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My parents were told that I was mentally retarded.
I don’t know if it was the family doctor or the school counselor, but they definitely said I was mentally retarded (back when that term was acceptable).
I walked retarded-like, as if I was going to fall over & I did not like playing sports (I was even afraid of the dodge ball) & I doodled & stared out the window in class.
My dad would not stand for what he was told! He demanded a second opinion.
That expert said that I walked funny because I was born with a sway back. He got me doing some exercises to correct it. (I still don’t have the best posture but people don’t laugh at me anymore.) He said I simply don’t like sports. I’d rather be thinking and drawing, which is why I stared out the window and doodled. (Later on that doodling turned into lettering & graphic design, but I do still overthink my layouts and logos…or maybe not.)
Point is, I know how it feels to be considered different. I was ridiculed, always picked last for sports (didn’t mind that one bit), and was considered the school nerd. I was different and knew it. I had to deal with it.
That’s why I am empathetic to anyone who is different and has to deal with it. Among others, that includes the LGBTQ& community which celebrates their “differentness” every June — with pride.
June is LGBTQ& Pride Month
That’s LGBTQ& for ampersand fans. For everyone else it’s LGBTQ+ but it means the same exact thing. The plus sign is a just a simplified ampersand — see?
This AmperArt piece was originally created in May or June 2020, but I got so involved in selecting & positioning the letters of the acronym, & then spending lots of time researching the origin of the flag & other history about LGBTQ&, along with related terminology, facts & feelings, that I told myself “to be continued next year.”
Then in 2021 I discovered all sorts of new acronyms (including LGBTQIA& which is common today, but also extended versions such as LGBTIQCAPGNGFNBA+) & a whole slew of gender icons (take a look at the background of the artwork), thinking I needed to start over with design. But I liked my original artwork, how everything fit, & the fact it was a spectrum of exactly six colors, same as the current LGBTQ& flag. So what to do? After heavy consideration I had the “aha” idea: Leave the main artwork alone, but add the various gender icons to the background. (I chose from what appeared to be an authoritative source. If anyone wants to suggest more or different icons I’ll gladly consider modifying the background pattern. I feel it’s important to be represented accurately & respectfully. Just leave a comment.)
Well, you guessed it: it took awhile to make those revisions, then to write about them & what each symbol means, so half-way into June 2021 I once again shelved this piece until this month, LGBTQ& Pride Month 2022. I got back to work on the editorial in mid-May so it could be released as my May 2022 AmperArt (which it was, today the 30th). Problem was I still had the story to write & a ton of reference material to sort through, and that would take days.
History of the Flag
Picture now & 1000 words later
A picture is worth a thousand words, they say, so I’ve decided to post the picture now — the final AmperArt design #160 LGBTQ& — & continue adding to this story as I write about each topic:
- (posted 5/30/22) My empathy with those who are “not mainstream,” because I’ve always been a little different than my peers (even diagnosed as mentally retarded, when that term was politically correct). I’m straight, but I have a lot of gay (& other genders, I’m sure) friends & truly enjoy their company. I understand what it’s like to be considered “different.”
- (posted 6/15/22) The history of the first Rainbow Flag, which is interesting & a bit amusing why it had to be changed slightly.
- The gradual acceptance leading up to — finally — the Supreme Court “affirming that every human being should be treated with respect & dignity.”
- A look at the other sexual-orientation terms & icons.
- Finally, my one & only rant against the LGBTQ& community, which has to do with my specialty, brand identity.
I can’t promise when I’ll get to these topics — this June or Pride Month next June, or somewhere in between. But the issue & the people are important to me, so I will keep adding to the article right here. I will also send out a newsletter at the conclusion of each topic.
Production notes for #160 LGBTQ&:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Programs: Adobe Illustrator
L: Benguiat Charisma
G: Dyer Arts & Crafts
T: Poppl Residenz & Rockwell (modified)
Ampersand: Palatino (modified)
Background image: depositphotos.com (modified)
Original flag reference: https://myfopinion.wordpress.com/2019/06/23/history-of-the-pride-flag/
Note: “&” replaces “and” in most or all text, including quotations, headlines & titles.
Original flag reference:https://myfopinion.wordpress.com/2019/06/23/history-of-the-pride-flag/
You may repost the image & article. Please credit AmperArt.com.
To download a full-size high-resolution 11x17-inch poster suitable for printing & framing, click on the image.
Chaz DeSimone, designer & typographer, is the creator of AmperArt & owner of Desimone Design. He was adding serifs to letters when he was just a little brat scribbling on walls. Now he’s a big brat & his entire career is design, so long as each project requires the most sophisticated, logical, captivating results. Contact him at email@example.com.
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