Bear flag (gay culture)

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The International Bear Brotherhood Flag

The International Bear Brotherhood Flag was designed to represent the bear subculture within the LGBT community. The colours of the flag are meant to include the colours of the furs of animal bears throughout the world, not necessarily referring to human skin and hair colour tones: Dark brown, orange/rust, golden yellow, tan, white, gray, and black. The flag was designed with inclusion in mind.[citation needed] The gay bear culture celebrates secondary sex characteristics such as growth of body hair and facial hair, which is typically considered a "bear" trait.[1]


Craig Byrnes created the Bear pride flag in 1995.[2] Byrnes' 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. He 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. To do this, he received help from another influential member of the bear cultural community. Four variations were sewing machine-constructed and Byrnes won approval to display the four 3-by-5-foot (0.9 m × 1.5 m) prototype flags at the Chesapeake Bay Bears "Bears of Summer" events in July 1995. The winning design (a version created by Paul Witzkoske)[citation needed] 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 the flag was designed with inclusivity in mind. It is trademarked.[3]


The International Bear Brotherhood Flag is a flag representing the international bear community. The design was probably inspired by the Gay Rainbow Flag and the Leather Pride Flag. The colors represent all the "fur colors and nationalities around the world." The flag was trademarked in 1995

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Martins, António (2007-08-04). "The International Bear Brotherhood Flag". Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  • Sears, James Thomas (2005-01-01). Youth, Education, and Sexualities: An International Encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 701. ISBN 9780313327551.


  1. ^ Suresha, Ron (2009). Bears on Bears: Interviews and Discussions. Lethe Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-1590212448.
  2. ^ Muzzy, Frank (2005). Gay and Lesbian Washington. Arcadia Publishing. p. 112. ISBN 9780738517537.
  3. ^ Kampf, Ray (2000). The Bear Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for Those Who Are Husky, Hairy and Homosexual, and Those Who Love 'Em (paperback ed.). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Haworth Press. ISBN 978-1560239970. OCLC 43859606.