Date: Fri, 19 Jan 1996 09:05:10 -0500

From: Jesse T Sheidlower jester[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PANIX.COM

Subject: Re: Flaming

Ron Butters wrote:

On Wed, 17 Jan 1996, Kathleen M. O'Neill wrote:

Anyone know the etymology of the term "flaming"

as it applies to homosexuals?

The idea of 'heat' is often associated with male homosexual acts, e.g.,

the common German term is SCHWUL, derived (as I recall) from a phrase

meaning 'hot brothers'. It was, I believe, Andy Warhol who made a movie

in the 1960s (?) called FLAMING CREATURES with a queer theme. Bruce

Rodgers in THE QUEENS' VERNACULAR: A GAY LEXICON (1972) does not list

FLAMING, but he does list FLAME (IT UP), which he defines as 'to

overemphasize, often deliberately, . . . the effeminate." He derives it

(or maybe just associates it--it is hard to tell) from/with the phrase

TURN UP THE FLAME (which he dates from 1972; I'm sure FLAME is much

older). He lists CAMP as a synonym.

The earliest example we have found in the Random House Historical

Dictionary of American Slang is from Gershon Legman's homosexual

glossary in Henry's Sexual Variations: _Flaming queen,_ a homosexual

who attempts to...attract attention and drum up trade. This is

from 1941. Our next examples are from 1958-9 and 1969. (This is for

_flaming_ '(of a homosexual, esp. a man) blatant or conspicuous'.)

Jesse Sheidlower

Random House Reference