What do Tom Cruise, Julius Caesar, Barack Obama, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Jack the Ripper have in common? They are left-handers, or southpaws.

History is filled with famous and notorious left-handed people, including Joan of Arc, Napoleon Bonaparte, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Babe Ruth, Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Phil Mickelson, the Boston Strangler, and Paul McCartney.

International Left-handers Day 2022 will be observed on Aug. 13 to celebrate the differences and distinctiveness of left-handed individuals.

Dean R. Campbell, the founder of Left-handers International, Inc., first celebrated this day in 1976. This worldwide holiday aims to create awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of left-handedness. 

Have you ever wondered what it is like to see the world from a “left-handed” point of view? In a world dominated by right-handers, International Left-handers Day brings attention to the daily struggles and challenges left-handers face. 

The truth is that the world is made for the right-handed. Why? Because only 9.2% of the world’s population, approximately 708 million people, are left-handed.

That low percentage has had some historic downsides for lefties. Manufacturers and companies have disregarded this minority group by continuously making items that are designed for use by right-handed people.

Those who are right-handed may not think much about the difficulties left-handed people face. But think about it: Most things are designed with right-handed people in mind, everything from school desks to a pair of scissors.

Many of us take simple things for granted, such as buttoning a shirt, wearing an oven mitt, ironing, or using a computer mouse, which can be tricky for left-handed people.

Why 1 in 10 people favors their left hand is a mystery. Theories include genetic factors predisposing a child to favor the right hand. A direct genetic link has not been proven, and two right-handed parents can have a left-handed child.

In 2019, scientists in the Netherlands conducted the most extensive study on the genetics of left-handedness. They found that a small number of genes played a role in the development of left-handedness.

More boys than girls are left-handed, suggesting to some researchers that the male hormone testosterone influences handedness. Another theory is modeling, since children learn to prefer their right or left hand by copying parents and others.

Many years ago, people thought that being left-handed was a curse. Many lefties were forced, against their natural inclination, to write with their right.

They’ve been discriminated against and looked at with suspicion, as evidenced in the language used to describe lefties. “Right” in English also means “correct.” The etymology of the word “sinister” traces back to the Latin word for “left.”

There is no definitive reason for being left-handed, but what is known is that it is neither a curse nor a burden.

Did you know that left-handers are often more successful at sports than right-handers? This fact especially applies to the interactive ball-and-combat sports. Left-handers often win because their actions are more surprising to their opponents. A recent study found that lefties excel in sports such as water polo, boxing, and fencing. 

If you have a family member or a friend who is a leftie, you will find appropriate gifts — like kitchen items, gardening tools, school items, and t-shirts — designed especially for southpaws at Lefty’s – The Left-Hand Store, based in San Francisco.

Left-handers certainly earned the right to have a day dedicated to them, and Aug. 13 is that day. So, if you are left-handed, grab your left-handed cup and make a toast to all left-handers everywhere.

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