What Do Scissors Symbolize LGBTQ: Exploring the Meaning behind This Powerful Emblem

Have you ever wondered why a pair of scissors is often used to represent the LGBTQ+ community? While most people may associate scissors with simply cutting paper or fabric, the symbol has a much deeper meaning for members of the LGBTQ+ community. The scissor icon is a nod to the powerful representation of femininity and solidarity among women-loving-women throughout history.

The origins of the scissor symbol date back to early 1900s when lesbian relationships were often dismissed as “just good friends” or “roommates”. The symbol was famously popularized by the iconic femme lesbian publication, “The Ladder”, which was founded in 1956. The scissor emblem became a tool to visually represent the solidarity and resilience of these women while also serving as a secret symbol among lesbians. This symbol of resistance has since evolved into one of acceptance and pride among the entire LGBTQ+ community.

Today, the scissor symbol is used to represent the diversity and inclusiveness of the LGBTQ+ community. Beyond its representation of femininity, it is a powerful emblem for marginalized communities worldwide, representing their desire to cut through stigma and achieve equality. From subtle tattoos and jewelry to rainbow-infused merchandise, the scissors have become an enduring symbol of the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance. So, the next time you see a pair of scissors in a rainbow form, know that it’s more than just a fashion statement – it is a powerful representation of an enduring struggle towards equal rights.

Overview of the LGBTQ Community

The LGBTQ community refers to individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning. The community is diverse, spanning across race, ethnicity, religion, age, and socioeconomic status. Despite progress in recent years, individuals within the community still face discrimination, prejudice, and violence.

  • LGBTQ individuals experience higher rates of hate crimes and violence compared to non-LGBTQ individuals.
  • Discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in employment, housing, and public accommodations is still legal in many states.
  • Mental health concerns, such as depression, anxiety, and suicide, are disproportionately high within the LGBTQ community.

Despite these challenges, the LGBTQ community has made significant strides in achieving equality and visibility. Pride celebrations are held worldwide every June to commemorate the Stonewall riots of 1969, a pivotal moment in the LGBTQ rights movement.

Organizations such as GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Trevor Project work to promote LGBTQ rights, education, and support services.


– History of the LGBTQ Rights Movement

– LGBTQ Symbols and Their Meanings

– Challenges Faced by the LGBTQ Community Today

LGBTQ Symbol Meaning
Rainbow Flag Represents diversity and LGBTQ pride
Pink Triangle Originally used by the Nazis to denote homosexuality, now a symbol of LGBTQ resistance
Scissors Often used to represent LGBTQ hairstylists and beauticians

– Resources for LGBTQ individuals and allies

History of the LGBTQ Community

The history of the LGBTQ community is one that is marked with years of social stigma, discrimination, and persecution. However, despite the challenges, the LGBTQ community has managed to rise above and redefine what it means to be accepted as who you are. This community has a rich history that stretches back to ancient times, where same-sex relationships were not only accepted but celebrated. Here, we will delve into the history of the LGBTQ community and touch on significant milestones that have marked their journey to where they are today.

  • The Stonewall Riots: The year was 1969, and New York was the epicenter of LGBTQ rights. The Stonewall Inn was a popular gay bar that suffered frequent police raids. When the police raided the bar in June 1969, the patrons and members of the community had enough, and they fought back. This violent uprising was the catalyst that sparked the gay rights movement and paved the way for the strides that the community would make in the following decades.
  • The AIDS Epidemic: In the 1980s, the LGBTQ community was hit hard by the AIDS epidemic that saw many individuals diagnosed with the disease ostracized and shunned. The epidemic not only claimed numerous lives but also forced the community underground as they fought for visibility and recognition in a time when society did not acknowledge or accept them. The AIDS epidemic was a turning point for the community and brought to the forefront many pressing issues that plague them to date.
  • The Marriage Equality Movement: After years of fighting for their rights, the LGBTQ community saw a significant stride with the landmark Supreme Court decision in 2015 that legalized same-sex marriage in the United States. This ruling was monumental for the community, as it cemented their rights and recognition in society.

The Rainbow Scissors and LGBTQ Representation

As the LGBTQ community has grown in visibility and acceptance, so has the symbolism associated with them. One of the significant symbols associated with the community is the rainbow flag that is used to represent diversity and unity. The scissors, on the other hand, have become a lesser-known symbol but still hold significant value in the community.

