Its first non-square-bracketed citation is this one:A number of quotations have been suggested as early attestations of this sense (see a sample below). It is likely that, although there may be innuendo in some cases, these have been interpreted anachronistically in the light either of the context [...] or of knowledge about an author's sexuality.
1941 G. LEGMAN Lang. Homosexuality in G. W. Henry Sex Variants II. 1167 Gay, an adjective used almost exclusively by homosexuals to denote homosexuality, sexual attractiveness, promiscuity..or lack of restraint, in a person, place, or party. Often given the French spelling, gai or gaie by (or in burlesque of) cultured homosexuals of both sexes.
(spell check....) straight peoplePerhaps "gay" (homosexual) was used by the gay community for more than half a century, but not by the general public. Just depends on your specific use for this information.
I have heard the word gay used in several old movies circa 1935-1950 and gay only meant happy. The Hollywood movie industry would never have allowed gay in the movie scripts if they thought people took it as homosexual. Back then actors had to hide their sexual preference if they were gay.
There were strait people that partied with gay people... and they would have use gay as homosexual, but that's not mainstream.