As late as 1970, the first episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show has the demonstrably straight Mary Richards' downstairs neighbor, Phyllis, breezily declaiming that Mary is, at age 30, still "young and gay." There is little doubt that the homosexual sense is a development of the word's traditional meaning, as described above.
Consequently, a number of euphemisms were used to hint at suspected homosexuality.
Examples include "sporty" girls and "artistic" boys, all with the stress deliberately on the otherwise completely innocent adjective.
Gay is a term that primarily refers to a homosexual person or the trait of being homosexual.
The term was originally used to mean "carefree", "happy", or "bright and showy".
The term's use as a reference to homosexuality may date as early as the late 19th century, but its use gradually increased in the 20th century.
In modern English, gay has come to be used as an adjective, and as a noun, referring to the people, especially to gay males, and the practices and cultures associated with homosexuality.
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".
Ostensibly about schoolboy envy, the song also operated as an in-joke, as related in Jon Savage's "The Kinks: The Official Biography", because the song took its name from a homosexual promoter they'd encountered who'd had romantic designs on songwriter Ray Davies' teenage brother; and the lines "he is so gay and fancy free" attest to the ambiguity of the word's meaning at that time, with the second meaning evident only for those in the know.
He then adds in mock doubt, "Oh, I don't know, you're rather gay on the quiet." By 1963, a new sense of the word gay was known well enough to be used by Albert Ellis in his book The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Man-Hunting. in his 1964 novel Last Exit to Brooklyn, could write that a character "took pride in being a homosexual by feeling intellectually and esthetically superior to those (especially women) who weren't gay...." Later examples of the original meaning of the word being used in popular culture include the theme song to the 1960–1966 animated TV series The Flintstones, whereby viewers are assured that they will "have a gay old time." Similarly, the 1966 Herman's Hermits song "No Milk Today", which became a Top 10 hit in the UK and a Top 40 hit in the U.
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.
By the mid-20th century, gay was well established in reference to hedonistic and uninhibited lifestyles In the case of gay, other connotations of frivolousness and showiness in dress ("gay apparel") led to association with camp and effeminacy.