Why Lambda?

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Why Lambda?

In creating this program, it was important to have a name that acknowledged and embraced a community that gets marginalized in so many ways. Recognizing that using LGBTQA may exclude many individuals who do not consider themselves heterosexual, the lambda symbol was chosen because of its significance in the early gay liberation movement, as well as its historical meaning. 


Significance of the Lambda Symbol to the LGBTQA Community

The lambda symbol has held significant meaning throughout history, from ancient Greece, where it came to be the 11th letter in the lower-case Greek alphabet and symbolized balance; to Sparta, where it was worn as a logo on their shields and symbolized unity; to Rome, where it symbolized a torch. Today, scientists use the symbol to represent wavelength/kinetic potential. It is the combination of the historical and modern-day associations that led the leaders of the early ‘70s gay liberation movement to select lambda as its emblem.  And it is the symbol and its collective meanings of justice, equality, unity and light that continue to steer the way for the ongoing fight for equality for LGBTQA people.1

From an article titled The History and Significance of the Lambda:

  • As a symbol of freedom for gay people, the lambda has come to represent the "light of knowledge shed into the darkness of ignorance" and promises hope of a new future, with dignity for gay men and lesbians everywhere. Today, the lambda is recognized as a unique international symbol for gay rights, for sexual liberation and or justice and enlightenment, as well as a needed balance in acceptance of differences by and within all humanity.
  1. The History and Significance if the Lambda. (2005 LINQ Communications). Retrieved March 10, 2013.

Office Information

Lambda Bridges LGBTQA Program Office

Carter Hall G-16

Lambda Bridges Events

Cal Allies
LGBTQA ally program, formerly Safe Zone

Keeping Current 
Once-a-month discussion of current events that effect the LGBTQA community

Rainbow Alliance
Student gay-straight alliance

Out 'n Proud 
Student panels

Janis M. Zivic ’64 Scholarship


Why lambda?


Portrait of Kate Kendall.
Kate Kendall, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), talked about advancing the rights of all people, including members of the GLBTQA community, during the opening event for Lambda Bridges at Cal U.