a gay

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 28 18:28:49 UTC 2010

This has been mentioned here before, if I am not mistaken. In fact, I've
mentioned it before--in the context of non-native speakers saying "I am
[not] a gay," or something to this effect.

OED gay C. n. 5. a. has "chiefly in pl." but every single example is
"gays" (or "gays and lesbians") and 5. b. has "the gay" as a social
class. Here's one now in print (so no more anecdotal stories about

> "If an open gay does his job, I think he'll be accepted," said retired
> Rear Adm. George R. Worthington, a former Navy SEAL.

Just wanted to add that Worthington's language is not accidental and
falls into a pattern of people apprehensive about "the gay" using the
singular version of 5.a.:

> "I don't think there is going to be that many of them that want to
> sign up for SEALs anyway because of the closeness and the tightness of
> the training," Adm. Worthington said.
> "My opinion is that they're probably more clerical oriented. Medical
> profession. Corpsmen. Stuff like that."


> "Put the word out," said Adm. Worthington. "If you hit on somebody,
> you're going to get in a fistfight. You may not like it. I just think
> if they maintain their composure, they don't bother anybody.

So this seems to fall into the social pattern--I am assuming this has
been previously identified, although I don't recall any specific
discussion to this effect.


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