Every person on Earth, no matter what race, religion, colour, or sexual orientation, suffers from the injustice of stereotypes. As a gay man and a car enthusiast, I noticed that the stereotypes about homosexuals don’t stop with how we dress and sound, but also what we drive. I decided to take action and find out if there is any truth in the gay car stereotype.
To uncover the truth of any stereotype, we first have to define that stereotype. The commonly held belief is that gay men drive “effeminate” cars, such as small sporty convertibles, and lesbians drive butch cars such as trucks and sport utility vehicles. Do these hold any truth, or, as many other gay stereotypes, are these beliefs just ideas fueled pop culture and generalizations?
It quickly became apparent that reaching any definitive conclusion was going to be difficult. A research firm like Harris could conduct a nationwide poll, but that wasn’t an option for me. Instead, I decided to take the subjective approach and poll members of my local LGBT community about the qualities they look for in a vehicle and whether certain brands influence their buying decision. The answers I received were very informative and showed an interesting trend.
Among my LGBT friends, it appears that brands do play a large part in car-buying decisions. However, those decisions aren’t based on which brand makes the cutest or biggest car or truck; instead, they’re based on which brands have a reputation for building reliable, safe, practical vehicles.
This may explain why most of those I surveyed shopped for cars and trucks from Asian brands like Honda, Mazda, and Toyota. Though reputations come and go, those three automakers have traditionally had a reputation for reliability and practicality. (Detroit brands weren’t completely left out, though: Ford was a very popular brand among my friends.)
But what about the qualities that LGBT shoppers look for in their vehicles? Surely there has to be some truth to the stereotypes we know so well, right?
As far as I can tell, the answer to that question is a resounding “no”. What I found in my brief survey is that when shopping for a new car, many gay people look for the same qualities as their straight friends: reliability, safety, value, and practicality.
To my mind, the myth of gay car stereotypes is thoroughly busted. It’s possible that certain types of people are drawn toward certain types of vehicles — club kids to sports cars, contractors to pickups — but on the whole, my survey showed that gay people are very rational and level- headed about their vehicle purchases. They don’t make decisions based on how cute, little, big, or butch a car is.
Maybe it isn’t what we drive, but how we shop for our cars and trucks that says the most about us.