International Lefthanders Day

International Lefthanders Day was first celebrated on Friday, August 13, 1976 in Topeka, Kansas by an organization called Lefthanders International.  They specifically chose that day to help address the myths and superstitions about lefthandedness and lefthanded people.  They published Lefthander Magazine six times per year and sold lefthanded products through a mail order catalog in their magazine.  They made their claim as the leader of the lefthanders “equal rights” movement for nearly twenty years before eventually going out business.

Lefthanders International is not the only business that has ever promoted and celebrated this holiday.  Most of the businesses that have ever provided products and information for lefthanded people observed the holiday and tried to use International Lefthanders Day to get free publicity from their local media.  Some of these businesses have even falsely claimed to have founded International Lefthanders Day, instead of acknowledging the real founders and the history of the holiday, 

Since International Lefthanders Day is not a government holiday and not a “Hallmark” holiday, it does not appear on many calendars and very few people even know about it.  It does get some news media attention every year, but not as much as the issues affecting left-handed people might warrant.  One reason that more people have never heard about International Lefthanders Day is that August is a vacation month, when schools are not in session and many people are out of town.   Perhaps if Lefthanders International had started their business in October or March, or any month that schools were in session, the holiday would have received more recognition.

Another reason that more people don't celebrate International Lefthanders Day is that the people promoting it have not been very good spokespersons for the holiday and it’s intent and purpose.  Rather than rational comments about important issues affecting lefthanded people, there have been a lot of silly comments and outrageous demands.  Some of the statements may have even offended or frightened righthanders with their claims of “lefthanded superiority” or by calling for an “equal rights movement” and a “lefthanders revolution”.

How do lefthanded people celebrate International Lefthanders Day? 

For some lefthanded people, International Lefthanders Day is a very special day where they can show their pride and pay tribute to all of our famous lefthanded artists, athletes, entertainers, politicians and scientists, past and present.  It is also a day to praise the creativity and talents of other lefthanded people who are less famous but equally productive members of our society. 

For other lefthanded people, International Lefthanders Day is a day of sadness, a day to remember the past prejudice against lefthanded people which has forced so many of them to become righthanded against their will.  It is also a day to realize that a strong bias against lefthanders still exists in many parts of the world, and many lefthanders still face resistance to their natural hand preference. 

There are no parades or festivals or gatherings of any kind scheduled for International Lefthanders Day, but that doesn't mean that lefthanders can't celebrate among friends and family.  It would be a good time for a lefthander to support those businesses that sell lefthanded products by purchasing a gift for themselves for or for one of their lefthanded friends.  It would also be a great day for a lefthander to practice and old skill or learn a new one.  Throw a ball, swing a racquet, be creative, be artistic, and have a good time (but don't get hurt). 

How can righthanded people observe International Lefthanders Day?  

They can observe by using their left hand for all or part of the day, and by showing respect for their lefthanded friends, relatives and coworkers.  Righthanders should not fear this special day for lefthanders.  It is just a day for a little bit of extra attention and concern for those who are drastically outnumbered, and sometimes disadvantaged, in a predominantly righthanded world.

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