Flagging (hanky code): A discreet system used within the queer community (mostly gay cis men) to signal sexual or romantic interests. It works by placing a colored bandana in either the left or right back pocket of one’s pants. Different colors and placements mean different things. For example: the left pocket means you’re a top, the right pocket means you’re a bottom, around the neck means you’re a switch.

Depending on the version of the flagging code, the system can be problematic if certain colors are said to indicate racial preferences/racial fetishization.

Lesbian Key Codes: Some lesbians will wear keychains hanging from their pockets to signal whether they are a top or bottom, placements correspond with the flagging system. Note: femmes (feminine lesbians who prefer other feminine lesbians) will sometimes use manicures to signal their sexual preferences by painting one of their fingers a different color.

Ace ring: A black ring worn on the middle finger of the right hand to show that someone is a part of the Asexual community. This shows someone’s identity along with solidarity for others in the community.

 

Resources: 

https://www.thesaintfoundation.org/community/hanky-code-bob-damrons-address-book

https://www.them.us/story/what-is-the-hanky-code-gay-flagging

https://www.queerevents.ca/queer-corner/blog/history/queers-community-flagging

https://www.asexuality.org/

https://stuffqueerpeopleneedtoknow.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/flagging-for-femmes-and-other-people-who-need-an-alternative-to-the-back-pocket/comment-page-1/

https://pinkuk.com/stayingin/hanky-codes/

https://www.kinkpositivedesign.com/2020/04/04/the-hanky-code/


Thank you to our intern Hannah C. for this Tuesday Terms post!

My name is Hannah (they/them), I’m a psychology major at the University of Vermont with an interest in how sexual expression engages with societal norms, specifically through existing power structures, such as gender and race.