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The OED may say the word started being used in the 1960s, but it was widely used in the '40s and '50s as a code word in the community. Gay men ("gay" is really only appropriate for men, if you ask most lesbians) had a vast quantity of terms to signal to other gay men in order to identify each other without risking physical assault. There is an iconic event ...


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As a straight man old enough to remember a time before "gay" meant "homosexual" to members of the majority community I have often thought that it originated in the phrase "Bachelor Gay". This goes back to at least 1916 and the operetta The Maid of the Mountains. Which includes the number A Bachelor Gay. The narrator of this song is definitely heterosexual, ...


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The Oxford English Dictionary has a long article for Gay in its many senses, and we can assume it was a very carefully curated article. My answer here is intended to give a plain answer as documented by the OED, which is conservative in its outlook. I'm sure a LGBQT+ sociolinguist would be able to give you a much more nuanced answer, as the adoption of the ...


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