Gay Tarot - VIII Justice


Even today gays can be victims of "justice" / LWB

Two men are in separated cages inside a prison, their arms try to reach each other but the corridor's width is bigger than their arms lenght.

Are they just trying to reach each other? or one of them is asking for help? and even more important... why are they tere?

There is a window so we can see the sunshine, why they can't enjoy it out there? the sunshine reflects the shadow of a Justice statue on the corridor, this is ironic because the statue is looking to the knows very well what is hapenning inside there.

I saw this card for the 1st time on the back of the LWB, it caused me a strange feeling, mix of fear to be victim of injustice actions caused by the hate and ignorance of "authorities" and a desire to help the guys in the cells.

It is true that many countries consider homosexuality as a crime, and because of that many people had suffered "justified" violence and lost their freedom, I think this card brings awareness on that matter.

In this deck Justice is VIII and Strength is XI


VIII Justice

When I first saw this card, I didn't know what to make of it. It seemed to portray a very one-sided, totally negative perspective on this card. I didn't know how to interpret it, so I compared it to the RWS Justice.

The figure on the RWS holds up the Sword of Truth; she's extending one foot, implying that she is willing to step up and do what's right, to protect justice, and is ready to act for a good cause. In Living the Tarot, Amber Jayanti says on the Justice card that, "Whatever group or individual does not respect the law, or enacts laws for a country that are not aimed for its greatest good, become responsible for the demise of its people and environment."

That, I decided, was the same message the Gay Justice was trying to get across; the imperative to do good and uphold justice in a world full of injustice. Someone needs to step into the scene and rip down the bars and cages, and allow Justice to step in.

So, if I may add a few more divinatory meanings:
"The need to right a wrong. Fighting for justice or equality. Supporting a good cause."


In general I take a dim view of decks which portray a card as the opposite of the card's traditional meaning. An example would be the Whimsical Tarot, which illustrates Temperance with Jack and Jill tumbling down the hill.

In this case, however, I felt that the opportunity for social and political commentary outweighed my usual feelings. Also, using this image allowed me to still include the traditional symbol (seated Justice with sword and scales), yet make it relevant to the gay experience. It's true that the card shows Justice in a negative light, but on the other hand, the traditional card itself I don't see as particularly positive. I would call it neutral, with the potential for both great good and great harm. In the Gay Tarot, I leaned toward the great harm, since I felt it expressed something important about being gay, i.e. the restrictions put on us by the dominant majority.

I've found in my experience that some straight people (not all, by any means), even if they're sympathetic to gay people, have difficulty fully comprehending the emotional impact of being a member of a persecuted minority. Their attitude seems to be, "what's the big deal?" So I guess that's what I was trying to get across in this card, the emotional impact. Especially considering the fact that since this deck was designed, in the U.S., 11 states have passed bans on gay marriage, and eight of those states also banned civil unions or any legal recognition whatsoever of gay relationships. Clang!

-- Lee

P.S. I like horoskope88's desire to see this card as a positive call for action. That's probably the best way to see the card, in the final analysis.


I had an emotional reaction to this card as well...

I felt it resonated quite well with the "gay experience".

Along with the meanings already mentioned, my feeling of the card was this:

The Justice in this card is that the gay man (or woman) would risk persecution, rather than deny his soul. The Justice is, that they've remained true to who they are, no matter what the consequence. Their love won't be denied.

I can't quite explain it, but that's about the gist of my interpretation of the card.

:) and someday I will have the deck! lol ;)


VisionQuest said:
The Justice in this card is that the gay man (or woman) would risk persecution, rather than deny his soul. The Justice is, that they've remained true to who they are, no matter what the consequence. Their love won't be denied.
This is another valuable positive interpretation of this card, one which I'll keep in mind.

-- Lee


powerful and evocative

My first viewing of this card stopped me cold.

It also transcended the concept of prison bars.

Mario and I had a ten year monogamous relationship. About 5 months before our 10th anniversary, he passed out and ended up in a hospital, blood spurting into his stomach from a rupture diagnosed as the effect of his failing liver backing the blood return up to the weakest spot. He ended up in a five-week medically-induced coma, bleeding internally the whole time until he would stablize, and a shunt could be put in. He woke up five weeks after the incident and basically was dumped by the hospital because he had no insurance, and they dumped him on me to take care of. He was home less than a week, had to be readmitted, and died swiftly. As a gay couple, I could not get him on my insurance, but I did go to court to pay to become conservator to his estate so that I could make his medical decisions - and not his family.

So, only men and women can be recognized as 'married'? States are passing laws banning civil unions?

Yes, this may be a 'negative' concept for justice, but it is how many gays see the society around them.


I had this card in my mind the whole weekend... one of my dearest friend's boyfriend is in jail for unfair circumstances it happened the last weekend, needless to say my friend is devastated because there are few things he can do to help as his boyfriend's family only recognizes him as "a friend" who is trying to help because of good will.

If things go well this guy will go out of jail within days according to the current situation and confirmation of exhibits... my friend asked me to read for him the Sunday but I'm still in shock with this situation so I neglected his request, we both are afraid of what might happen to his boyfriend inside the jail, sorry if I my comments are considered off topic but I had to share this.



hope it worked out in the end, all those years ago Flavio :)

I decided to get into my Gay Tarot deck again recently and this card came up for me. Like so many here, I had an emotional reaction to the card. Mine was shock, why is it so one sidedly negative? Like horoskope88 posted about but I wanted to think about this card and work through it because I think it is a card you have to work through.

