Polari is a secret language used by the LGBTQ+ community in the UK during the 20th century. It was primarily used by gay men, but also by lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender individuals. Polari was a way for people to communicate in code, allowing them to express themselves and connect with others without fear of persecution or discrimination.

The roots of Polari can be traced back to the 19th century, when it was used by actors and circus performers as a way to communicate secretly amongst themselves. Over time, the language evolved and became popular among gay men in the UK, particularly in London and Manchester. Polari was a mix of various languages, including Italian, Yiddish, Romani, and Cockney rhyming slang.

Polari was used in bars, clubs, and cruising areas as a way for LGBTQ+ individuals to identify each other and communicate without being understood by those outside of their community. It was also used as a form of self-protection, allowing people to talk openly about their sexuality without fear of repercussions.

One of the most famous examples of Polari in popular culture is the BBC radio show “Round the Horne,” which featured two camp characters who spoke in Polari. The show brought Polari to a wider audience and helped to normalize the language within the LGBTQ+ community.

Despite its popularity in the mid-20th century, Polari started to decline in the 1970s as LGBTQ+ rights began to improve and people felt more comfortable being open about their sexuality. However, Polari has left a lasting impact on the LGBTQ+ community and continues to be studied and celebrated by linguists and historians.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in Polari, with LGBTQ+ activists and scholars working to preserve and document the language for future generations. There are now Polari dictionaries and language courses available, allowing people to learn more about this important part of LGBTQ+ history.

Overall, Polari is a unique and fascinating language that played a crucial role in the LGBTQ+ community’s fight for acceptance and visibility. It allowed people to express themselves freely and connect with others in a way that was both fun and empowering. Though Polari may no longer be widely used, its legacy lives on as a symbol of resilience and solidarity within the LGBTQ+ community.

By mike