Color Meaning
Orange Healing from HIV/AIDS.
Yellow The light of life, sunlight, and the promise of a new dawn.
Green Calm, growth, and nature.
Blue Harmony, peace, and trust.
Purple Spirit, trust, and confidence in the future.

The scissors’ symbolism is grounded in how they are used as a tool to cut, which represents the shedding of negative emotions and beliefs that hinder personal growth. The scissors are also a reflection of the LGBTQ community’s ability to reassert power in situations where they have felt powerless. Moreover, the symbolism of the scissors can be traced back to lesbian history in the 1980s when women would use scissors to depict their lesbian sexuality.

As society continues to evolve, so will the symbols that are associated with various movements. The rainbow scissors remain a powerful reminder of the LGBTQ community’s perseverance and resilience in the path of adversity.

Significance of Symbolism in the LGBTQ Community

The LGBTQ community has long embraced the use of symbols to signify their unique culture and history. From the rainbow flag to the pink triangle, these symbols have helped create a sense of identity and belonging for LGBTQ individuals around the world. In this article, we will explore the symbolism of scissors in LGBTQ culture.

Scissors as a Symbol in the LGBTQ Community

  • The meaning behind scissors as a symbol in the LGBTQ community is rooted in the idea of cutting ties to the gender binary.
  • Scissors can be seen as a way to cut through norms and expectations placed upon individuals based on their gender identity.
  • Using scissors as a symbol is also a nod to the activism and strength of LGBTQ individuals who continue to fight for equality and representation in society.

Gender Nonconformity and the LGBTQ Community

Gender nonconformity is a term used to describe individuals who do not conform to traditional gender norms in terms of their appearance, behavior, or identity. This concept is particularly significant in the LGBTQ community, where individuals may identify as transgender, nonbinary, or genderqueer.

The use of scissors as a symbol in the LGBTQ community can be seen as a way to reclaim the power of gender nonconformity and celebrate the diversity of gender identities and expressions.

The Intersection of Race and LGBTQ Identity

As with any community, the LGBTQ community is not homogenous. Individuals within this community may identify with different races, cultures, and ethnicities. For LGBTQ people who are also people of color, the intersection of race and sexuality can be particularly complex and fraught with challenges.

Race LGBTQ Population
White 59%
Black/African American 14%
Latinx 21%
Asian/Pacific Islander 5%
Native American/Indigenous 1%

Understanding the intersection of race and LGBTQ identity is important in creating inclusive and equitable spaces within the community. Symbolism, like the use of scissors, can serve as a unifying force for individuals within the LGBTQ community, regardless of their race or cultural background.

The use of scissors as a symbol in the LGBTQ community

Scissors have been used as a symbol in the LGBTQ community for decades. The symbolism behind scissors is multifaceted, with different meanings and interpretations depending on the individual and context. In this article, we will explore the use of scissors as a symbol in the LGBTQ community and its various meanings.

  • Breaking free from societal norms: The use of scissors as a symbol in the LGBTQ community is rooted in the idea of breaking free from the restrictions and norms imposed by society. Scissors are used to cut and remove things, which can represent the cutting away of these societal norms and expectations.
  • Representation of non-binary identities: Scissors also represent the idea of non-binary identities, where there is no strict binary division between genders. It can signify the idea of cutting away the binary and embracing a more fluid and flexible sense of identity.
  • Historical context: The use of scissors in the LGBTQ community can also be traced back to historical accounts of lesbian and bisexual women who used scissors as a tool for sexual pleasure. The term “scissoring” is still used today to refer to a sexual act between women.

Another aspect of the use of scissors as a symbol is its prevalence in LGBTQ art, fashion, and merchandise. The iconic rainbow scissors design has become a recognizable symbol for the LGBTQ community, particularly during the pride month and other LGBTQ events.

Here is a table summarizing some of the meanings and interpretations behind the use of scissors as a symbol in the LGBTQ community:

Meaning Interpretation
Breaking free from societal norms Rejection of societal expectations and restrictions
Representation of non-binary identities Embracing a fluid and flexible sense of identity
Historical context Sexual pleasure and intimacy among lesbian and bisexual women

Overall, the use of scissors as a symbol in the LGBTQ community has a rich history and a powerful meaning. It represents the idea of breaking free from societal norms and embracing a flexible and inclusive sense of identity.

