What is the Polari Project?

The Polari Project is a working collective of gay men in Hamilton Ontario Canada and the surrounding areas. We believe that gay men’s health and well being matters. We also believe gay men can take action and are the best advocates for themselves.

We currently see a serious and disturbing absence of services and resources in our region. Our goal is to work and address these issues. Too often, well meaning attempts by other LGBTIQQA service organizations have resulted in the unique needs of gay men getting lost in a rush to be everything to everybody.

The Polari Project is not that. The Polari project will only focus on gay men and men who have sex with men. If you don’t like us – well then too bad. But if you like sex with other guys we bet you will.

The Polari project is sex-positive and operates within a non-judgemental, harm reduction framework. We encourage men to love themselves and each other.

Also don’t forget to fill out our Gay Men’s Survey. This Survey is designed to give us a stronger sense of what people are looking for. It will help us keep on target with our website.

Sincerely yours,
-The Polari Project Collective

What does “Polari” mean and where does it come from?

In the 50s and 60s in England there was a secret gay language – a slang language – called Polari.

In those days gay men used it as a form of protection and secrecy. Outsiders would not be able to understand what they were talking about, and it also had a humorous and campy element. It was derived from a variety of sources, such as Italian words, rhyming slang, and back slang (saying a word as if it were spelled backwards).

Theatre people and also gay men in the Merchant Marines contributed various words. There were probably about 500 Polari terms, and they included words for types of people, occupations, body parts, clothing, and sexual acts. They were ideal for gossip.

You can visit these sites for more information:

Polari Word Listing
Wikipedia Entry on Polari