Leather Pride Flag

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The Leather Pride Flag is a symbol for the BDSM subculture.

The flag was designed by Tony DeBlase, and he first presented the design at the International Mister Leather contest in Chicago, Illinois, USA on May 28 1989. The original prototype flag is now on display at the Leather Archives and Museum in Chicago.

The flag is a variation on the United States flag, with red and white stripes replaced by black and blue, and the field of stars in the top left hand corner replaced by a red heart: 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.

DeBlase offered no specific meanings for the components of the flag (although "black and blue" has an obvious interpretation): I will leave it to the viewer to interpret the colors and symbols.

However, the flag's copyright is owned by a commercial operation ("Desmodus Inc.") and according to DeBlase anyone wishing to use it for purely commercial purposes must receive our written approval. However, we welcome members of the Leather/SM community to use the design for flags, banners, pins, T-shirts, printed material, etc. to be distributed free or sold at cost, or to be used for fund raising for not-for-profit causes that benefit leather men and women.

Since 1989, the flag has become very widely used in the Gay Leather community, and many Leather shops and bars fly it outside their premises, use it on their literature or even sell mugs and T-shirts displaying it (it's not clear how many of these have sought permission from the copyright owner.)

However, the flag has achieved very little prominence, or even recognition, among the wider "pansexual" (ie largely straight and bi) BDSM communities.

The BDSM Emblem - a triskelion - is another symbol which has been adopted as an emblem by some BDSM groups, and together they form the composite BDSM Rights Flag which is free of copying restrictions.

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