The word gay has a variety of uses that date back as far as the 13th century. The video above also explores other, lesser-known meanings. Before the word gay was linked to same-sex attraction, it was actually just linked to sexuality in general, heterosexual or homosexual. Before the word gay , the more common term to describe people who enjoy same-sex relationships and experience same-sex attraction was homosexual.
The 'gay' word: what does it mean when young people use it negatively?
BBC NEWS | Magazine | How 'gay' became children's insult of choice
Meaning "stately and beautiful; splendid and showily dressed" is from early 14c. Of things, "sumptuous, showy, rich, ornate," midc. In the English of Yorkshire and Scotland formerly it could mean "moderately, rather, considerable" ; compare sense development in pretty adj. The word gay by the s had an overall tinge of promiscuity -- a gay house was a brothel.
How did “gay” come to mean “homosexual”?
It is of the least possible concern to me what homosexuals do with one another in the privacy of their homes. They can play house, plot political strategies or couple anonymously--I really don't care. I'm not offended and I wouldn't try to stop them if I could.
The more prevalent it became, the more negative its connotations. With just my student overdraft as my budget, I decided to make a documentary exploring how this piece of language had evolved, and speak to people both gay and straight to see how they felt aboutthe word taking on a negative meaning. Some gay people I spoke to were content with the word evolving, while there were straight people who were outraged. Younger people, whom we might have expected to have more awareness of what it means to identify as gay because of media coverage, were often the demographic defending the negative use of this word.