Tag Archives: homosexuality

“We can always call them Bulgarians”

Since this blog is dedicated mainly to books, and since I have – as all regular readers know by now – a special relationship with Bulgaria, it is probably not surprising that I combine my love for books and my love for my adopted home country by collecting everything printed related to Bulgaria on which I can lay my hands on. That includes even books that would in another context not be of particular interest to me; the fun part of it is that I have now dissertations on the caries treatment in Varna region, a handbook about horse breeding, a history of the tobacco industry of the country, or the standard work on the identification of a specific family of bugs in the Strandzha mountains in my private library.
A recent acquisition of mine is a book “We can always call them Bulgarians“, by Kaier Curtin. I found a cheap copy in an antiquarian bookstore, bought it without really checking on the content in detail, and found myself rather surprised when I opened the book at home for a more thorough inspection of the content.
It seems that the English word “bugger” is etymologically derived from the word “Bulgar/ian” – and “Bulgarian” is a synonym for “queer” in a particular context, especially on the theatre stage, as I have learned from this book. As wrote
“…columnist Wilella Waldorf in the New York Post, September 17, 1937 about the play Wise Tomorrow:
It has been whispered the theme has a touch of Lesbianism about it, which sounds a little odd when you consider that the Warners, presumably, have in mind a picture version eventually. However, as Samuel Goldwyn or somebody once said, “We can always call them Bulgarians.””
“Bulgarian” as a synonym for gay/lesbian – that was new to me; but then, I am after all not very familiar with that part of the spectrum.
I wonder what my Bulgarian friends have to say about the revelation that “Bulgarian” means also “queer” – can they confirm this theory, or rather not?!
Looking forward to your comments 😉
Kaier Curtin: “We Can Always Call Them Bulgarians”, Alyson Books 1987
An interesting short online article on the same topic can be found here.
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