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When another character asks about his robe, he responds, "Because I just went gay all of a sudden!" Since this was a mainstream film at a time when the use of the word to refer to cross-dressing (and, by extension, homosexuality) would still be unfamiliar to most film-goers, the line can also be interpreted to mean, "I just decided to do something frivolous." In 1950, the earliest reference found to date for the word gay as a self-described name for homosexuals comes from Alfred A. Henry Foundation, who said in the June 1950 issue of SIR magazine: "I have yet to meet a happy homosexual.since the sexual orientation now commonly referred to as "homosexuality" was at that time a mental illness diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).In mid-20th century Britain, where male homosexuality was illegal until the Sexual Offences Act 1967, to openly identify someone as homosexual was considered very offensive and an accusation of serious criminal activity.
Consequently, a number of euphemisms were used to hint at suspected homosexuality.
According to Linda Wagner-Martin (Favored Strangers: Gertrude Stein and her Family (1995)) the portrait "featured the sly repetition of the word gay, used with sexual intent for one of the first times in linguistic history," and Edmund Wilson (1951, quoted by James Mellow in Charmed Circle (1974)) agreed.
The word continued to be used with the dominant meaning of "carefree", as evidenced by the title of The Gay Divorcee (1934), a musical film about a heterosexual couple.
S., included the lyric "No milk today, it was not always so / The company was gay, we'd turn night into day." In June 1967, the headline of the review of the Beatles' Sgt.
Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album in the British daily newspaper The Times stated, "The Beatles revive hopes of progress in pop music with their gay new LP".
At about the same time, a new, pejorative use became prevalent in some parts of the world.