Interpretations of the meaning of scissors in the LGBTQ community

The symbolism of scissors in the LGBTQ community is complex and multifaceted. While the image of two scissors suggests a literal interpretation of lesbian sex, for many people, scissors have a broader meaning and represent diverse identities, relationships, and experiences. Here are some of the interpretations of the meaning of scissors in the LGBTQ community:

Themes associated with scissors in the LGBTQ community

  • Empowerment: Scissors can symbolize the ability to cut away the social constructs that have been imposed on LGBTQ people. The act of cutting can be a metaphor for empowerment and liberation.
  • Nonconformity: Scissors can represent the LGBTQ community’s rejection of heteronormative expectations and norms. The symbolism of scissors can also suggest defiance and resistance, as if LGBTQ people are cutting through the discrimination and prejudice they face.
  • Intimacy: The image of two scissors touching, or being intertwined, can represent a deep emotional and physical connection between two people, regardless of gender.

Scissors in LGBTQ art and culture

Scissors have been used in LGBTQ art and culture to express various themes and ideas. For instance:

  • In “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker, the main character, Celie, uses a pair of scissors to shave her husband’s beard and as a symbol of her newfound self-empowerment.
  • Artist Tom of Finland incorporated scissors into his erotic artwork to symbolize cutting through societal constraints and to represent the power dynamics in some masculine same-sex relationships.
  • The lesbian-owned sex shop, Babeland, used scissors in its logo to represent the queer community’s sexual and sensual pleasure.

Scissors as a personal affirmation

For many LGBTQ people, scissors have become a personal affirmation of their identity. Some people tattoo scissors on their skin, wear scissors as jewelry, or use scissors as a symbol in their social media profiles. The use of scissors can remind people to be true to themselves and to be proud of their LGBTQ identity.


The meanings associated with scissors in the LGBTQ community are varied and nuanced. While some people associate scissors with specific sexual practices, others see them as a symbol of empowerment, nonconformity, intimacy, and personal affirmation. Ultimately, the LGBTQ community has appropriated scissors as a symbol of its identity, its history, and its resilience in the face of discrimination and oppression.

Benefits Drawbacks
Empowering Potentially controversial
Inclusive of diverse LGBTQ experiences May reinforce stereotypes
Can be a personal affirmation Not universally understood outside of the LGBTQ community

The use of scissors in the LGBTQ community can be both empowering and controversial. While the symbolism of scissors is inclusive of diverse experiences and is a personal affirmation for many individuals, it may also reinforce stereotypes and is not universally understood outside of the community.

The Symbolism of Cutting Ties with Societal Norms

For many LGBTQ individuals, “coming out” means breaking away from the societal expectations that have been placed upon them. This process can be incredibly empowering, as it allows individuals to be true to themselves and live authentically. However, it can also be incredibly difficult, as it often involves breaking ties with friends, family, and even larger communities that may not be accepting of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Scissors, often used metaphorically to represent this process of cutting ties, have become a symbol for LGBTQ individuals.

  • Independence: Scissors symbolize independence, as they allow individuals to cut ties and forge their own path. For many LGBTQ individuals, coming out and being true to themselves is a way of asserting their independence and taking control of their lives.
  • Cutting the Past: Scissors also represent cutting ties with the past. Many individuals feel they must leave behind past relationships and communities that may not be accepting in order to fully embrace their LGBTQ identity.
  • Self-Expression: By cutting ties with societal norms, LGBTQ individuals are able to express themselves in ways that may have previously been forbidden. Scissors symbolize this newfound ability to express oneself freely and openly.

Scissors are also often depicted alongside other LGBTQ symbols, such as rainbows, to further reinforce their meaning and importance within the community.

While scissors may seem like a simple tool, their symbolism within the LGBTQ community is incredibly powerful. They represent the process of breaking free from societal expectations and cutting ties with the past in order to live authentically and unapologetically.

Color Meaning
Red Represents the fight for equality and acceptance
Orange Represents healing and recovery from oppression and discrimination
Yellow Represents the sun and light, a symbol of hope and optimism for the future
Green Represents nature and growth, and serves as a symbol of the LGBTQ community’s continued progress and evolution
Blue Represents serenity and peace, a symbol of the LGBTQ community’s desire to live in a world free of discrimination and hate
Purple Represents the spirit and diversity of the LGBTQ community, as well as the power and strength of collective action

Overall, the scissors symbolize the idea that although it may be difficult, cutting ties with societal norms allows individuals to live their lives fully and authentically.

