Today, August 13th, is International Left-Handers Day, and we here at LGBG would like to salute lefties all over the world.  We feel that focusing on left-handers is congruent with our belief that the most important component of sustainability involves the human factor and investment in people.  As such, spotlighting left-handers helps to raise awareness of the difficulties this group of people face in activities of daily living with the lack of adaptive product design for their use.  Additionally, the attention to the unique needs of lefties fosters greater consideration of the adaptive requirements of lefties by the right-handed majority population.

In the United States alone, there are 30 million lefties.[1]  However, lefties are a minority, and as such, they often find that so many products manufactured for everyday use are produced for right-handed people.  Just to name a few of these products[2]–

  • Bound notebooks, such as spiral ones.
  • Baseball gloves (very few are for lefties).
  • Scissors.
  • Ball point pens do not function well for lefties because they are pushing the nib.
  • Keyboard number pads.
  • Automobile cup holders.
  • College lecture hall desks.
  • Measuring cups (metric system faces the lefties).
  • Can openers.
  • Controls on game controllers.
  • Credit card machine signature pens.

The dark side of being left-handed

As with many minority issues, throughout history left-handedness has been associated with stigma and negativism.  Lefties have been criticized harshly for eating with their left hands.  Of course, when placed next to someone who is right-hand dominant, there is a lot of bumping elbows, but who is to say that the leftie is wrong.  Lefties also have had to endure horrible superstitions throughout history[3]:

  • It is bad luck to pass a drink or pour a drink with the left hand.
  • Serving a toast with the left hand places a curse on the person being toasted.
  • Left-handed people are associated with the devil, i.e., Joan of Arc, who was burned at the stake for being a witch, is depicted as being left-handed.
  • The wedding ring is worn on the left hand to ward off evil.

Famous lefties

Although lefties are a minority, their numbers include a fair share of famous people.  History’s most notable lefties include Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Napoleon Bonaparte, Leonardo Da Vinci, Marie Curie, Jimi Hendrix and Aristotle.[4]  Also, it is important to note that several presidents were left-handed, including Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and current president, Barack Obama.[5]  It also is with mentioning that any statistics on lefties, particularly during the 18th and 19th centuries, may be inaccurate as left-handedness was considered a disability, and parents and teachers went to great efforts to suppress it.

Barack Obama on phone with Benjamin Netanyahu 2009-06-08; Credit Peter Souza

Barack Obama on phone with Benjamin Netanyahu 2009-06-08; Credit Peter Souza










The Sports World and Lefties

While life can sometimes be difficult for many lefties, in the world of sports lefties are revered and bring something special to most games.  In baseball, left-handed pitchers have high value.  Some of the greatest pitchers in the game, who also were left-handed, included, Lefty Grove, Warren Spahn, Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax, Whitey Ford, Steve Carlton, Carl Hubbell and Tom Glavine.[6]  Today’s top left-handed aces include Clayton Kershaw, David Price, Chris Sale, Cliff Lee and C.C Sabathia.   The NFL also boasts some great left quarterbacks, namely Kenny Stabler, Steve Young, Mark Brunell, Boomer Esiason Michael Vick and Scott Mitchell.[7]













Lefties take a stand

Left-handed individuals do have a great support system through the Left-Handers Club.  This site includes valuable information on products for lefties, pages for parents and teachers, games, surveys, etc.  This is an excellent source for information and networking for lefties.

We here at LGBG are proud to celebrate International Left-Handers Day.  We feel that it is our diversity that makes our world such a great and exciting place.  It is our honor and duty to share information on the diverse attributes of people  because it teaches us to respect each other and to acknowledge all the gifts we give to the earth.  We all must fight for the sustainability for all people.  To do so is to live green, be green.


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