Political rainbow

One more rainbow for the season, in my USPS mail yesterday: from Stanford QUESTer Ryan Tamares, wishing me Happy Pride Month, this LGBT Lives Matter postcard (with the “LGBT Lives Matter” legend abstracted away from the postcard):


(#1) Logo designed and sold by AthleticHeroes on redbubble.com

Note the POW, or PUNCH, lines surrounding the central image, a drawing of a raised clenched fist, with a long  (presumably polished) thumbnail — either female, or gender-nonconforming male.

The raised clenched fist can express a variety of meanings in different contexts: solidarity with some movement or political group (with the LGBT Lives Matter — GLM, for short — movement, in this case, but sometimes with the government, even an oppressive one); resistance; or protest. Or some combination of these.

The GLM fist is modeled on the Black Lives Matter (BLM) fist, and both developed from the corresponding, and older, Power fist (Gay Power, Black Power). A stylized BLM fist:


(#2) Logo standing for BLM and for Black Power, available on many sites

And a stylized Gay Power fist:


(#3) Logo designed and sold by sweetsixty on redbubble.com

Handedness. (My handedness is very imperfectly right-dominant, and I have considerable trouble appropriately using and responding to the Adj/Adv pair right/left in directions and the like: my guy Jacques, to me on more than one occasion, wryly, “Is that your left or actual left?” So I approach this topic with some trepidation.).

First point: in actual usage, the raised fist gesture is most commonly done with the right arm, though occasionally with the left. So if you’re observing the default gesture, done with the right arm, the thumb will point to your right; but if you’re looking at a photograph of the event, in the default gesture, the raised arm will be on the left of the photograph and the thumb will point to your left. Here’s a photograph of an actual Gay Power fist, done with the default right arm, so that the thumb in the photo points to your left:


(#4) (photo by freepik: http://www.freepik.com)

Then: a stylized version of a gesture, as in logos, can, alas, be based on observing the gesture in real life or in photographs. In any case, we get a conventional presentation of the gesture that may have little to do with the gestural default in real life: highly stylized Black Power, BLM, Gay Power, and GLM logos seem to point to left-hand fist raising  as the default — see #2 and #3 above — and even less stylized drawings of the gesture, as in #1, follow that pattern,. But the actual gestures are pretty strongly right-handed.

Less frequent variants of these logos, with thumbs pointing to the viewer’s left, do occur, however. (I would have illustrated them here, but it’s very hard to find images that don’t require a payment for their use.)

And now, a vacation from rainbows on this blog, even though Stonewall Day (commemorating the uprising of 52 years ago) is still two weeks in the future.

On the other hand, a copy of the 1994 Long Road to Freedom: The Advocate History of the Gay and Lesbian Movement arrived in today’s mail, providing me with lots of personally difficult things to write about. For instance: the book comes with a foreword by Randy Shilts, who died of AIDS while the book was in press.

One Response to “Political rainbow”

  1. RodW Says:

    The longish thumbnail could belong to a guitarist of any gender… 😁

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