Newly minted director David Thorpe’s documentary Do I Sound Gay? started the new Orange County Film Society season last Tuesday night, fresh from its screening at Outfest the night before and less than a week from its official release.
Lido Live in Newport Beach buzzed with the question of the night: “Do I Sound Gay?” What makes somebody sound gay? Many of us can pick up on certain qualities that feel like they’re unique to a gay male voice. Are they? And where do they come from? A nature versus nurture debate is threaded through Thorpe’s exploration of his past in his quest to find when exactly he started to “sound gay.” He lays his self-consciousness bare as the camera follows him to meetings with voice coaches in an attempt to increase his confidence and discover what his voice really means. The film ultimately unpacks a comedic and sentimental journey of self-discovery that leaves you wanting more.
Thorpe, a first time filmmaker, was in attendance at the screening and took part in a Q&A with Newport Beach Film Festival Director of Features Programming Max Naylor. Thorp explained that the project was born during a post-break-up trip to Fire Island, when he suddenly tuned in to the voices of gay men surrounding him in a crowd and thought, “Do I sound like them?”
During the course of the project, he met many gay men who hated their voices, and the film makes the argument that this hatred is for many the last vestige of internalized homophobia. Thorpe adds here that he wanted to leave everything on the table in the documentary, that this was something he simply had to do
Image: David Thorpe in a live Q&A at the Lido Live after the screening of “Do I Sound Gay?” July 14, 2015