Welcome to 2013 and three different meanings of the word ‘gay.’
“I hate your shirt, it’s so gay!” “Gays and Lesbians marched for equality of marriage.” “They had a gay old time!”
I did some researching and it appears that the earliest mention of the word ‘gay’ was in the 12th century when it was written in French as ‘gai.’ The word ‘gai’ then meant cheerful, care-free, tipsy, and,- bright and showy.
By the end of the 17th century the word ‘gay’ was often associated with ‘care-free’ and this word had negative connotations. To be care-free was to uninhibited. and to be uninhibited, meant that a person was likely to have loose or few morals.
Two hundred years later, the word gay referred to a woman who was a prostitute and in this 19th century world, a gay man was someone who slept with numerous women.
When the 20th century came around, the word ‘gay’ started to have a new meaning. In the ‘Roaring 20s” and 1930s, a ‘gay man’ was not only someone who slept with a lot of women, it also referred to men who had sex with other men.
After World War II ended in 1945, troops came home with knowledge of homosexuality in various countries. By the 1950s, homosexuals preferred to referred to as “gay” as homosexuality was considered as a disorder. (Not removed by the medical profession until the 1970s.
It is thought that some time in the 1980s, the word ‘gay’ started to take on a derogatory meaning. Over time, this hopefully will disappear as gays and lesbians become visible in sports, movies and in the entertainment world.
Equality in marriage and awareness that homophobia will not be accepted will once again see the word ‘gay’ to have positive connotations. paula.
During the 1800s, probably before 1870, the word lesbian began being used to describe women who had desires for other women. There was also the use of the term Sapphic, referring directly to Sappho, but it was eventually pushed aside in favor of lesbian