Asked in Gay Lesbian and Bisexual
Why are homosexuals called gay?
October 10, 2011 6:34PM
The word gay came to English from Norman French in the 12th century and meant joyful, carefree, bright and showy. By the 17th century the carefree aspect was emphasized and the word came to imply uninhibited by moral constraints and often had a sexual connotation. A gay man was a womanizer, a gay woman a whore, and a gay house a brothel. Still, it primarily meant uninhibited. The term Gay 90's (1890's) has nothing (much) to do with homosexuality. By the beginning of the 20th century the word begun to be used in reference of homosexuals, although as late as the 1950's an unmarried middle aged straight man might still be referred to as a gay bachelor, meaning he was free to live an uninhibited life style. By the end of the 20th century the term gay was used almost exclusively to refer to people attracted to others from the same sex.