gay people

Cub Pilot

Senior Member
Hi there,
Please, what is meant by gay people in the following context (JD Vance, 'Hillbilly Elegy')?

In California , every day included a new adventure with my teenage cousin and their friends. During one trip we went to Castro District of San Francisco so that, in the words of my older cousin Rachael, I could learn that gay people weren't out to molest me.

Please help. Many thanks in advance:)
 
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  • anthox

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Thank you. I suspect that as well. But I don't see any clue that would back up that conclusion. So, please tell me, how you come to this conclusion. Please help. Thanks again.
    Because that's really the only thing "gay people" means. In texts from maybe 80+ years ago you might see the word "gay" used to mean "cheerful," but that meaning is long obsolete and wouldn't likely be collocated with "people."

    Beyond that, they are in the Castro District of San Francisco (Wikipedia link). That city, and that district in particular, are well-known for their gay communities. Although, even without mention of this place, it is obvious that "gay people" refers to "homosexual men."

    I wonder, in turn, what else you think it might mean?
     

    Tegs

    Mód ar líne
    English (Ireland)
    Thank you. Yes, I thought it could mean cheerful. I didn't know that meaning is obsolete, I'm afraid.
    You will still see it with this meaning in books that were written in the 1950s and so forth. I remember that Enid Blyton's children's books contained various gay children and animals, with the meaning of cheerful (these were written in the 1940s, 1950s). But yes, it's an obsolete meaning now, so in any modern texts, it will have the new meaning.
     

    TheIntricateWillows

    Member
    English - USA
    It has the typical, common meaning of "people who are homosexual," specifically referring to men in this context.
    Yeah, I would agree with this. Although, I would like to add some helpful information as a gay guy. Sometimes lesbians call themselves "gay" because they prefer that term over lesbian. Therefore, it can refer to people attracted to the same sex.

    < Topic drift removed. Cagey, moderator >

    Let me know if you have any more questions or need something clarified. :)
     
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    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    […]But yes, it's an obsolete meaning now, so in any modern texts, it will have the new meaning.[…]
    It may be obsolete soon, and it is nearly obsolete now, but in certain contexts it is still current. In contexts where it meaning is clearly “joyous” it can still be used. But I agree its days are numbered, and in most cases, for the reasons of clarity, it is best to reserve “gay” for “homosexual”.

    I do wonder about a friend from high school named Kimberly Gay M. She went by the name of “Gay”. Did she abandon her name?
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    You can use “gaily“ and “gaiety” freely. But “gay” primarily to mean a feeling or describe an event.

    She felt lightheaded and gay—her boyfriend was coming home from the war.

    The evening promised to be a gay and wonderful one—with her entire family coming home for Christmas.


    ”Gay” is undoubtedly on its deathbed, but not deceased quite yet.
     

    Tegs

    Mód ar líne
    English (Ireland)
    She felt lightheaded and gay—her boyfriend was coming home from the war.
    But I'd say this was a 1950s context, the same as I mentioned in 8. It's not current.
    The evening promised to be a gay and wonderful one—with her entire family getting home for Christmas
    This also doesn't sound like something from 2022.
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Not current, but famous

    When you're with the Flintstones
    Have a yabba dabba doo time.
    A dabba doo time.
    We'll have a gay old time.

    source: The Flintstones Lyrics - Theme Song Lyrics

    The Flinstones - September 30, 1960, to April 1, 1966

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