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The International Bear Brotherhood Flag

Last modified: 2005-04-09 by
Keywords: bear | footprint | fur | paw | byrnes (craig) |
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IBB flag
by António Martins, 03 Feb 2001
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Introduction

The Bear Flag (“bears” being gay men with an appreciation for hirsute partners) is displayed more discretely than the Rainbow Gay Pride Flag. They are usually seen tacked to the wall or flown just inside the door at bars, nightclubs, and conventions which cater to that type of clientele.
Steve Kramer, 29 Nov 2000


Description and origin of the flag

The flag consists of seven horizontal stripes (a reference to the Gay Pride flag?) of supposedly ursine colours: brown, light brown, very light brown, very light yellow, white, grey and black; on the upper hoist, a bear pawprint spanning over four stripes.
António Martins, 03 Feb 2001

The flag shown is only one variant of the flag (the International Bear Brotherhood Flag).
Marcus Schmöger, 26 Aug 2001,
translating from http://www.bcwsd.com/backroom/library/articles_de/symbols.htm

The Bear Pride Flag is an idea from the USA, as many gay symbols. It symbolizes the different colours of bear furs. The bear paw in the left upper corner makes additionally clear, for whom the friendship and affection is. Also in Europe the Bear Pride Flag prevails more and more.
Marcus Schmöger, 26 Aug 2001,
translating from http://www.bcwsd.com/backroom/library/articles_de/symbols.htm

This flag seems to be the most popular of the “bear pride flags” now. I saw it in Munich, during the CSD (Christopher Street Day) Parade.
Marcus Schmöger, 24 Aug 2001

Byrnes Craigʼs undergraduate degree in psychology involved designing a senior project about the bear culture that has exploded since the early 1980s, of which he had first-hand experience. Craig thought it might be fitting to design a flag that would best represent the bear community and include it with the results of his research. Four variations were sewing machine constructed and Craig won approval to display the four 3'×5' prototype flags at the Chesapeake Bay Bears «Bears of Summer» events in July of 1995.

The winning design is a field of simple horizontal stripes with a paw print in the upper left corner — a layout familiar to anyone who has seen the Leather Pride Flag. The colors represent the fur colors and nationalities of bears throughout the world and was designed with inclusivity in mind.

Marcus Schmöger, 26 Aug 2001,
quoting from http://www.bearmfg.com/history/history.html

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