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Legendary queer director John Waters says gay people ‘can’t whistle’ and we are just as confused as you are

Patrick Kelleher August 6, 2020
John Waters gay people whistle

John Waters (Robin Marchant/Getty)

Legendary queer film director John Waters has said gay people can’t whistle, and yes, we are just as confused as you are.

The Pink Flamingos director recently discovered an old stereotype that gay people can’t whistle.

While reading The Man in the Red Coat by Julian Barnes, Waters found out that it was once believed a person’s sexuality could be determined by finding out if they could whistle.

“There was a thing in the Oscar Wilde days that people believed that gay people couldn’t whistle,” he said, according to LGBTQ Nation

“And it’s true. Gay people can’t whistle. I’ve asked every gay person I know and they can’t.”

The director – who is openly gay – continued: “When I read it, I thought: ‘I never heard that one before.'”

“You know what I mean? That’s how you can always tell. Ask a man whether he can whistle or not… I’m sure there are violations of that rule, but I just found that the most hilarious detail in the book that I really, really loved hearing.”

John Waters hasn’t directed a film since 2004’s A Dirty Shame.

John Waters made the comments during his virtual tour to promote his new book of essays Mr Know It All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder.

He also opened up about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s a great shock that the world has suddenly come to a standstill, because it’s hard to imagine people going into a crowded theatre to do anything,” he added.

The Cry Baby director said he makes a living through his speaking engagements, however 36 of these had been cancelled since the virus began to spiral out of control in March.

Waters – whose last film was 2004’s A Dirty Shame – also spoke of the changes to people’s sex lives since his heyday.

“When I started, people had sex with different people every single night of the week, and now you need 12 lawyers to ask someone for a date.”

Waters has long since been a polarising figure in the LGBT+ community and has become well known for his controversial and occasionally offensive comments.

In a 2015 interview, he misgendered Caitlyn Jenner and defended his right to “make fun” of her.

More: Cry Baby, John Waters, Pink Flamingos

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