Ropecast listener TopKai writes:
I based the flag on the Royal Navy Ensign, paying homage to the nautical traditions that the rope community draws on. I put the Leather Pride Flag in the corner, to represent the link the rope community has to the leather community, and the heritage the rope community owes to the leather community. The brown cross is the color of rope and invokes a “tie,” and the white is representative of the openness of the community, and the room we still have to grow.
I suggested that the flag would also need some link and homage to the Japanese roots, and after some thoughts we merged the red of the heart with the red “sun” symbol of the Japanese sun. Personally, I think of it less of a sun as a lotus, the symbol for lovers, but that’s the great thing about symbols – you can see what you like in them.
So, below are some proposed “rope pride flags.” What do you think? Remember, be nice. I think TopKai is onto something here, and frankly, the more I look at them, the more the idea resonates.
Update: TopKai and I continued to work on the design throughout most of the day yesterday, incorporating people’s ideas, etc, resulting in the second-to-last image below. Jo Qatana, one of the biggest Rope Advocates I know, also mentioned a design she’d worked up a long time ago (and that image, unlike the others, is copyrighted, so NO touchy!).
Then my friend Vesper, aka Kiltman, posted his comment below along with a link to his idea…and frankly, I personally like his better than any of them. What do you think? Please limit your comments to being about the images, NOT the people who designed them.
Why Bother with a Rope Flag?
I really appreciate all the comments, both here, and via twitter, and even the ones I don’t really understand.
One thing I want to make clear: this is not a democracy OR a dictatorship. So we’re not going to actually sit here and say “ALL ROPE PEOPLE MUST USE THIS FLAG!” However, it would be just as disingenuous to sit there and say “NO ONE SHOULD USE THIS FLAG! ROPE PEOPLE MUST HAVE THE FLAG OF NO-FLAG!”
“So what – rope is now tantamount to queer identity? REALLY?” asks @MargoEve. To which I say, yes. It is a part of my queer identity, that’s for sure. To quote Steve Lenius, author of Life, Leather, and the Pursuit of Happiness, “…be proud, and come out as a kinky person to the best of your ability.” (Lavender Magazine). If part of that coming out means you want your own flag, then more power to you. No one insists that you wear black, or leather, or that you take off your tree of life or labyrinth or green man or cross or Star Trek symbol at an event…so if some people who identify themselves as “rope people” want to have a flag, why shouldn’t they?
So far the only thing I’ve gotten close to a coherent reason why not is the fear that it will become proscriptive, that labeling yourself as a rope person will cause segregation, division, etc. Aside from the fact that this happens a lot already (We gave you rope people your own room, all quiet like, with that zen music y’all like) like any label, that only applies when the label is used as the end of a conversation as opposed to the start of one. And that is not a problem with labels, that is a problem with people.
Great, so what’s next, a “violet wand” flag?
I finally figured out this morning what the difficult thing is here. There’s a difference between “rope people” and “people who use rope.” If rope is simply one of many things you use, and has no special resonance beyond it’s universal efficacy, no, you don’t need a flag.
But for some (myself included) rope is more than just twisted fibers. It is my friends, my lovers, it is my art, it is my symbol, it is the place I go where the rest of the world and its troubles fades away. Quite literally, the rope community is my home, and like anyone, when I’m away from home or missing it, I enjoy having reminders of my home around. For some, like Jimi Tatu, just rope itself is enough. Some enjoy using the leather pride flag, or one of the many other pride flags, or the BDSM symbol as a reminder.
If the Violet Wand users had that kind of a feeling of community and sharing of knowledge, then they might come up with a symbol, or maybe even a Guild or something (oh, wait…they did). So did the littles, so did the uniform fetishists, hell, even Gay Men in Spandex have their own flag. Why don’t they use the Leather Pride Flag? Well, maybe because…they’re not into leather?
There’s the difference. If rope is just something you use, then no, you don’t need a flag. Even if rope is part of who you are, you may not need a flag. But if you want one – I personally think you should fly it with pride.