The flag was designed by Tony DeBlase, a well-known activist who died in 2000, and presented as a “proposed design idea” on May 28, 1989 at International Mr. Leather in Chicago on May 28, 1989.

According to Chicago-based Leather Archives & Museum, the design was immediately embraced and began appearing in parades within a month of its introduction, and turned up in shops as a bumper sticker barely two months later.

The flag is composed of nine horizontal stripes of equal width. From the top, and from the bottom, the stripes alternate black and royal blue. The central stripe is white. In the upper left quadrant of the flag is a large red heart.

“I will leave it to the viewer to interpret the symbols,” DeBlase wrote a the time.

Deconstructions and re-compositions of the flag’s familiar black, blue and white stripes with a red accent-originally a heart-are common, but the design itself was accepted worldwide as introduced, according to LA&M.

Read more: leatherarchives.org

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