A gay blogger Noodles and Beef created a pretty basic, twelve question survey and used the results to create a massively comprehensive statistical analysis of gay men, their sexual activity, sexual preferences, physical cliques, geographic distribution, age distribution, and more. Overall, it is an incredible project that has provided a lot of data and some impressive results, infographics, maps, charts, and statistics.

It is all based on a simple survey, which is still ongoing. The questionnaire asks the following questions: geographic location, age, height, waist, weight, level of hairiness, ethnicity, sexual activity, sexual position preference, what clique you identify with, and which cliques you are attracted to. From this, it pulls together data to organize results into infographics.

The various pages of the online census are fascinating to look at, and some even have an interactive portion. For example, the Clique Definition Infographic page asks you age, height, weight, hairiness, and waist. After filling that in it has a button that says “DEFINE ME.” Then it tells you what clique(s) you belong to, and what your standard deviation (fancy statistics term for how far or close you are to a number) from the average stats for that clique. You can also use this page to look up the “average” stats for each clique and see how alike or different you are from each.

Upon learning about this census I immediately filled out the survey and then went to the Clique Definition page. Unsurprisingly it said I was a Twink (I fit the average almost perfectly and my highest deviation was 9%). I then filled in stats for some of my gay friends and found it to be overall rather accurate. Next, I explored all the different graphs and data tables, seeing where Twinks are most attractive geographically, what areas have the most Twinks, who Twinks are most attracted to, etc. I was intrigued by all the statistics and facts available.

But then I saw something at the bottom of the page: a clique that said “none” and a clique that said “average.” This made me think more critically. Then I had my boyfriend put in his stats. He came up as “Gym Bunny” which isn’t that accurate, as in response he mentioned how he doesn’t really identify with a clique, “and neither do most people.”

Ever since I realized I was gay and learned what a Twink was, I identified with that clique. I feel like it describes me. I like that label. I fit that group. It never really occurred to me that my experience is unique and that MOST people don’t fit into these rigidly defined cliques. For this reason, several groups of queer activists (as well as many other non-affiliated gay men) got upset by this survey, calling it exclusive (as well as ageist, racist, and body-shaming). Because of this, the census has become rather controversial with the gay community.

With a new critical eye acquired I took another look at the survey results. This time, after filling it my stats I hovered over the search button. It says “DEFINE ME.” I immediately let out a sigh and shook my head. How could my age, height, weight, waist, and hairiness “define” me? Yes, I have the features of a twink: I’m young, lightweight, small waist, and smooth. But that is not all that defines me.

Yes, gay men (for some odd reason) have rigidly defined cliques. But not everyone fits a clique, and the guys who do are more than just that clique label. Yes, cliques can help with unity and bonding and lead to fun club-night themes or street fairs. But as a whole, these cliques and labels can be toxic. Cliques are not open-minded; they do not accept all body types or races; they prioritize looks over everything else.

Although this census is fascinating and does provide a lot of data that can be fun, as a whole it is not pragmatically “useful” in any way. In fact, this survey only perpetuates the use of clique labels. It adds a pressure to conform, to become more like the “average” stats of a given clique. There is no need to be a clique. Be yourself. Don’t let a few numbers like 5’8”, 150lbs, 30 years, or 34” DEFINE you—because they can’t. You are more than just a statistic.
Gay Clique Census Links