, Dan Savage and George Takei all weigh in on the discussion, giving more or less the same opinion, which is that it doesn’t really matter if you have a gay voice or not.
Nevertheless, the anecdotes from the hilarious Dan Sedaris about his own uniquely feminine voice and the wildly intellectual Dan Savage talking about the topic in an educated and involved manner more than make up for the lacklustre conclusion. Coupled with more anecdotes from Thorpe’s own youth and the childhoods of a variety of homosexual men, Do I Sound Gay? ends up being a fairly interesting, funny and educational film about a little-talked-about trope of homosexuality.