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

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Wed Feb 25 18:40:44 UTC 2004

Fred Shapiro posted here on July 5, '03, "queer" as a noun, used in a homosexual group in Long Beach, Calif., in 1914.  Fred's source was an article in Journal of the History of Sexuality from 1995, and the ultimate source was "unpublished manuscripts relating to Long Beach, California".

On Sept. 9, '03, I posted passages from the LATimes of 1914 using "queer" as an adjective, used by a homosexual man -- though my eye had been caught by other words in the passage and it took Fred to point out the antedating of "queer".  The LATimes story was reporting on a scandal in Long Beach, evidently the same one as was described in the Journal.

So this gives us "queer", noun & adj, used as a gay self-appellation as early as the mid 1910s, in southern California, at least.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.

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