When I was doing my Master’s, I had a very close friendship with another female student. We are both loud, flamboyant, ultra-feminist women and we are both on the heavy side. So one professor decided we were a lesbian couple.
Once she overheard me and my friend talking about going out to meet guys and she was very disappointed.
“But I thought you were a gay couple!” she exclaimed. “I’ve been telling everyone at the department how cute it was that you are just like me and my partner when we were young! Please tell me you are gay.”
This was extremely uncomfortable and not because my friend and I have a problem with being considered gay. If it were another student who said it, we’d just laugh and move on. But the idea of a professor discussing her fantasies about our sex lives with colleagues was disturbing. And hey, we were adult women, we got over it. For a teenager who might just be figuring out their identity, finding out that your sexuality is a subject of gossip and conjecture among professors might be quite traumatic.
Gaydar is total junk. It doesn’t exist. You can’t possibly know. Often, people keep figuring this stuff out about themselves during their whole lives. Thinking that you are qualified to guess is presumptuous and can be very hurtful. My principle both in my private life and work is that if a person feels like sharing something with me, they will. Until they do so, I’m not wondering, guessing or assuming because it’s a ridiculous thing to do.