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David Thorpe’s “Do I Sound Gay?” is brimming with cheeky humour, mostly at Thorpe’s own expense, as it explores the theories and facts behind the human voice and what makes it sound the way it does, in particular his own voice as a gay man.
Throughout his life, his stereotypical “un-macho gay voice” has made him self-conscious of the stigma and inflections looming over him. Thorpe sets out to discover why his voice sounds the way it does and to shine a light on his own identity within society.
The film is a witty and engaging look into issues such as internalized homophobia, self-hatred, code switching, misogyny and bullying. Thorpe interviews a range of people from speech pathologists to his friends, family and strangers off the street to get their opinion on where his voice comes from. He also meets with designer Tim Gunn, actor George Takei, comedian Margaret Cho, humourist/author David Sedaris, Dan Savage, and Don Lemon to gauge their thoughts on the topics.
“Do I Sound Gay?” is humorous. Thorpe puts himself through vocal experiments such as elocution exercises and trying out hyper-masculine intonation patterns on sentences like “here is an embroidered pillow.”
The film also provides rare insight into the concept of homosexual self-affirmation along with Thorpe’s efforts to reconnect with his community. Thorpe’s genuine desire to change his voice in order to achieve this is a compelling driver of the film. “Do I Sound Gay?” is an authentic expose into the complexities and biological/cultural drivers behind an individual’s voiceprint and the provocative nature of the film also prompts us, the audience, to evaluate our own views about this taboo subject and to re-evaluate our perspectives on why our own voices may sound the way they do.