Wonder what it’s like to see the world from a “left-handed” point of view? On International Lefthanders Day, August 13, you get to explore that world for a day. Did you know Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were all left-handed? Rock out with Paul McCartney or Jimi Hendrix, the world’s greatest left-handed guitarist. (Stevie Ray Vaughan, born right-handed, learned to play a left-handed guitar like his hero, Hendrix). There’s also Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts and Lady Gaga, left-handers all. In baseball, there were the legendary “southpaws, Babe Ruth and Sandy Koufax.
International Lefthanders Day celebrates the differences and distinctiveness of left handed individuals. This day was first celebrated by Dean R. Campbell, founder of the Lefthanders International, Inc in 1976. So, if you’re left-handed, grab your left-handed cup and make a toast to all left-handers, everywhere!
When is Lefthanders Day 2024?
Left-hand dexterity is celebrated on International Lefthanders Day on August 13.
History of Lefthanders Day
In a world dominated by right-handers, Lefthanders Day on August 13 celebrates lefties and raises awareness on the issues faced by left-handers in their daily lives. The day was first observed by the founder of Lefthanders International, Inc. — Dean R. Campbell, in 1976. and has been celebrated every year since. From the 1600s, when left-handed people were thought of as being in cahoots with the devil, to the present day, they continue to face difficulties and challenges in accomplishing tasks.
The Left-Handers Club was founded in 1990 with the mission statement to keep members up to date with developments and to serve as a bridge between the views of left-handers and manufacturers. The club also provides help and assistance to those who require it, and they continuously conduct research on left-handedness and new items that can offer lefties increased ease of use. The number of members has been increasing with participants from all over the world since the club’s formation. As of now, the club is highly regarded and revered as a pressure group representing all left-handers.
Continuing the tradition created by Campbell, the Left-Handers Club launched International Lefthanders Day as a part of their organization on August 13, 1992. The aim was to create awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of left-handedness. The holiday is now celebrated worldwide, with 20 regional events taking place in the U.K. alone to commemorate the day, including sports matches and parties. Some of the greatest people in history were/are left-handed, like Mother Teresa, Barack Obama, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Charlie Chaplin, Mark Zuckerberg, and Albert Einstein, to name a few.
Lefthanders Day timeline
Bill Gates is born, who goes on to become the world’s richest left-handed person.
Lefthanders International designates August 13 as International Lefthanders Day.
The Left-Handers Club is underway to "increase public awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed."
Newly-inaugurated President Barack Obama signs three documents, quipping "I'm a lefty. Get used to it."
Traditions of the Day
Right-handers also take part in the day’s celebrations, just as much as left-handed people, and try their best to cater to the requirements of lefties. It’s the little things like purchasing scissors and kitchen items that are easier for lefties to use and making adjustments to handles and knobs that make life easier and increases convenience for left-handers.
Left-handers explain their needs and the difficulties they face to peers and educate them on the importance of creating items that serve them better. There are even some left-handed children who are bullied, so people are encouraged to recognize that being a leftie is a normal and natural occurrence.
By The Numbers
12% – the percentage of the world that is left-handed.
1860 – the year when left-handed people were essentially seen as being in a league with the devil.
0.5% – the percentage of guitarists who play left-handed.
11 times – the higher likelihood for left-handers to suffer from allergies.
94% – the percentage of left-handers with bilateral limb movements.
4–5 months – the time it takes for left-handers to reach puberty later than their peers.
23% – the percentage of more men than women who are left-handed.
70% – the percentage of left-handed people who have left-brain dominance when it comes to language control.
40% – the percentage of the current top tennis players who are lefties.
Lefthanders Day FAQs
Why is it so rare to be left-handed?
It all comes down to natural selection, as left-handedness is a heritable trait.
Do left-handers have a higher IQ?
The bulk of the studies included in the systematic review reported no differences in IQ scores between left- and right-handers.
Do left-handers die sooner?
A study featuring a sample of 2,000 cases found that the average age of death of left-handers was about nine years younger than that of right-handers.
Lefthanders Day Activities
Be more social
Spread the word about this special lefty day. Or, connect with any of the many left-handers social groups on your favorite social media sites. Leftys are everywhere!
Educate a right-hander
If you're left-handed, walk a right-handed person through a typical activity to make them aware of some of the difficulties faced by left-handed people.
Throw a party!
Invite all your left-handed friends over and share some stories about what it was like for them to grow up in a world made for righties.
5 Lefty Facts To Make Righties Go, "Hmmm"
They're the best hitters in baseball
As listed on the Baseball Reference website, 14 of the top 20 highest career batting averages in Major League Baseball belong to left-handed hitters.
Lefties and schizophrenia
A study published by Yale researchers in 2013 claimed that people with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia are more likely to be left-handed than those with depression.
The notion of left-handedness as wrong is embedded in our language
For example, the adjective "sinister" comes from the Latin "sinestra" or "left hand."
They're restless sleepers
Left-handed people may experience so-called periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), meaning they may kick their arms and legs while asleep.
We all use the same hemispheres.
According to neuroscientists, about 98 percent of right-handers are left-brained — but so are about 70 percent of left-handers!
Why We Love Lefthanders Day
It wasn't always cool to be left-handed
Educators and physicians used to advocate "retraining" left-handed children to use their right hands. Some of the methods they used in these "retraining" methods were cruel, such as tying children's left hands down so they couldn't move them.
Being a lefty can be inconvenient
Those of us who are right-handed may not think much about the difficulties faced by left-handed people. But think about it: most things are designed with right-handed people in mind, everything from school desks to a pair of scissors.
There are fewer lefties than righties in the world
Estimates vary, but it's generally accepted that between 7 percent and 10 percent of people are naturally left-handed. That's about 760 million people – enough for one heck of a party!
Lefthanders Day dates