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CNN Today

Miniature Matchmaker

Aired March 2, 2000 - 1:54 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, they say, you know, that you can't judge a book by its cover.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: And that adage can apply to people too, Lou. But there's a new gadget that's supposed to help clear up the confusion.

CNN's Jeanne Moos reports on a pocket pager that sends a same-sex signal.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Radar, air traffic controllers use it, weather forecasters use it and soon, gays can use it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is this?

MOOS (on camera): Electronic Gaydar.

If a gay person comes within 50-feet of you, both your Gaydars go off.

(voice-over): These days, it's tricky to tell who's straight and who's gay. A gay detector could help avoid those embarrassing mix- ups.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because you get these straight guys, like when you look at the straight guys, they get scared, they run away. So I think it's a great idea.

MOOS: It is this little $20 gizmo. The idea is for thousands of gay people to buy them. When the gadgets pass near one another, they beep or vibrate.

MICHAEL BORER, GAYGETY: Hold it in your hand and look around to see if someone else is holding it in their hand looking around.

MOOS: Michael Borer is a married heterosexual who dreamed up a similar device for straight teenagers in Japan, called Lovegety, or as the Japanese say it...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lovegety. MOOS: It was intended to be a conversation-starter when kids wearing them crossed paths. Now Michael is going after the gay market in places like San Francisco and New York.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to go off quite a bit in this city.

MOOS: It went off when I held one and Michael approached wearing his.

Though the prototypes didn't work every time. The device would help gay people meet in predominantly straight places, say, in an elevator, or stopped at a traffic light. Gaydar can leave a straight woman feeling left out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need a man-dar, a single man-dar.

MOOS: Back in the old days, gay guys used to position a bandana in the rear pocket to hint at their sexuality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the colors indicate what's your preference. This is stupid. It is just another marketing tool. Can I have one?

MOOS: You can order one on the Internet, but they won't be shipped for another three months.

This lady liked the idea but thinks others might not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Especially if they're anti-gay or something like that.

MOOS (on camera): But you're not anti-gay, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not yet.

MOOS (voice-over): Which brings up a problem.

(on camera): If a gay-basher got hold of this, he could use it to figure out who is gay and who is not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is gay and who is not and just bash them.

MOOS (voice-over): Michael Borer calls that possibility remote. The device also lets you transmit what you're looking for, from a movie to a drink to love.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to hold one. I have to hold one. And if you are gay, it signals off, you are like: Oh, my God, you are gay. What is your number?.

MOOS: Unlike radar, Gaydar gets you a phone number instead of a ticket.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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