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LLCC Alliance - Lambda History Page

Lambda  Symbol

The Lambda Symbol seems to be one of the most controversial of symbols in regards to its meaning, however a few main points are agreed upon by the majority.

The lambda was first chosen as a gay symbol when it was adopted in 1970 by the New York Gay Activists Alliance. It became the symbol of their growing movement of gay liberation. In 1974, the lambda was subsequently adopted by the International Gay Rights Congress held in Edinburgh, Scotland, as their symbol for lesbian and gay rights, the lambda became internationally popular.  
The main question after this is simply why?  Why was the lambda symbol even chosen? As a representation of the gay and lesbian movement.. Some say that it is simply the Greek lower-case letter l for liberation. Lambda may also denote the synergy of the gay movement, the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The lambda also may represent scales and balance, and the constant force that keeps opposing sides from overcoming each other -- the hook at the bottom of the right leg signifies the action needed to reach and maintain balance. The ancient Greek Spartans regarded the lambda to mean unity, while the Romans considered it "the light of knowledge shed into the darkness of ignorance."

Today, the symbol generally denotes lesbian's and gay men's concerns together. In the early 1970's the Los Angeles gay community created a flag with a lavender lambda on a simple white background. They hoped the flag would catch on to other cities, but their hopes were denied because some saw the lambda as a male symbol only.