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The leather pride flag is a symbol used by the leather subculture since the 1990s. It was designed by Tony DeBlase,and was quickly embraced by the gay leather community. It has since become associated with leather in general and also with related groups such as the BDSM community.
The flag was designed by Tony DeBlase.He first presented the design at International Mister Leather on May 28, 1989.
Initial reaction to the flag was mixed. According to DeBlase's article A Leather Pride Flag,
Some, particularly on the east coast, reacted positively to the concept, but were quite concerned, some even offended, that I had not involved the community in helping to create the design.
In June 1989 the flag was used by the leather contingent in a Portland, Oregon pride parade, which was its first appearance at a pride parade.
On September 18, 1990, Clive Platman (Mr. Australia Drummer ) presented Tony DeBlase with an Australian version of the flag, incorporating the southern cross, which is from the Australian national flag, with the original design of the leather pride flag.
On October 11, 1991, at the opening ceremonies of Living in Leather, a Canadian version of the leather pride flag was presented, which added to the original flag's design a row of red maple leaves running horizontally through the white stripe.
Also in 1991, Melbourne Leather Men became the first club to incorporate the design elements of the leather pride flag into their club colors.
On December 12, 2000, NLA Florida presented a suggested pledge of allegiance to the leather pride flag at its holiday party in Fort Lauderdale, which reads, “I pledge allegiance to the Leather Pride flag, and the union of Leather people for which it stands, with safety, sanity and consent for all.”
For the 24th annual Folsom Street Fair, held September 30, 2007, the official poster artwork was a controversial photo featuring well-known LGBT and BDSM community members in festive and fetish attire including Sister Roma "as players in an innovative version of the culturally iconographic" The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, complete with table draped with the leather pride flag and "cluttered with sex toys, whips, and various (BDSM) restraints".The image by FredAlert was used on the official event guide and produced as collector's posters that were displayed throughout the city as advertising for the event.
In 2010 the leather pride flag's creator Tony DeBlase was inducted into the Leather Hall of Fame.
Leather & Grace, a former organization of Unitarian Universalists who identified with the BDSM/kink community, was founded in 2011 by Desmond Ravenstone.Their logo combined a red flaming chalice with the stripes of the leather pride flag.
The San Francisco South of Market Leather History Alley consists of four works of art along Ringold Alley honoring leather culture; it opened in 2017.The four works of art are: engraved standing stones that honor community leather institutions including the Folsom Street Fair and leather pride flag pavement markings through which the stones emerge, a black granite stone etched with a narrative by Gayle Rubin, an image of the "Leather David" statue by Mike Caffee, and with a reproduction of Chuck Arnett’s 1962 mural that was in the Tool Box (a gay leather bar), and metal bootprints along the curb which honor 28 people who were an important part of the leather communities of San Francisco.
One of three original leather pride flags which the flag's creator Tony DeBlase assembled as a prototype was donated to the Leather Archives and Museum.The Leather Archives and Museum also holds the papers of DeBlase.
Creator DeBlase gave this explanation of the design:
The flag is composed of nine horizontal stripes of equal width. From the top and from the bottom, the stripes alternate black and royal blue. The central stripe is white. In the upper left quadrant of the flag is a large red heart. I will leave it to the viewer to interpret the colors and symbols.
Although the flag is common in the gay leather community, it is not an exclusively gay symbol and represents the entire leather community.
Furthermore, while designed as a symbol for the leather subculture, it is also widely used within the entire BDSM (bondage & discipline, dominance and submission, sadomasochism) subculture.
Although Tony DeBlase is quoted as saying the design of the leather pride flag, which he created, is copyrighted in the U.S. (as well as all countries where the Berne Convention standards apply), copyright is automatic, and need not be obtained through official registration with any government office. Once an idea has been produced as a tangible form, for example by securing it in a fixed medium (such as a drawing, sheet music, photograph, a videotape, or a computer file), the copyright holder is entitled to enforce their exclusive rights.
