Tony DeBlase was a leather community pioneer and was one of the most transformational figures in its history and the creator of The Leather Flag. He was a Botanist focussing especially on Bat’s and was an incredible gourmet chef.
DeBlase or ‘Fledermaus’ developed the contest and demonstration schedule at the Chicago Hellfire Club’s Inferno, and he helped export those lessons to other, less experienced SM clubs over the years. As the founding publisher of DungeonMaster magazine, DeBlase pioneered the field of SM technique publishing. In 1986 DeBlase purchased the Drummer family of magazines, which had reached their peak in power and influence by the time they were sold in 1992.In 1988, as publisher of Drummer and owner of the Mr. Drummer contest, DeBlase moved the contest from Gay Pride in June to late September to coincide with the Folsom Street Fair, creating “San Francisco Leather Pride Weekend,” a six day calendar of leather and SM events, many of which depended on DeBlase for their success in some way. DeBlase helped found The Leather Archives & Museum (LA&M) and served as Vice President of the Board of Directors from 1992 until his death in July 2000 of liver failure at the early age of 58…gone to soon.
Among the many honors and awards given to DeBlase were NLA’s Man of the Year award in 1987 and Pantheon of Leather’s Lifetime Achievement award in 1994. The honour DeBlase said he treasured most was the coveted Caligula Award from Chicago Hellfire Club for his service to the club in the development of the fantastic Inferno.
DeBlase’s most widely celebrated achievement is the Leather Pride Flag which he presented to the world as a “proposed design idea” in 1989. 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 when introduced and is the Fetish Worlds biggest and most famous symbol as it reaches it’s 30th Birthday this year.
A memorial celebration of DeBlase’s life was held during International Mr. Leather 2001. DeBlase was survived by his partner Dr. Andrew Charles.