Date: Wed, 28 Feb 1996 21:27:19 -0400 From: "Bethany K. Dumas, U of Tennessee" 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