Lesbian chic

Two days ago it was announced that NY City Council speaker Christine Quinn married her longtime partner, Kim Catullo.

As I've stated elsewhere in the blog, I'm for gay marriage. And I certainly don't impute morality to anyone's sexuality.

But legal equality does not imply identical genetics, and human biodiversity is always fascinating -- particularly because it is such a taboo subject.

The picture above, which ran in the NY Post, sparked the thought: what is it exactly that makes it so obvious that these women are lesbians? Ignore for the moment the things they chose: their embrace, the mannish jackets, those Prince Valiant haircuts favored by the lesbian community, and the lack of makeup. They still have physical characteristics which would set my gaydar clanging at full volume.

I've seen this look among lesbians plenty of times before, and there are certain common elements. (I think of it as the Janet Napolitano - Donna Shalala - Billie Jean King -  Rosie O'Donnell look.)

(Janet Napolitano)

(Donna Shalala)

(Billie Jean King)

(Rosie O'Donnell)

There's a certain chubby tomboyishness they all seem to share. They tend to have squat, powerful-looking bodies (by female standards). You rarely see a thin lesbian.

Most have full cheeks, not in a soft way, but partly because they tend to have stronger-looking jaws. A fair number of them have relatively thin lips, and larger chins. It all adds up to a generally more aggressive cast to their features.

Many lesbians speak in a hollow-sounding, low alto.

These things aren't true of all lesbians, of course: the phrase "lipstick lesbian" exists for a reason. But there is a certain look typified by the women pictured above which is unmistakable. And these somewhat masculine physical manifestations seem to be true for at least half of them, proving that hormones are destiny.

I emphasize that I am drawing absolutely no moral conclusions from these observations, nor am I being disapproving in any way. (I'll admit it's not a look which attracts me; but I would certainly not attract them either, a fact I do not begrudge them.) I'm merely trying to analyze exactly what it is that sets off my gaydar.