Query: Gay Self-Appellations in 20s, 30s? (Modified by Grant Barrett)

Joanne M. Despres jdespres at MERRIAM-WEBSTER.COM
Tue Feb 24 16:38:46 UTC 2004

I checked Vito Russo's book The Celluloid Closet and
found some confirmation that "gay" was used of homosexuals well
before the 20s and 30s.  Here, for example, is a statement I found
on page 6:

The idea of homosexuality first emerged onscreen . . . as an
unseen danger, a reflection of our fears about the perils of
tampering with male and females roles.  Characters who were less
than men or more than women had their first expression in the
zany farce of mistaken identity and transvestite humor inherited
from our oldest theatrical traditions . . . An experimental film
directed by William Dickson at the Thomas Edison Studio in 1895
shows two men dancing a waltz.  It was titled _The Gay Brothers_.

Joanne M. Despres, Senior Editor
Merriam-Webster, Inc.
jdespres at merriam-webster.com

More information about the Ads-l mailing list