Tuesday, June 18, 2019

History of the Puppy Pride Flag

Puppy Pride Flag
Below is the rough information for the puppy/Dog pride flag, I hope it helps.  

Ruff- everyone:
I am going to bark a little history lesson about the puppy/dog pride flag:
Over 30+ years ago when I started exploring my pup journey my first experience in identifying myself was as a gay leather man in my early childhood. Growing up I always had a pup (Dog) soul. I never really identified as a bear (even though I am very hairy) or as a member of the Imperial Court system (even though I worked/volunteered with them) or as a pan-sexual (even though I belonged to many groups/friends) or any of the other organizations I belonged to that have come and gone since but as a gay leather man and finally over time as a gay leather Dog.

It was natural for me to embrace the Leather Pride flag that Tony DeBlase created back in 1989 as a symbol I could relate to in the beginning when it first came out and even more so over the decades. I always liked Tony DeBlase's answer regarding his design with the nine horizontal stripes of equal width and colors of black, royal blue and white with a red heart that he choose: “I will leave it to the viewer to interpret the colors and symbols." Overtime the Leather Pride flag came to be a symbol which represents people into leather, BDSM, uniform, rubber, and other fetishes and interests.
But even though I identified with the Leather Pride flag it still was missing something, a complete representation of myself. In 2001 I had come across a design by Scott Stevenson with a red Doberman dog head using the leather pride colors but something did not feel right about it. The main thing I did not like about it was the dog head looked like a Dobermans head and I did not identify myself as a Doberman. I tried to imagine another dog head but each one was too defining to a particular breed and there was no generic all-encompassing dog head I could think of. And I didn't want to use a paw as the bear community already had been using that particular image as their symbol representation for years.

I thought what simple symbol would be universally recognized around the world that is associated with dogs? Then it became obvious, a dog bone. In 2003 I replaced the corner red heart with a red dog bone and placed it in the center of the Leather Pride flag. Now I had a symbol I could identify with as a leather dog that did not discriminate based on a dog breed and that would be visually translatable around the world.

Initially only a few friends knew about my Leather Puppy/Dog Pride flag pride design but little by little people saw the design and remarked that they liked it. My friends at Leather Creations where I worked at the time when I created the concept encouraged me to pursue getting it out to the public. In the beginning they copyrighted it for me to help protect it from being misused and helped me get it made into a 3'x5' fabric flag, leather armband, a few embroidered t-shirts and eventually I had pins made. I admit I have never really pushed the Leather Puppy/Dog Pride symbol I had created to be universally accepted but overtime it seems to have been embraced.

In 2011 it was re-imagined by Pup Flip Gray by having the stripes go sideways with other slight modifications and new interpretations. From Pup Flip Gray’s notes “Official Puppy Pride flag of International Puppy ...this design has all 9 Black, Blue and White stripes from the Leather Pride Flag created by Tony DeBlase that is a symbol for the leather community, which encompass those who are into leather, Levi's, SM, BD, uniform, cowboys, rubber, and other fetishes. Unlike previous flags, the White Stripe in this design is 1.5 times wider than the other stripes to represent the broadness of the puppy community and as in Grungepup's design, the stripes are set on a 30-degree diagonal reminiscent of the boy flag designed by Keith P. to indicate a new direction. Like Grungepup's design, the blood Red Bone in the center is reminiscent of the puppy pride flag designed by Kirk “Brue” Pierce which replaced the centered red Doberman head of the original Puppy Pride Flag with a centered red bone since the centered red Doberman head was too breed specific and turned the stripes sideways. However, the centered red bone used in this design is larger to be more prominent and represents the unconditional, non-judgmental heart of the puppy.”

It still makes me smile to see the red dog bone symbol that I started being used and widely identified and accepted as the pup community symbol.

But what matters to me the most is for you to discover who you are and how you convey yourself, your puppy/dog soul and/or Handler/Trainer skills. This is what is truly important to help make our community a safe and healthy space.

Just remember there are many ways to convey your puppy/dog interest that even if none of the current or available flag or logo designs work for you, find or create something that does. Be true to yourself, your soul, as each of our pupdom journeys are different from everyone else’s.

Happy Pride 2019!!!

From the Midwest Puppy and Handler Family 
to Y/yours


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