Monday, 25 February 2013

Flags Out Again for Mr Leather

Last week I was asked by a reader of my “Flagging Up Mr Leather” post what the other Leather Pride flags in the little montage (above) at the end represented. It’s a while since I’ve written about flags, so it gives me a good excuse to write some more!

Before going on to the various Leather Pride flags I should give my personal criteria for what I consider to be a valid community flag. I’ve taken about 5 years to research as many lgbt flags as I can find. There are a lot of flag designs given online, sometimes by individual bloggers or web designers who just want to show their own ideas. For me, to have a flag included in my file as an “official” lgbt community flag the design has to be acknowledged or widely accepted by more than just the visitors to one blog. Think of it like new words and how some are accepted into dictionaries and others not, no matter how often you say them. Occasionally a flag proposal enters my list. This is because it may form part of a “contest” to choose one design from several.

But, first and foremost, it all comes down to one obvious criterium – a flag is a flag. If I see an actual flag being waved or sold, or read about it appearing at a specific event, it enters my files automatically. It doesn’t matter if it is only one person who has the flag (probably specially made for the event by the person concerned), but it is seen in public on open display and represents a specific part of the community. That is how several community Pride flags have originated. The Leather Pride flag itself had such an origin – a one-off flag designed for a specific event that became accepted immediately by the community.

Now that I’ve got that explained, on to the Leather flags. All of these have met the criteria I have just given. Some have been more difficult to research than others, and I would welcome information on any of them if you know anything.

I gave a history of the Leather Pride flag in “Flagging Up Mr Leather”, so it needn’t be repeated here. So here are short descriptions of all those in the montage at the end of that post and reproduced above.

They are, from top to bottom, left to right:

BDSM – This Bondage, Discipline and Sado-Masochism Pride flag first appeared in 1997. The central emblem was designed in 1995 by a website owner called “Quagmyr”.

Skinhead Pride – Not part of the leather community as such, but it is based on the Leather Pride flag. It was designed to commemorate the FENIX Global Skin Movement’s 10th anniversary in 2006. The only names I have for the designers are “Shadowskin” and “SkinDavid”.

Leather Girl – The blue of Leather Pride is substituted with pink to represent female leather-lovers. Designed by Sheryl Dee for the Ms San Diego Leather Contest in November 2003.

Bootblack Pride – For that part of the leather community who get a kick (if you’ll pardon the pun) out of shining leather boots worn by others. This was designed by Jesse Penley and introduced on 6 October 2005 at the International Leather Sir and Leatherboy Weekend.

Leather Boi – The blue of Leather Pride is substituted with green to symbolise  the young, fresh, leather lovers of the younger age group. This was designed by Keith Polannen and made its first appearance at the Mid-Atlantic Leather contest of 1998.

Slave pride – Some members of the BDSM community enjoy acting as slaves to masters. This is their flag. It’s origin and designed have not been identified.

Switch Pride – Some members of the leather and BDSM communities enjoy taking both dominant and passive roles, switching from one to the other. This is represented by the 2 arrows. I can find no reference to it before 2009.

Boot Pride – More for those with a boot fetish rather than the boot-shiners above. It’s designer is unknown, but it originates before 2009.

Dog/Puppy Pride – Role-play is big part of some communities, and most seem to adapt the Leather Pride flag. This is for those who role-play as dogs (one of the fetish stereotypes you often see on drama programmes). This is not the most common Puppy Pride flag but one of several variants dating from around 2009, and is included to illustrate the different orientation of the stripes.

Folsom Street Fair – A banner displayed at the Folsom Street Fair during San Francisco Leather Pride week. I have no record of its appearance before 1999 and have not identified a designer, though it may have been designed by the Fair’s organisers sometime in the mid-1990s (probably after 1994).

And finally,
Leather UK – not very common as yet, but I have seen it being advertised for sale as a flag, postcard, poster and badge. Designed by Mark Thaler in 2009. Other national and regional flags have been similarly adapted.


  1. Thank you so much. I drove past an establishment that had up the leather boi flag this morning (Wilton Manors, FL) a new addition to the other fetish flags they usually fly. I have been going crazy trying to identify it. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us.

  2. Hi! I'm the inventor of the Switch Pride Flag! I'd be more than happy to tell you anything and everything you'd like to know about the flag. Feel free to ask me questions.

    I created it in Photoshop on my home computer on January 2nd, 2009, as that's when I dated this entry I made about it on LJ: (Also, I still have the original file on my HD, and it says it was last opened on Jan 3rd 2009, so that must be about right.) It's meant to be a draft, as it has some white at the bottom of it, and everything isn't exactly centered (I didn't use math to center it, I just eyeballed it). Once it's cleaned up, it'll be the official flag.

    More information into its symbolism, history, etc. can be found here:

    1. Thanks for your message. It’s so good to hear from you. I’m very interested to hear more about the origin and design of the Switch flag as its part of the lgbt community I know little about. Would you be willing to be a Guest Blogger and write an article about the flag for me? Please use the email address on the Contact page to get back to me. Many thanks.

    2. I will have to show that flag to my dom, he's a switch. He might get a kick out of it. :D I think it's a cool design.