LGBT Symbols and What Each Signifies at a Glance
Today I was researching all of the different symbols designed to categorize each of us. This research into LGBT related symbols has me overwhelmed and a little fascinated that so much work has been done just to show who we are and what we like with just a glance. Personally it bothers me that we feel the need to segregate ourselves into very defined categories. This in itself has been both a hindrance and a blessing at the same time.
Lets begin with the history of LGBT related symbols of where they started an when. The most widely known LGBT symbol is the rainbow flag. Before we begin I would like to once again do a little more separation of symbols and flags. This first part I wish to break down the symbols then followup with the flags. Also I am going to focus more on the symbols concentric meaning based on sexuality rather than the gender specific meaning.
LGBT Symbols at a Glance
Interlocking female symbols (left): Two interlocking female gender symbols, the singular of which is borrowed from the astrological sign of Venus, began representing the lesbian community in the 1970s. The symbols once also represented feminism and the sisterhood of women, so three interlocking symbols are sometimes used to distinguish feminist pride.
Black triangle (center): While Paragraph 175, the German statute that criminalized sexual acts between men, did not include lesbians, a black triangle denoted “asocial women” in concentration camps. This included feminists, lesbians, prostitutes and women who refused to bear children.
Like the pink triangle for gay men, the black triangle has become a source of pride and solidarity among lesbians.
Labrys (right): The labrys, or double-bladed battle axe, is associated with ancient matriarchal societies, the Amazons and the Greek goddess Demeter. It is now a symbol of lesbian strength and independence.
The first is called the interlocking male symbol, which shows two male gender symbols, and has been used since the 1970s.
The pink triangle was used by the Nazis in concentration camps to identify and shame homosexuals. This symbol, which was used to label and shame, has been embraced by the gay community as a symbol of pride.
Bisexuality triangles (top left): Sometimes called “biangles,” the origin of these two interlocking pink and blue triangles is largely unknown. Some theories posit that the pink represents attraction to women and the blue attraction to men, or the pink represents homosexuality, the blue heterosexuality and the purple bisexuality.
Interlocking male and female gender symbols: These symbols signify men attracted to men and women and a women attracted to men and women.
Transgender symbol, first version: This symbol combines and modifies elements of the male and female gender symbols, with a combined symbol jutting from the top left.
Transgender symbol, version two: This version of the transgender symbol includes a strike-through in the center, to include those who don’t identify as male or female.
Mercury astrological sign: The transgender community adopted this symbol for its hermaphroditic meaning.
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