I am quite a advocate of social justice and human rights and campaign in that area but sometimes I can be naive and not see all the sides. Justice is not the blindfolded and fairly balanced statue that we see outside many courts and in other tarot cards, sometimes justice is just unfair or leaves the LGBT community out. In this card we see the Justice statue at the end of the corridor, she is behind bars with the sun shining behind her. The couple (if they are a couple) are separated in cells on either side of the corridor, reaching out their arms but not quite touching. The sun's rays slightly stream on to them and on the floor is the shadow of Justice. I would read this as LGBT justice is often partial (like some of the Sun (success) shining on to them) or they are left in the shadow of Justice sadly.

My country used to have homosexuality as an illegal crime which was overturned at the end of the 60's. It was an awful time and I am luckily enough to know some older LGBT folk who will share their stories from those times and even one man who was convicted. In my childhood it was illegal to educate the "promotion of homosexuality" in schools and universities, so we could not learn any gay sex education or history in schools. It was just an untalked about subject. This law was only overturned in 2003! Just after that we got Civil Unions as a way that they didn't have to deal with the gay marriage issue and religion. Just recently we finally got full gay marriage, the same as straight people. We have made so much progress, especially in the last 20 years and yet it's easy to be in the shadow of justice and locked out of fairness and equality still.

We have LGBT representation in the police, military and government and they proudly show this off at Gay Prides across the UK. It is fashionable to be visually supporting and linked to the LGBT community here now. Many businesses really want to get their brands associated with us, and yet some have horrible histories with the LGBT community and with funding dictators and corrupt governments across the world. The police here are trained in hate crimes to be as helpful as possible and I have helped 2 friends who had hate crimes committed against them but they didn't get justice. They can record the hate crime and be really sympathetic and helpful and understanding but most hate crimes don't have hard evidence or the victim willing to go through it all. Sometimes the police are not helpful at all still. LGBT and LGBT couples have trouble with institutions even though legally here they cannot treat us any different to straight people or refuse us service. For example, as a feminine gay man, security checks on the phone always cause a huge problem. My credit card company once thought I was not me and cut me off and blocked my card! It was very upsetting and they should have asked security questions rather than base it on my characteristics. I wrote to complain and they were just like deal with it. Another friend of mine phoned his bank to get a joint account with his boyfriend which is allowed, as we are treated the same as straight couples legally. But the operator read out from the script about setting it up and said "you and your girlfriend, need to send these details" and they both laughed that the script needed to be updated but it happened. It's like we have much so much progress and yet we are not the same as straight people yet.

In Uganda, homosexuality is still very much illegal and the lgbt community seemed to be growing in voice. They really want a pride to celebrate themselves but each year they are not allowed it. So this year they had a private fashion show which was a party with LGBT people and straight people, men and women and they had a catwalk. Men and Women showed off clothes on it, with some men in drag and some trans people allowed to dress as their desired sex. It was behind closed doors but someone tipped off the police who arrived with their batons hitting people. The people inside were so brave and amazing, they recorded the whole thing on twitter, tweeting from their personal accounts with their names and faces on their profiles. There was photos and their first hand accounts. People quickly tried to get changed from their clothes (especially people in drag etc) and some of the main organisers were arrested and carted off. The world's media followed their tweets though and published them and the next day the arrested people arrived back, with no charges and not beaten too badly. The media and lgbt community of the world were watching this and they could not disappear the people or beat them too badly. But I shed a tear at the fact they posted these tweets of their stories with their real names and photos of themselves! So brave!

I think this reflects this card. How do you cope with being in the shadow of justice? I think this card should almost be called "injustice". But it's not enitrely one sided negative like I thought, this card is a wake up call that at any time we might not be treated fairly or the same as straight people! Even if there is legal protections or from organisations which now align themselves with the lgbt community. It doesn't reflect the reality of our lives, there is a lot of "pinkwashing" going on to look good but not always act good.

This card asks how we can deal with injustice and react to it and there is many LGBT people in jail cells around the world with people pressuring governments to be fair and just to them. For example Chelsea Manning is in a military prison in America. She wanted to change her sex but the military would not allow this and external pressure has helped her get her wish. Every so often she disappears and people can't contact her and there is a huge international fuss until contact is made again. This happens to other people across the world. The answer in this card is that the people cannot touch each other across the corridor but they can support each other as they are in the same position. We can support people even though we cannot touch them, we can embarrass and exert pressure by working together a as community. It historically works very well! Even though we are still in the shadow of justice we can take action and have options.

This card shocked me because it challenges my view about Justice frankly but it's something to be mindful about, this is a reality check. Things can still be unfair for us :(


Hi daniel,

That was a beautiful post. When the deck was created, the legal picture was much different than now, both in the UK and in the US. But still, as you say, we are not quite there yet.
We have made so much progress, especially in the last 20 years and yet it's easy to be in the shadow of justice and locked out of fairness and equality still.
This is so true. Any time someone is made to feel less than equal, an injustice has been committed. At the same time we have to keep perspective and remember the horrible things happening around the world such as you mention, so you and I in our respective countries are relatively fortunate.

In the years since the deck was published, I have often thought about whether I should have put such challenging cards in a deck that was meant to make people feel better about themselves, not worse. Sometimes I find myself working with decks that have cards that annoy me because they are challenging. For example, I'm now studying the Playing Card Oracles by Ana Cortez, and when I got to the 9 of Hearts, who is pictured as Gilles de Rais, for the first time I actually took the time to look up Gilles de Rais in Wikipedia -- and then wished I hadn't. Now I will have to think about his horrible story every time that card comes up.

And yet -- the Gay Tarot wouldn't have been the same deck without the challenging cards. Do they make the deck better or worse? Not sure... better, I hope. I wish I could do something more concrete to make people's lives better who are suffering over this issue.