Nevertheless, variations on the original leather pride flag have been created. On September 18, 1990, Clive Platman (Mr. Australia Drummer ) presented the original leather pride flag's creator DeBlase with an Australian version of the flag, incorporating the southern cross, which is from the Australian national flag, with the original design of the leather pride flag.On October 11, 1991, at the opening ceremonies of Living in Leather, a Canadian version of the leather pride flag was presented, which added to the original flag's design a row of red maple leaves running horizontally through the white stripe.
Leather & Grace, a (now defunct) organization of Unitarian Universalist kinksters, founded in 2011, combined a red flaming chalice with the stripes of the leather pride flag for their logo.
The BDSM rights flag, designed by Tanos, a Master from the United Kingdom, is partially loosely based on the design of the leather pride flag and also includes a version of the BDSM Emblem (but not similar enough to fall within Quagmyr's specific copyright claims for the Emblem). The BDSM rights flag is intended to represent the belief that people whose sexuality or relationship preferences include BDSM practices deserve the same human rights as everyone else, and should not be discriminated against for pursuing BDSM with consenting adults.
In gay culture, a bear is a larger and often hairier man who projects an image of rugged masculinity. However, in San Francisco during the 1970s, any hairy man of whatever shape was referred to as a 'bear' until the term was appropriated by larger men, and other words had to be used to describe hairy other-shaped men such as otter (slim), cub, or wolf. The word manatee describes a big, hairless man, i.e., a bear without hair.
The leather subculture denotes practices and styles of dress organized around sexual activities that involve leather garments, such as leather jackets, vests, boots, chaps, harnesses, or other items. Wearing leather garments is one way that participants in this culture self-consciously distinguish themselves from mainstream sexual cultures. Many participants associate leather culture with BDSM practices and its many subcultures. For some, black leather clothing is an erotic fashion that expresses heightened masculinity or the appropriation of sexual power; love of motorcycles, motorcycle clubs and independence; and/or engagement in sexual kink or leather fetishism.
Folsom Street Fair (FSF) is an annual BDSM and leather subculture street fair, held in September, that caps San Francisco's "Leather Pride Week". The Folsom Street Fair, sometimes simply referred to as "Folsom", takes place on Folsom Street between 8th and 13th Streets, in San Francisco's South of Market district.
The Society of Janus is the second BDSM organization founded in the United States and is a San Francisco, California based BDSM education and support group. It was founded in August 1974 by Cynthia Slater and Larry Olsen. According to the Leather Hall of Fame biography of Slater, she said of the Society of Janus,
Gayle S. Rubin is an American cultural anthropologist best known as an activist and theorist of sex and gender politics. She has written on a range of subjects including feminism, sadomasochism, prostitution, pedophilia, pornography and lesbian literature, as well as anthropological studies and histories of sexual subcultures, especially focused in urban contexts. Her 1984 essay "Thinking Sex" is widely regarded as a founding text of gay and lesbian studies, sexuality studies, and queer theory. She is an associate professor of anthropology and women's studies at the University of Michigan.
The Leather Archives & Museum, located in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, United States, was founded by Chuck Renslow and Tony DeBlase in 1991, “as a community archives, library, and museum of Leather, kink, fetish, and BDSM history and culture.” Its mission statement reads, “Making leather, kink, BDSM, and fetish accessible through research, preservation, education and community engagement.” It is a 501(c)(3) organization.
The San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Celebration, usually known as San Francisco Pride, is a parade and festival held at the end of June each year in San Francisco, California, to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their allies. The 49th annual parade in 2019 included 289 parade contingents, and is described on the official website as "the largest gathering of LGBT people and allies in the nation".
A pride flag is any flag that represents a segment or part of the LGBT community. Pride in this case refers to the notion of gay pride. The rainbow flag is the most widely used LGBT flag and LGBT symbol in general. There are derivations of the rainbow flag that are used to focus attention on specific similar-interest groups within the community. There are also some pride flags that are not exclusively related to LGBT matters, such as the polyamory flag. The terms LGBT flags and queer flags are often used interchangeably.
