The first time I heard the word gay was during the English class while learning the poem Daffodils by William Wordsworth. The meaning of gay was taught as happy, lively, etc.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
Then somewhere along the way I learned that gay is used as a synonym for homosexual. I never understood how it got from happy to homosexual. My take on it – I guess homosexuals are much lively, happy, cheerful, lighthearted people, not serious or depressed or sad. I don’t understand who wouldn’t want to be gay then!!!
Lets explore the word Gay in detail.
Originated around the 12th century in England, the word Gay is derived from the Old French gai, which in turn was derived from a Germanic word.