The association of scissors with the concept of gender identity

Scissors have become a ubiquitous symbol of the LGBTQ community, particularly among lesbian and bisexual women. They are often seen tattooed on the skin or drawn on banners during LGBTQ pride parades and events. But what is the story behind the association of scissors with the concept of gender identity?

  • The “scissoring” sexual position
  • The concept of cutting through gender norms
  • The connection to Sappho, the Greek poetess

The reasons for the association of scissors with LGBTQ identity are multifaceted, including both sexual and cultural symbolism. Here are some possible explanations:

First and foremost, the term “scissoring” is often used to describe a sexual position between two women, where they interlock their legs and grind their vulvas together. While not all lesbian or bisexual women engage in this position, it has become a popular symbol of sexual pride for those who do. As such, scissors have come to represent both the sexual experiences and pride of lesbian and bisexual women.

On a deeper level, the association of scissors can also represent a desire to cut through societal gender norms and expectations. Members of the LGBTQ community often feel constrained by rigid gender roles and expectations, and scissors can represent a desire to break free from these constraints. By cutting through gender norms, LGBTQ individuals are creating space for a more diverse and fluid understanding of gender identity.

Finally, there is a connection between scissors and Sappho, the ancient Greek poetess who is considered the “Tenth Muse” by some. Sappho was known to write poems about love and desire between women, and it is said that she used a stylus shaped like a pair of scissors to write her poems. As such, scissors have become a symbol of female desire and the history of lesbian love.

Symbolism Meaning
Scissors Cutting through gender norms, female desire, sexual experience and pride

In conclusion, the association of scissors with the LGBTQ community is complex, spanning both sexual and cultural symbolism. While some may view it as a controversial symbol, for many it represents a powerful message of liberation and pride.

Scissors as a tool of self-expression and empowerment for LGBTQ individuals

Scissors are often associated with cutting, a reference to the cutting of hair, a common practice for many LGBTQ individuals. However, scissors also have a deeper meaning as a tool of self-expression and empowerment for the LGBTQ community. For many individuals, cutting their own hair or someone else’s hair is seen as an act of defiance against societal norms and expectations surrounding gender and beauty standards.

Here are some examples of how scissors have become an iconic symbol of self-expression and empowerment for LGBTQ individuals:

  • Barbershops and salons that cater specifically to the LGBTQ community often incorporate scissors into their logo or signage to reflect their commitment to creating a safe and welcoming space.
  • The film “But I’m a Cheerleader” depicts a group of LGBTQ individuals using scissors to resist conversion therapy and symbolize their rejection of traditionally gendered roles.
  • The punk rock band Pansy Division uses scissors as a recurring motif in their music and album artwork, often in reference to cutting hair or breaking free from oppressive societal norms.

Scissors also hold significance in terms of the broader LGBTQ movement. The rainbow flag, a symbol of LGBTQ pride and activism, originally included a pink stripe and a turquoise stripe in addition to the six colors that make up the flag today. The pink stripe symbolized sexuality, while the turquoise stripe symbolized art. However, due to a lack of available fabric, the pink and turquoise stripes were removed, and scissors were used to cut the flag’s six remaining colors into strips to create the first rainbow flag.

Color Meaning
Red Life
Orange Healing
Yellow Sunlight
Green Nature
Blue Harmony
Purple Spirit

Overall, scissors represent a powerful tool of self-expression and empowerment for the LGBTQ community. From cutting hair to creating the rainbow flag, scissors have become an iconic symbol of defiance, creativity, and love.

Controversies surrounding the usage of scissors as a symbol in the LGBTQ community

As with any symbol, the usage of scissors in the LGBTQ community has been met with controversy and criticism. Although it is not a widely recognized symbol outside the community, some people within the LGBTQ community have adopted the symbol as a way to express their identity and solidarity with others who share similar experiences.

  • Appropriation of lesbian identity
  • Stereotyping of lesbians
  • Exclusion of other members of the community

One of the main controversies surrounding the usage of scissors is the appropriation of lesbian identity. Scissors have long been associated with the lesbian community and are often used in conjunction with other symbols, such as the rainbow flag. Some members of the community feel that the appropriation of this symbol by individuals outside of the lesbian community is disrespectful and erases the experiences of lesbian individuals.

Another issue with the usage of scissors as a symbol is the stereotyping of lesbians. Many people associate scissors with the idea of “scissoring,” a sexual act between two women. This stereotype not only reinforces harmful generalizations about lesbian sexuality, but it also excludes and erases the experiences of lesbians who do not engage in that specific sexual act.

