Matt D
Topic Author
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When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 8:50 am

Sorry....I have always wondered.

When did the word "gay" come to be synonymous with homosexual? All along, as long as I can see back, 'gay' meant 'happy'. Then somewhere along the way, the meaning mutated into...well gay as in homosexual.

When and why? I figure this board should be a fertile (oops...sorry) source of that info.
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AeroWesty
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 8:55 am

http://www.hurricane.net/~wizard/19g.html

gay:
1. adj. (16th century England theatrical) young men or boy wearing the costume of a women in a play. [send in the Gay.] gay boy 1950s geycat 30s and 40s hobo slang a trap younger homosexual lover
2. 1637, it took on the meaning of a person leading a loose and immoral life.
3. prostitute 1825, it was sometimes used to refer to female hookers. A "gay house" was a brothel
4. late 19th century, to be convalescent, or in good health.
5. nuon. (16th century) homosexual man. 1933 “Gay" was first used to in USA Literature and movie's, refer to a male homosexual in the 1933 play "Young and Evil." Cary Grant used it in the 1938 movie "Bringing up Baby" to refer to a transvestite. Cary Grant exclaims, "I've Just gone gay--all of a sudden" to explain why he is wearing a fur-trimmed nightgown. [Completely Queer The Gay and Lesbian Encyclopedia By Steve Hogan Lee Hudson Copyright © 1998] Gershn Legman and G.V. Henry mentioned the term gay in their book Sexual Variations (1941).
6. New Yorkers were using "gay" by World War II as a alternative to "Queer," "pansy," and "fairy." The term gay did not become widely familar to the general public, until the Stonewall riot of June 28, 1969 by 1974 the word "gay" meant both "gay and lesbian" (e.g. the lesbians who were active in the Gay Liberation Front preferred calling themselves Gay rather than Lesbian). But the general public used gay, in ways that ignored or excluded women, so gay women favored the word "lesbian. A 1995 survey in the Advocate, 34 percent preferred to called "gay women."
7. adj. happy excitement, merry. 1800 It was used as a synonym for happy by Chaucer in the 14th century.
8. adj. lively or bright.
9. verb. [USA 1990s] to be inadequate or displeasing; TO SUCK. something bad or unacceptable. ["that's so gay" or "that's gay."] ("That movie was fucking gay.") note: In the late 1990s the teen culture started using the word gay to represent something not acceptable to their standards. From the late '60s gay was associated with homosexuality, to most of society homosexuality was unacceptable and considered bad, so the word gay has transformed itself into something bad or unacceptable.
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searpqx
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 8:55 am

Wikipedia has a good article on the etymology of the word, too long to post here tho. Basically they say it started in the 1920, with the first pop culture reference being in 1938. By the '60s it had pretty much taken on its current meaning.
"The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity"
 
AeroWesty
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 8:59 am

Quoting Searpqx (Reply 2):
Wikipedia has a good article

"One of Oscar Wilde's favorite venues in Dublin was the Gaiety Theatre, first appearing there in 1884."

I'd forgotten about that!

Cheers.  Smile
International Homo of Mystery
 
stuckinMAF
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:07 am

This is (almost) a duplicate thread, see Brokeback Mountain - Anyone Going To See It? (by Max999 Dec 9 2005 in Non Aviation)
 duck 
"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity" -Sigmund Freud
 
AeroWesty
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:09 am

Quoting StuckinMAF (Reply 4):

Well it didn't take long for someone to ruin a gay ol' time, now did it?
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Superfly
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:13 am

My guess would be the 1970s?

This album which was geared for children and pet lovers came out in the early 1960s just like the Flinstones. Remember the last line in the theme song; "We'll have a gay old time!!!"
I remember in elementary school (late 70s/early 80s) having to sing songs and read books that used the word 'gay' and feeling a little uncomfortable using the word.




This title would not go over well today.
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stuckinMAF
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:16 am

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 5):
Well it didn't take long for someone to ruin a gay ol' time, now did it?

Aw, lighten up. All in fun!
"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity" -Sigmund Freud
 
AeroWesty
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:21 am

Quoting StuckinMAF (Reply 7):
All in fun!

Not to worry! I already did a suggest delete on your multiple vomit smilies in the other thread. Cheerio!
International Homo of Mystery
 
searpqx
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:28 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 6):
This title would not go over well today.

Actually it would - no one dotes on their pets like gay men!
"The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity"
 
stuckinMAF
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:31 am

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 8):
Not to worry! I already did a suggest delete on your multiple vomit smilies in the other thread. Cheerio!

Dude! That's cold-blooded!  Wow!
"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity" -Sigmund Freud
 
usnseallt82
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:32 am

This thread is wonderfully gay. I'm glad someone started it beside's AeroWesty.  dopey 
Crye me a river
 
AeroWesty
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:34 am

Quoting Usnseallt82 (Reply 11):
I'm glad someone started it beside's AeroWesty.

