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History of the Bear Flag
The International Bear Brotherhood Flag was designed to represent the bear subculture within the LGBT community. The colors of the flag are meant to include the colors of the furs of animal bears throughout the world, not necessarily referring to human skin and hair color tones: Dark brown, orange/rust, golden yellow, tan, white, gray, and black.
The flag was designed with inclusion in mind. The gay bear culture celebrates secondary sex characteristics such as growth of body hair and facial hair, which is typically considered a "bear" trait.
Craig Byrnes created the Bear pride flag in 1995.
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) 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.
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