The Up Your Alley Fair, most commonly referred to by locals as Dore Alley Fair or simply Dore Alley is a leather and fetish event held in San Francisco, California on the last Sunday of July on Folsom Street between 9th and 10th Streets and on Dore Street from Howard Street to half a block southeast of Folsom Street. The streets are lined with vendors' booths, and a sound stage is located at the 10th Street end of Folsom Street.
Charles "Chuck" Arnett was an American artist and dancer. His best known work is the Tool Box mural (1962).
Folsom Europe is an annual BDSM and leather subculture street fair held in September in Berlin, Germany. Folsom Europe was established in 2003 in order to bring the non-profit leather festival concept pioneered by the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco to Europe. Today this is the biggest gay fetish event in Europe together with BLF's "Easter in Berlin" which is held every Easter in Berlin. BLF is the gay leather organisation in Berlin. BLF stands for Berlin Leder und Fetisch e.V. The main area for the two fetish festivals is in Schöneberg. The Folsom Europe street festival is at Fuggerstrasse and Welserstrasse, close to Wittenbergplatz.
This is an index of BDSM articles. BDSM is a variety of erotic practices involving dominance and submission, role-playing, restraint, and other interpersonal dynamics. Given the wide range of practices, some of which may be engaged in by people who do not consider themselves as practicing BDSM, inclusion in the BDSM community or subculture is usually dependent on self-identification and shared experience. Interest in BDSM can range from one-time experimentation to a lifestyle.
Drummer is an American magazine which focuses on "leathersex, leatherwear, leather and rubber gear, S&M, bondage and discipline, erotic styles and techniques." The magazine was launched in 1975 and ceased publication in April 1999 with issue 214, but was relaunched 20 years later by new publisher Jack MacCullum with editor Mike Miksche.
Folsom Street is a street in San Francisco which begins perpendicular to Alemany Boulevard in San Francisco's Bernal Heights district and ends perpendicular to the Embarcadero on the San Francisco Bay. For its southern half, Folsom Street runs north-south, but it turns northeasterly at 13th street. It runs through San Francisco's Bernal Heights district, Mission District, SoMa District, Yerba Buena District, and South Beach district.
The Catacombs was a gay and lesbian S/M leather fisting club in the South of Market area of San Francisco, which operated from 1975 to 1981, and reopened at another location from 1982 to 1984. It was the most famous fisting club in the world. The founder and owner was Steve McEachern. The location was semi-secret and admission was by referral only. It was originally a gay men's club, and Cynthia Slater persuaded the management to open up to lesbians. Among the patrons was Patrick Califia, known then as Pat Califia. The Catacombs has been exhaustively described by sexual anthropologist Gayle Rubin, who calls it "exemplary" in its attempts to deal with the AIDS crisis which would eventually lead to its closure. Patrick Moore devotes a chapter to it in his Beyond Shame: Reclaiming the Abandoned History of Radical Gay Sexuality. Sex educator Carol Queen called it "the place to be seen and to play at during the 1980s."
Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness (UUPA) is an independent organization of Unitarian Universalists seeking to promote greater understanding and acceptance of polyamory within the Unitarian Universalist Association and its member congregations.
The Stud is a queer bar located in South of Market, San Francisco. It was started by associates George Matson and Alexis Muir on May 27, 1966. According to George Matson it was a "bar for people, not just pretty bodies". Originally the Stud was located at 1535 Folsom Street; in 1987 it moved to its current location at Ninth and Harrison Streets. The Stud is known for its themed parties, drag and burlesque shows, and community events. It was also home of the famous Trannyshack, a weekly drag show that featured all different types of drag and drag stars from 1996 until 2008.
The San Francisco South of Market Leather History Alley consists of four works of art along the Ringold Street alley in San Francisco's SOMA district honoring leather culture; it opened in 2017.
San Francisco Eagle is a gay bar in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood, in the U.S. state of California. The bar caters to the bear community and the leather subculture. Lex Montiel is one of the bar's owners, as of 2018.
Tony DeBlase also known as Anthony DeBlase, was part of the BDSM and leather subcultures. He was the designer of the leather pride flag.