What Was The ‘Hanky Code’ in the LGBT Community?

The hanky code is a system of communication that uses the color of a bandana. This communication system uses different colored bandanas to communicate with each other. “hankies,”For decades, has been part of the gay community. It signals sexual preferences and/or fetishes. 

How Bandanas Were Used To Find Partners

Handkerchiefs were used to hide the fact that gay men couldn’t openly talk about their sexual lives. Users could communicate what sexual activities they were interested in by the color of their hanky or the pocket in which it was placed. 

Wearing colored bandanas has been a part of men’s wardrobes since the mid-nineteenth century, primarily used by cowboys, railroad workers, and miners. The bandanas were incorporated into the gay community of San Francisco following the Gold Rush. Because there were not enough women in the area, men began to dance with each other at square dances. A blue-colored man would lead the male part of the dance while a red-colored one would dance the female portion. 

Where did it originate?

The modern hanky-code It is believed that the first time this happened was in 2004.New York City, circa 1970. Journalist for the Village VoiceIt was joked that colored handkerchiefs were more efficient than wearing keys on one or both sides (an underground code used at the time to indicate sexual preference). 

Other sources credit The Trading Post, a department store that sold erotica, with the code to marketing. It was created in 1971. The store printed cards with the different meanings of each colored bandana and promoted colored bandanas. 

Alan Selby is the founder of Mr. S Leather San Francisco. He claims he invented the first hanky-codeLeather is a great place to partner with your business partners ‘n’Things in 1972. The store’s supplier accidentally doubled their order of colored bandanas and Selby and his partners concocted the code in an effort to get rid of the excess stock. 

There is no standard code for color meanings. While some lists only allow for a few colors to be considered a sexual fetish, others have more information and are longer. 

Although the hanky code was once popular for finding potential sexual partners, it has been rendered obsolete by the internet and more accepting society. The internet makes it easier to find someone sexually compatible. It also eliminates harassment and violence faced by gay men. In honor of the hanky codes, many people still wear and carry colored hand hankies.

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