Afternoon Inqueery

AI: Wearing your pride

I read this really interesting post about Spirit Day recently, which got me thinking about (amongst other things) what part wearing LGBTQ* symbols can have in visibility and advocacy. I think one concern is that these sorts of actions are “slacktivist” and fail to get to the heart of huge problems. However, they can still be valuable ways to mark yourself out as supportive (and, most vitally, available to listen) to people who might not have anyone else. Even besides that, they can be a positive way to assert your own identity, though even that has to be based on how safe it is for you to do so.
While I don’t currently wear any of these sorts of symbols, I did wear a black ring for a short period of time, though stopped for a reason I can’t remember. (I might have also dropped it and failed to be bothered enough to buy a new one.) The black ring as a symbol of asexuality hasn’t quite taken off yet outside of the community, so it’s not so much a form of outward visibility as a way to find others or start a conversation. I also have a rainbow bracelet, which is meant to be a way to communicate support, though again my concern is that it’ll be seen as an empty gesture. I also worry about wearing it out and getting abuse for doing so, though I guess the more of us who are relatively safe (as I am) and are open about our support the better. I would be very interested to hear of others’ experiences relating to this sort of thing.
Do you wear anything that symbolises your sexuality or gender identity? Is it something you put on once a year or keep on all the time? Are there any other things you wear to silently show your support for one thing or another?
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, at 3pm ET.
Featured image by Carolynn Primeau on Flickr.

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Courtney is a theoretical physics student at Imperial College London, broadly identifying as cisfemale, panromantic, asexual and atheist. She lives with mental illness (worst room-mate ever) and hopes to help break down the stigma attached to admitting that. Her hobbies include campaigning, internetting and spectacularly failing to defy any stereotypes regarding British people and tea. She also identifies as an X-Phile/Browncoat/Whovian, which are clearly the most important things.


  1. October 25, 2012 at 3:12 pm —

    I wear a version of this ring:

    Each one is a bit different, but the one I wear is done in a more rainbow way. It’s not magical, but it is pretty 🙂

  2. October 25, 2012 at 4:54 pm —

    I used to have a big rainbow patch on my old backpack, but didn’t put on another one when that backpack was stolen. I DO wear skeptic related t-shirts to school pretty often, and the car I drive has lots of atheist/skeptic related fish on it (mostly from I feel more strongly about being visible as an atheist and skeptic than as a queer person, in part because at least in my area being queer is A LOT more common than being a skeptic.

  3. October 25, 2012 at 4:56 pm —

    I have a large trans pride sticker on my laptop case that I take to classes. I also have a trans symbol neclace I wear regularily. I know that it makes me very visible and possibly a target but I think that the trans community needs more visibilty and people who are able to show we are out there.

    I dont recommend it for everyone but I don’t want to be invisible.

  4. October 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm —

    I have a button that says “I can’t even think straight” with a rainbow on it that I wear to events like cons. I made myself an atom necklace that I wear almost every time I leave the house (It represents my atheism mostly, I figured it’s a common enough symbol. Most people just ask if I’m a physics student.)

  5. October 26, 2012 at 3:30 am —

    I’ve been wearing a Ring of O for years now. I’ve had quite a few talks about BDSM because of it, with others in the scene who recognised it or wore it themselves and with people just curious. The response has been positive with all of them.

  6. October 26, 2012 at 4:59 pm —

    I wear rainbow jewelry almost every day, and my purse has various atheism, skepticism and queer related buttons. I enjoy being a visible member of these communities

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