Q is for…

Q has long been my favorite letter. When I was learning to write, I loved Q for its circle and line and how you could dress it up by making the line wavy. The cursive uppercase Q with its double looped numeric shape was fun to write, even though it made no sense and seemed to have no connection to its printed counterpart. Lowercase q in print and script were both confusing, though. They twisted my head with their similarity to p and g.

When Judy Bloom’s Ramona books came out and the “Q cat” was introduced, I drew a lot of Q cats in the margins of my notebooks.

And then I married and got a Q in my very own name. Cool! I initial things “KMcQ” every time so that I can write the Q.

In June, Q takes on extra significance thanks to Pride month. The Q in LGBTQ+ has two meanings: Queer and Questioning.

When I was growing up – in that place, time, and community – it was for sure frowned on to be any of the letters in the acronym. I was a girl with a fiery temper and tomboy tendencies.

I started questioning in high school. I was harassed mercilessly by a girl called Joan after filling in some dumb survey she passed around around in chorus class. My answer to “Would you ever get kinky?” was apparently an admission of lesbianism. I am not sure why she hated me for that, but she did. And I started questioning my sexuality.

But I didn’t do much except explore the possibilities for a few years. None of them fit quite right and I just dropped the idea.

Finally, decades later thanks to increased awareness of all the different colors of flags and the groups they represent, I know I am definitely queer.

With so many groups (and they are not all represented above), how could anyone not be a little bit queer? Despite all those choices, I am not sure which flags suit me best. Genderqueer? Demigirl? Ace? I am still questioning.

So I have designed a new flag for myself and people like me who are trying to figure it out, or know they are queer but don’t fit solidly into any of the established groups. I know there are some existing Questioning designs with big question marks on them, but the designer in me feels they lack depth of meaning.

This design is packed with symbolism.

  • Purple represents mystery and creativity. Who am I and what can I do with this knowledge?
  • White is a clear space to explore & exist. No judgement; anything is possible.
  • There’s a Q, of course.
  • Also an abstract question mark, in case Q isn’t enough.
  • And an exclamation point for emphasis and pride. Here we are, even though we aren’t certain what our label is!
  • Abstract human figures symbolise our kindred spirits. Are they holding hands? Are they dancing?
  • There’s a six radial rotation because six is a perfect number.
  • Triangles have a double significance: mind-body-spirit; and past-present-future. (Also knowledge of trivia)
  • There’s a void in the center for all of the unknown.
  • And it’s a mandala, which adds all the meaning of cycles and continuation.

I give this design to the world; feel free to save the PNG and fly it on your social media. Maybe I’ll make some t-shirts. 🙂

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Mediatinker, Kristen McQuillin, is an American-born resident of Japan since 1998. This blog chronicles her life, projects, thoughts, and small adventures.