Friday, July 11, 2008


Bear on Board
Tonight's episode of Kathy Griffin's My Life on the D-List followed her to the San Francisco International Bear Rendezvous where she did a cover shoot for A Bear's Life Magazine and preformed before a hefty crowd of 1500 at the Castro Theater.

When I got home I picked up my latest issue of A Bear's Life- The Pride Issue (aww, nuzzle nuzzle) and I read about the history of the lovable autumn colored symbol we now know as the bear flag.

"The International Bear Brotherhood Flag" was created 1n 1995 while Virgina Beach native, Craig Byrnes, was working toward his degree in psychology and needed to design a senior project that would explore the rapidly growing Bear culture developing since the 1980's.
"As a member of the Chesapeake Bay Bears (CBB), I had become involved with first hand experience of the growing bear movement. While developing my senior project, I thought it might be fitting to design a flag that would best represent the Bear community since there was no "official" Bear flag, and include it with the results of my research."


"It's a field of simple horizontal stripes with a black bear paw print in the upper left corner- a layout familiar to anyone who has seen the Leather Pride flag. The colors represent the bear fur colors and different nationalities: brown hair-brown skin, red hair-American Indian skin, blonde hair-Asian skin, white and gray hair-Caucasian skin, and black hair-African skin. We designed it with inclusivity in mind.
Soon after, a few computer generated images were created and woof! the Bear Flag was born.

What I love most in reading about all these flags and all these artifacts is that I learn they're not just simple symbols dulled out to the community because they're an easy fit, rather, they are well thought-out creations paying homage to both history and a sense of togetherness.

For instance, did you know Gilbert Baker assigned meaning to each color in the rainbow flag?
hot pink: sexuality
red: life
orange: healing
yellow: sunlight
green: nature
turquoise: magic
blue: serenity
violet: spirit
red: life
orange: healing
yellow: sunlight
green: nature
blue: serenity
violet: spirit

And did you ever notice that there's a nice red heart in the corner of the deep blue and black stripes of the leather flag?

And a Transgender pride flag-
Creator Monica Helms explains the colors mean: The light blue is the traditional color for baby boys, pink is for girls, and the white in the middle is for those who are transitioning, those who feel they have a neutral gender or no gender, and those who are intersexed. The pattern is such that no matter which way you fly it, it will always be correct. This symbolizes us trying to find correctness in our own lives.

Or that there's a Bisexual pride flag? Who knew?

(Creator Michael Page intended for the colors to mean: Pink- attraction to the same sex. Blue- attraction to the opposite sex and Lavender- attraction to both sexes.)

Geez, what a bunch of flags, eh?

Big "Arf" to Bear's Life Magazine for sharing the history- and whatever flag you carry or whatever color is your favorite- wave it out, baby.

Wave. It. Out.

Happy Friday.


Anonymous said...

You're a big flag.

Anonymous said...

You left out pink for sexuality. The original Gay Pride flag had 8 stripes.
However both the pink and the turquoise stripes have been left out of the more commonly seen rainbow flags which have only 6 stripes.
Don't you agree that the original 8 striped flags should be promoted?
How can we remove pink for sex and turquoise for magic!?

Charley Beal said...

Eric, yes there were 8 stripes. You should contact Gilbert and have him contribute a piece to your blog. He was very impressed meeting you at pride.

Charley Beal

Mike said...

Yeah, I miss the sexuality and magic. And orange, blue and other color hankies and clone mustaches. Where are the sluts of yesteryear?