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Bear flag
International Bear Brotherhood Flag
Adopted1995; 29 years ago (1995)
DesignField of seven equally sized horizontal stripes: dark brown, orange/rust, golden yellow, tan, white, gray, and black; with a bear paw print in the canton
Designed byCraig Byrnes

The International Bear Brotherhood Flag, also known as the bear flag, is a pride flag designed to represent the bear subculture within the LGBTQIA+ community. The colors of the flag—dark brown, orange/rust, golden yellow, tan, white, gray, and black—are meant to include the colors of the furs of animal bears throughout the world. Though not necessarily referring to human skin color or hair color, the flag was designed with inclusion in mind.[citation needed] The bear culture celebrates secondary sex characteristics such as growth of body hair and facial hair, traits associated with bears.[1]


Craig Byrnes created the bear flag in Washington, D.C. 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 of Summer" events in July 1995.

The winning design (a version created by Paul Witzkoske)[3] is a field of simple horizontal stripes with a paw print in the upper left corner — a layout similar to 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.[citation needed] It is trademarked.[4]


See also

Further reading


  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. ^ Witzkoske (2011). "The Bear Flag and My Part in Its Creation". Facebook.
  4. ^ 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.