Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma
"He [the prefect] used to fag me to blow the chapel organ for him." ["Boy's Own Paper," 1889]Other obsolete senses of faggot were "man hired into military service simply to fill out the ranks at muster" (1700) and "vote manufactured for party purposes" (1817). The oft-heard statement that male homosexuals were called faggots in reference to their being burned at the stake is an etymological urban legend. Burning was sometimes a punishment meted out to homosexuals in Christian Europe (on the suggestion of the Biblical fate of Sodom and Gomorah), but in England, where parliament had made homosexuality a capital offense in 1533, hanging was the method prescribed. Any use of faggot in connection with public executions had long become an English historical obscurity by the time the word began to be used for "male homosexual" in 20th century American slang, whereas the contemptuous slang word for "woman" (and the other possible sources or influences listed here) was in active use.
Homosexual, esp in an overt way •Used only of males: who lives with his faggoty American friend (first form 1928+, second 1950s+)
A male homosexual: Hot faggot queens bump up against chilly Jewish matrons/ an amazing job of controlling the faggots
[1914+; origin unknown; perhaps fr fag; perhaps fr faggot, ''woman,'' found by 1591]