Polari is a secret form of language mainly used by homosexual men in London and other cities during the twentieth century. Derived in part from the slang lexicons of numerous stigmatised and itinerant groups, Polari was also a means of socialising, acting out camp performances and reconstructing a shared gay identity and worldview among its speakers. This book examines the ways in which Polari was used in order to construct 'gay identities', linking its evolution to the changing status of gay men and lesbians in the UK over the past fifty years.

chapter 1|18 pages

What is Polari?

chapter 2|20 pages

Historical origins

chapter 3|24 pages

Polari as a language system

chapter 4|23 pages

Uses and abuses

chapter 5|20 pages

Julian and Sandy

chapter 6|20 pages


chapter 7|28 pages


chapter 8|7 pages