The Leather Pride Flag

Leather refers to a subculture of individuals who wear erotic leather fashion such as chaps, harnesses, and vests to signal their association with their unconventional approach to sex. The leather culture is heavily rooted in the queer community as they are the pioneers of leather practices. 

The LGBTQ+ community has a long history of niche subgroups that better help queer people understand who they are and how they approach their identities. Some members of the leather community are heavily involved in the BDSM community as well, it is an opportunity for them to explore sexual pleasure and kinks. On the other hand, some members of the leather community simply enjoy wearing leather and the idea of butch queerness. 

If you think you might identify with being leather or want to learn more about this community, read on.

The leather flag today

The leather pride flag was designed in 1989 by Tony DeBlase and has since represented the leather community. It has nine stripes—four black, four blue, one white—with a red heart in the upper left corner. The flag is seen in LGBTQ+ pride weeks as well as events that support the BDSM community.

It is important to note that although the flag was created to support the leather community, the flag has been also used interchangeably for those who identify with the BDSM community. That includes cowboys, latex, and uniforms. This flag represents the freedom to explore kinks and sexual freedom. 

So what does this flag represent? As a whole, the unification of leather individuals. DeBlase did not include specific meanings for the colors and the heart but since its creations members have made up their own meaning.

  • Black: Represents black leather.
  • Blue: Represents blue denim. 
  • White: Represents integrity.
  • Red Heart: Represents love. 

Alternative version of the leather flag

The DeBlase flag is the only flag that truly represents the leather community. That being said, alternatives to the leather flag do not really exist. However, because the leather flag became known as the BDSM flag as well, a BDSM flag alternative has since been created. 

The Tanos BDSM Pride Flag

This flag was created by a Master by the name of Tanos. The flag is derived from the original leather pride flag, the white, blue, and black colors remain, but the red heart is substituted with a red version of the BDSM Emblem. The flag was created in order to bring awareness to the BDSM community and advocate for human rights.

Want to learn more about being leather?

The leather community carries a lot of history. This subculture is living proof of what queer people represent and what it means to fight for your identity and your place in an unaccepting society. For many years members of the leather community felt as though they needed to hide or pretend to be someone else. It is for that reason that we should always acknowledge those who pioneered the movement and who at first were marginalized and oppressed for expressing themselves. It is because of these brave individuals who marched and opened safe spaces that we can have things such as leather pride week. 

With that being said, the leather community can include gay individuals, lesbian individuals, transgender individuals, and more. There are endless ways to be leather. It is also important to know that there is a large community of support waiting for you if you decide to come out. You are never alone and the LGBTQ+ community is a united force.

Closing thoughts

The bottom line is representation matters. Flags are a necessary tool when it comes to representing a community, identity, or sexuality. Putting up a asexual flag or wearing it on a t-shirt shows appreciation and pride for the community. This is not only important for community members who want to feel unified, but also for visibility purposes. The colors and symbols on a flag show the world what it means to be a part of that community and give everyone a chance to show their pride. 
In addition, be sure to learn about the other identities that make up the LGBTQ+ community subscribe to the INTO newsletter to learn more.

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