Where does the "closet" term come from?

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by D_Andreas Sukov, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. D_Andreas Sukov

    D_Andreas Sukov Account Disabled

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    I was at a meeting the other day with the LGBT society at uni talking about the history of LGBT liberation, and the speaker said "we cant let them push us back into our closets", talking about the increase in homophobic attacks, and i got to thinking, where did the term "in the closet" come from?

    In my ignorance, i imagine it could have something to so with having "gay" attire and gear in the closet? Or could it simply be implied as using the closet as a place to hide as if it were a game?

    If someone has any ideas on the origin of the term, id really like to know, for curiosity's sake.
     
  2. Mastur

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    Or maybe in the early 1800's, the meeting place of choice for the practise of the sinister art of buggery, was that of the Water Closet...
     
    #2 Mastur, Mar 11, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2010
  3. finsuptx

    finsuptx New Member

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    I always thought the "closet" referred to "hangups" about being gay.
     
  4. JF

    JF
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  5. helgaleena

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    Certainly there are many varieties of 'skeletons in the closet' and homosexuality is one of them, in still too many places.

    My religion is often told that it ought to be 'in the broom closet', even though we are not witches, just because we have similarities with religions that do call themselves by that term. Narrow mindedness is prone to sticking far too much into closets.
     
  6. D_Andreas Sukov

    D_Andreas Sukov Account Disabled

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    no one have a definite?
     
  7. Tense0000

    Tense0000 Active Member

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    "Check out the brain on Brad!!" - Pulp Fiction

    I would of guessed your answer was correct.


     
  8. avg_joe

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    Bones in your closet. Hiding your secrets in your closet.
     
  9. lopo2000

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    I always thought the closet means back in the years where gays weren't accepted, they had to 'hide in the closet.' Then, when you don't want to hide anymore, you 'come out.'
     
  10. BigDallasDick8x6

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    You didn't think the Wikipedia article was definite??

    Linguistic origin
    The word "closet" was first used to mean secret or unsuspected as early as the 1600s, but not in relation to a person’s sexuality. Closeted also came into use around the same time and meant to keep something hidden or secret from others. Closet case, closet queen, or closet homosexual began to be used during the middle of the 20th century to mean that someone was hiding their homosexuality from others.

    The closet, as it is now used, dates from the 1950s post-war United States, when the deliberateness and aggressiveness of heterosexual enforcement increased. "Gay people in the pre-war years [pre-World War I]... did not speak of coming out of what we call the gay closet but rather of coming out into what they called homosexual society or the gay world, a world neither so small, nor so isolated, nor... so hidden as closet implies"[5]. In fact, "using the term 'closet' to refer to" previous times such as "the 1920s and 1930s might be anachronistic" (Kennedy 1996).[6]
     
  11. Jason

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    The Oxford English Dictionary records the earliest printed usage of the word with this meaning as 1967 - in the form "closet Queen". It develops from earlier usages of closet meaning simply "private" or "secret".

    Of course the word may well have been in the spoken language earlier, but I doubt it is much earlier than 1967. I would be very surprised if it really were around in the 1950s - someone, somewhere would have used it in writing prior to 1967. "Closet" v "come out" is first recorded in 1972. In seems to be the early 1980s before the word hit the UK mainstream.
     
  12. midlifebear

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    I tend to agree with the analysis of the etymology of the term as described in the Wikipedia article. Any left-over members of the Mattachine Society lurking about on LPSG to confirm this?
     
  13. Mastur

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    They don't call me the Balderdash King for nothing...
    :p
     
  14. D_Andreas Sukov

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    I posted then saw the wiki link the net day.....
     
  15. B_double_digits

    B_double_digits New Member

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    this one seems most accurate to me... ive always heard the term "skeleton in the closet" meaning that someone is hiding a secret
     
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