Date: Wed, 28 Feb 1996 21:27:19 -0400

From: "Bethany K. Dumas, U of Tennessee" dumasb[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UTKVX.UTK.EDU

Subject: Re: GAY (Changes to the English Language)

1. Ron, I'd very much like to receive your article when it's ready

for distribution.

2. When I was a first-year graduate student, I took a seminar in Wm.

Faulker in the Spring (this is 1960). One night we met at the prof's

house for an informal session. Somehow the word "queer" came up for

discussion. After a while, a male student (not gay, so far as I know)

told of going into a hotel bar in Memphis a year or two before (he was alone

for some reason) on New Year's Eve. He reported that at one point a male

at the bar asked him if he were gay. He, slightly giddy (it WAS NYE),

thought the person meant "happy" and replied "Oh, yes ... etc. etc." I

don't remember exactly what the other male said or did next that let my

friend know that he had misunderstood the question, but he reported that

the incident was his introduction to gay as meaning homosexual. The

professor then told us that he had never heard the word in that sense. I

was surprised, though now that I think back, I suspect that I had known

that meaning of the word for only a couple of years.

Bethany K. Dumas, J.D., Ph.D. | Applied Linguistics, Language & Law

Dep't of English, UT, Knoxville | EMAIL: dumasb[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

415 McClung Tower | (423) 974-6965 | FAX (423) 974-6926

Knoxville, TN 37996-0430 | See Webpage at