Untucking the Queer History of the Colorful Hanky Code
First popularized in the '70s, the Hanky Code began as a sly way to showcase sexual preferences for a community still largely in the closet. The tradition helped bring people together during one of the darkest periods in our history, yet the Hanky Code's legacy has been largely forgotten by today's young
people who find sex with a tap and the share of their location.
"Connecting to my queer heritage is crucial," illustrator-activist Andy Simmonds of
. "It is a terrible tragedy that there is an entire generation of LGBT people wiped out from HIV/AIDS who are not around now to impart their wisdom or help bridge the generational gap. I think a lot of us are feeling that disconnect, and we are finding ways to access our history."
Scroll through Simmonds' 12-part illustration for a brief foray into the practice.