Gay Symbols and History: PFLAG-Lubbock Presentation by Duane Simolke. 10/18/05.
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* Bear Pride Flag. Consists of a bear paw print with brown, white, and black stripes to suggest the different kind of bears, as well as a blue stripe for the sky and a green one for the Earth. What’s a bear?
* Gender symbols. The common gender symbols for men and women, put together in varying ways to symbolize gay men, lesbians, or bisexuals.
* Lambda. Greek letter lambda, or L. The Gay Activists Alliance of New York adopted it in 1970, though their reasons for choosing it are unclear. Many organizations use Lambda in their name, including the gay fraternity Delta Lambda Phi and Lubbock’s former group Lambda Social Network.
* Leather Pride Flag. Consists of blue and black stripes, with one white stripe and a red heart. Created by artist Tony DeBlase and first displayed on May 28, 1989 at the Chicago Mr. Leather contest.
* Pink triangle. Used for gay men in concentration camps, imprisoned for Paragraph 175. In 1871, the Reich Criminal Code criminalized homosexual acts, but the law received little enforcement before the Nazis. Black triangle for lesbians.
* Rainbow flag. Created by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978 for a gay pride parade. Many variations, often combined with other symbols.
* Red ribbon. Symbol of AIDS awareness. Popularized by actor Jeremy Irons when he wore one while hosting the 1991 Tony Awards. Variations include a white ribbon for gay teen suicide, as well as many other symbols and causes.
1.) How does seeing LGBT symbols affect you? Is it important to see or display gay symbols? I mentioned some of the most popular ones, but can you think of others?
2.) In 1869, “homosexuality” first appeared in print, in a German pamphlet written by Karl-Maria Kertbeny (1824-1882). Then in 1892, “bisexual” appeared in Charles Gilbert Chaddock's translation of Kraft-Ebing's Psychopathia Sexualis; however, the term apparently goes further back. What are the origins of the words “gay,” “queer,” “dyke,” “lesbian,” “faggot,” and “fag hag”? How do you feel about those words? How have their meanings and the reactions to them changed?
3.) When did you become aware of gay history? Of gays in the holocaust? Did your high school or college cover those topics? Did they ignore the sexual orientation of famous LGBT people?
4.) What is important about June 27, 1969? Oct. 11, 1987?
5.) Did all past cultures condemn homosexuality, and do all countries do so today?
6.) What are some of the famous gay organizations, past and present? These could be local, national, or international.
7.) How much did AIDS change gay people and the attitudes toward them?
8.) In 1533, King Henry VIII established English sodomy laws. What has happened to sodomy laws in England, America, and other countries, and how did those laws affect LGBT people? Are anti-gay laws still a problem?
9.) Which changes and events have affected LGBTs the most?