[Ads-l] Pan = pansexual

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 30 02:33:04 UTC 2015


On Fri, May 29, 2015 at 8:23 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>
> On Fri, May 29, 2015 at 5:46 PM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
>
>> the now-offensive "homo".
>
> When was it inoffensive? Was its use different from that of "lezzie"?

I haven't looked too deeply into this, but my impression is that
"homo" could once be used as a not-necessarily-pejorative alternative
to "hetero". One early (reported) example occurs in _My Father and
Myself_, the memoir of J.R. Ackerley (1896-1967), in which he recalls
a conversation with a Swiss friend named Arnold Lunn in 1918:

"Almost the first mischievous question he shot at me was 'Are you homo
or hetero?' I had never heard either term before; they were explained
and there seemed only one answer."
https://books.google.com/books?id=hxerchUMqXAC&pg=PA153

Then again, Ackerley describes Lunn as "a mocking and amusing fellow"
(who was hetero), so perhaps it was derogatory even then.

--bgz

-- 
Ben Zimmer
http://benzimmer.com/

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