"Gay" in 1933

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun Feb 17 12:34:31 UTC 2013

The OED's first unambiguous citations for _gay_ 'homosexual' are dated 1941.  There are other citations going back as far as 1922, printed by the OED in square brackets,  that use the word _gay_ in a homosexual context but could be examples of other meanings of _gay_.  I do not claim that the citation below is an unambiguous example, but it certainly belongs in the square-bracket category.

1933 _Baltimore Afro-American_ 21 Oct. 17 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)  The products engendered by union of these decadents of changing sexes is generally an unenviable type of degeneracy characterized by homicidal or homosexual proclivities.  Sissies, fairies, pansies gay, The woods are full of them today.

Fred Shapiro
YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS (Yale University Press)

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list