The usage of scissors has also been criticized for excluding other members of the community. While scissors have been associated with the lesbian community, they do not necessarily represent all members of the LGBTQ community. The focus on a specific symbol can exclude and erase the experiences of individuals who do not identify as lesbian.

Overall, the use of scissors as a symbol in the LGBTQ community is a complex and nuanced issue. While some people within the community have adopted the symbol as a way to express their identity and solidarity, it is important to be mindful of the potential harm and exclusion that can come with the usage of any symbol.

Pros Cons
Can be a way for individuals to express their identity and solidarity within the LGBTQ community May appropriate lesbian identity and exclude other members of the community
Can add to the diversity of symbols within the community Can reinforce harmful stereotypes about lesbian sexuality
Can be divisive and cause harm within the community

It is important to approach the usage of any symbol with sensitivity and understanding, and to listen to the experiences and opinions of others within the community.

Future of the Scissors Symbol in the LGBTQ Community

The scissors symbol has been a powerful representation of the LGBTQ community for over 40 years. Originally used as a nod to the barbershop culture frequented by gay men, the symbol has since evolved to represent the intersection of gender identity and sexual orientation. As the LGBTQ community continues to gain visibility and acceptance, the future of the scissors symbol will undoubtedly change. Here are some possibilities:

  • The Scissors Symbol Will Continue to Represent the LGBTQ Community: While symbols like the rainbow flag and the pink triangle have become more widespread, the scissors symbol remains a unique and recognizable representation of the LGBTQ community. It’s possible that the symbol will continue to be used by LGBTQ individuals and organizations as a way to showcase their identity.
  • The Scissors Symbol Will Evolve: Just as the scissors symbol has evolved from its original meaning, it could continue to change. This might mean incorporating other symbols or colors into the design, or adapting the symbol to represent new aspects of LGBTQ identity.
  • The Scissors Symbol Will Be Replaced: It’s possible that a new symbol or image will emerge as a more popular representation of the LGBTQ community, pushing the scissors symbol to the wayside. This could be due to changes in cultural attitudes, political climate, or creative shifts within the community.

It’s difficult to predict what the future holds for the scissors symbol in the LGBTQ community. However, it’s clear that the symbol will always have a place in LGBTQ history and culture.

In the meantime, it’s important to continue to celebrate all that the scissors symbol stands for: inclusivity, diversity, and the power of community.

FAQs: What do scissors symbolize in the LGBTQ community?

Q1: Why are scissors considered a symbol in the LGBTQ community?

Scissors are often used as a symbol for lesbianism in the LGBTQ community due to the act of scissoring, which is a sexual practice that involves two women rubbing their vulvas together.

Q2: Do scissors hold any specific meaning for other LGBTQ identities?

While scissors primarily represent lesbianism, they can also be used as a more general symbol of queer identity or non-heteronormative sexual expression.

Q3: Are scissors only a recent symbol for the LGBTQ community?

No, scissors have been used as a symbol for lesbianism since at least the 1940s and 1950s. However, the use of this symbol has become more widespread with the advent of LGBTQ rights movements and increased visibility in popular culture.

Q4: Is the use of scissors as a symbol for lesbianism offensive to some people?

There is no consensus on this issue. While some people may find the symbol empowering or humorous, others may find it crass or reductive. It is important to always be mindful of how symbols are used and to respect individual preferences and opinions.

Q5: Are there other symbols that are commonly associated with the LGBTQ community?

Yes, there are many symbols that are used to represent various aspects of LGBTQ identity, including the rainbow flag, the pink triangle, and the lambda symbol.

Q6: How can someone show support for the LGBTQ community using symbols?

Wearing or displaying symbols associated with the LGBTQ community, such as a rainbow pin or wristband, can be a simple but powerful way to show support and solidarity.

Q7: Do symbols have the same meaning across different cultures and communities?

No, symbols can have different meanings across cultures and communities. It is important to be aware of the cultural context in which a symbol is being used and to avoid appropriating symbols from cultures to which one does not belong.

Closing Thoughts: Thank You for Learning About the Symbolism of Scissors in the LGBTQ Community!

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the meaning of scissors in the LGBTQ community. We hope that this article has helped deepen your understanding of the diverse and vibrant ways in which LGBTQ individuals express their identities. Please visit again soon for more insights on LGBTQ topics and issues!