The leather flag (or, better, the leather pride flag) was cretaed in 1989 by Tony DeBlase (well known American activist who died in 2000 and was, among other things, a writer, the editor of the famous magazine Drummer and the manager of leather bars). He was thrilled by the rainbow colored balloons used in the opening and closing ceremonies of Gay Games II and the spectacular rainbow of balloons that arched over the main stage at the G&L pride rally here in San Francisco a couple of years ago.As he said, “For the 20th anniversary of Stonewall I felt that the time was right for the Leather men and women who have been participating in these same parades and events more and more visibly in recent years, to have a similar simple, elegant banner that would serve as a symbol of their own identity and interests. I decided that calling a committee meeting to design it would be counterproductive, so I just did it. I consulted with most of the staff here at Drummer and some of their suggestions were incorporated. I do not expect this design to be the final form, but the basis from which a widely accepted banner will evolve.” The flag was displayed, for the first time, on 28th May 1989 during International Mister Leather in Chicago. There was some debate about DeBlase’s audacity. How dare he design a flag without convening a committee of important leather men and women? Did he think he would get away with this? Well, no, he didn’t intend to “get away with” anything. As he said in the editorial, “I do not expect this design to be the final form,” but indignity requires no excuse. Nonetheless, the enthusiastic welcome the design received at IML was barely the beginning. Before anyone really had a chance to think whether the design should or shouldn’t be changed, it was everywhere. By this time there were authorized and unauthorized version of the flag for sale in endless forms: pins, bumper stickers, patches and even Christmas ornaments, but the Aussie flag set off a stir. Everyone began working at variants, some of them great extensions of the flag and its purpose (titleholders’ sashes), others downright funny (a Thanksgiving card on which the red heart is replaced by a roast turkey in red). Now, the leather pride flag design is solidly accepted around the world. Used and reused everywhere, twisted and warped into every shape, wrapped around every kind of product and made of every material from leather to crochet yarn. It has even been worked into the permanent colors of some leather clubs, a use that DeBlase sees as particularly significant, a special level of acceptance.