Gay & Queer

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Tue Aug 24 19:45:53 UTC 1999

This use of QUEER is exactly what one would expect for 1938, when QUEER was
the usual colloquial term for 'homosexual' and GAY was generally unknown in
that sense. I missed Barry's earlier posting concerning "the gay life," but I
have found that most such uses of GAY before the earlier 1940s mean
'homosexual' only to latter-day viewers but did not mean 'homosexual' to the
person using the term at the time (though in the late 1930s GAY probably did
have a queer-subculture meaning as 'homosexual' for a coterie in New York and
perhaps other big cities in the US).

In a message dated 8/23/99 9:53:12 PM, Bapopik at AOL.COM writes:

<< GAY & QUEER (continued)

     "Gay" perhaps began at Life cafeteria in Greenwich Village.  (I had
previously posted that the full term "the gay life" was often used in
publications such as ONE.)
     I found this today in AROUND NEW YORK IN RHYME (1938) by Gerry Wayne,
pg. 15:

_Where there's Greenwich Village there's life_
_Where there's life there's queers_

There's a cafeteria in the Village
Known by name as Life
Visited by all sorts of people
>From every walk of life.

Its name before was Stewart's
By which it was reclaimed
And if you listen carefully
You'll hear why t'was renamed.

In this cafeteria poured
People known as queer
By this I do not mean peculiar
But interchanged I fear.

In other words the women
And the men were quite ironic
They had no use for the opposite sex
Except a love platonic.

The women loved each other
The men they did the same
And this shocking situation
Like wildfire spread in fame.

More information about the Ads-l mailing list