Good goes around! (Where've I heard that recently?)
International Homo of Mystery
 
usnseallt82
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:39 am

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 12):
Good goes around!

Well, that's gay that you feel that way then.  dopey 
Crye me a river
 
AeroWesty
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:42 am

Quoting Usnseallt82 (Reply 13):
Well, that's gay that you feel that way then.

It's called "good breeding".  Wink
International Homo of Mystery
 
usnseallt82
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:44 am

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 14):
It's called "good breeding".

Ahh, your 'don't-use-the-word-gay-unless-I-approve' antennae are working well tonight. Good job, Daniel son.  Big grin
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Logan22L
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:47 am

I have to admit that I first heard the term in 3rd or 4th grade (1972 or 1973), and it was used more as an "innocent" insult than anything else (please don't take that the wrong way - it was common parlance in elementary school back then, and who knew better at that age?). I mean, when you're 9 or 10 years old, most kids don't really have a true grip on their sexuality. I may have morphed into someone who has seen and done a great number of things in the steamy underbelly of society, but back then I was very innocent.

I only knew "gay" as a casual insult to someone who either answered the teacher's question correctly (or even wanted to answer the teacher's question) or to someone who said something that was not generally accepted by the rest of the class or group of kids you were with.

Honestly, I didn't truly understand the actual meaning until later in High School, and really until Freshman year of college when I had a gay roomate who wanted to fool around with me. Damn! I had to draw the line. He was a good guy, but persistent as hell, and I don't think he's ever forgiven me for telling him no. I didn't make an issue out of it to the school or anything, because he was a good guy and because he didn't deserve to have any controversy any more than was already bothering him. That said, he pissed me off at times.

Still, I fully support gay rights - just don't "stick it in my face."

Pun very much intended.
"The deeper you go, the higher you fly. The higher you fly, the deeper you go."
 
usnseallt82
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:49 am

Quoting Logan22L (Reply 16):
Still, I fully support gay rights - just don't "stick it in my face."

 eyepopping 
Crye me a river
 
stlgph
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:49 am

Two words: Judy Garland


She was just so *GAY* when she performed. ;p





Or of course...there's that song "Glitter and Be Gay"

Then La Cage Aux Folles came along....
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AeroWesty
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:52 am

Quoting Logan22L (Reply 16):
He was a good guy, but persistent as hell, and I don't think he's ever forgiven me for telling him no.

That's when you say, "let me jot down your phone number though, I have this friend ... "
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san747
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 11:21 am

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 1):
9. verb. [USA 1990s] to be inadequate or displeasing; TO SUCK. something bad or unacceptable. ["that's so gay" or "that's gay."] ("That movie was fucking gay.") note: In the late 1990s the teen culture started using the word gay to represent something not acceptable to their standards. From the late '60s gay was associated with homosexuality, to most of society homosexuality was unacceptable and considered bad, so the word gay has transformed itself into something bad or unacceptable.

I, as an American teenager, immediately noticed this definition. It is unfortunately oh so true... I'm a total supporter of gay rights, and I admonish my peers for making hateful statements or saying words like "Faggot", yet I say the word "gay" in the above sense all the time... It's just wired into my brain, it's hard to explain. It's just the automatic word for something bad in my age group...
Scotty doesn't know...
 
usnseallt82
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 12:23 pm

I sincerely believe that this is when the term 'gay' became.........well..........gay:

http://www.filecabi.net/video/gayskateboard.html
Crye me a river
 
searpqx
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 12:45 pm

Oh lord - that may not be the cause - but itsa hell of a definition!
"The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity"
 
AeroWesty
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Thu Dec 15, 2005 12:56 pm

Quoting San747 (Reply 20):
It's just wired into my brain, it's hard to explain

I'm sure just as difficult for me to try and explain the presence of the same self-identified straight folks making multiple posts in threads that are topical to the gay community over and over and over again. Maybe because gay is such a happy word!
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PHLBOS
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Fri Dec 16, 2005 12:07 am

Quoting Logan22L (Reply 16):
I have to admit that I first heard the term in 3rd or 4th grade (1972 or 1973), and it was used more as an "innocent" insult than anything else (please don't take that the wrong way - it was common parlance in elementary school back then, and who knew better at that age?).

I was either 7 or 8 (1972-1973) when I first heard the word gay being other than its happy or merry definition. As Logan22L mentioned, it was used as either an insult or derogatory term. I was about 9 or 10 (1974-1975); when I heard about its present or now, more common, definition.

Nowadays, the only time one hears the term gay being used as either happy or merry is from the third line in the first verse of the Christmas carol Deck The Halls:

Don we now our gay apparel, Fa La La, La La La, La La La.
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
 
greasespot
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RE: When Did Gay Come To Mean...gay?

Fri Dec 16, 2005 5:13 am

Wow even the straight guys are now starting Gay threads...



Or ar ethey straight?


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