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Home Archives Gay Lifestyle Did I really leave my cave for this…?

Did I really leave my cave for this…?

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If I said the following to you - Winnie, Rupert, Paddington, Yogi and Boo Boo, what would come to mind? If it was BEARS then you are on the money, if not, then you had better read on…

When people conjure the image of the ‘Homosexual Male’ what blossoms to the forefront of their minds is a beautiful Ken doll, or these days, his emaciated cousin Bob. No one automatically thinks of those hairy big-boys called Bears. Well I do…

My name is Matthew and I am a proud Bear.

Now what is a Bear you may ask? Well if you don’t know, here is a little gay knowledge for you:

Superficially a Bear is a chubby, hairy, masculine, gay male who likes beer and flannel shirts. However, according to many Bears and their admirers, the Bear culture is not so much about physical appearance. Rather it is about living a particular philosophy of acceptance, respect, and the celebration of diversity. Furthermore, a Bear is a gay man who rejoices in his masculinity (masculinity of a relaxed and unassuming nature) rather than suppressing his true gender identity to assimilate into the pretty-boy ideal of the gay ‘community’. A Bear is, well, a big teddy-bear of a man:gruff and bristly on the outside, but mellow and squishy-sweet on the inside.

Those who study such things, theorize that the Bear phenomenon is the "maturation of the gay culture". Most Bears feel no need to take on conventional gay identities and display that they are simply masculine dudes who really, really like other masculine dudes. Bears see no conflict between being gay and being a genuine man and therefore achieve a kind of identity-based personal harmony, that does not require any sort of outside validation. Unlike much of gay cultural identity, which equates being gay with somehow not being a regular guy, Bear culture simply accepts the notion of masculinity.

Now this may sound all well and good, but understanding what a Bear is and accepting that you are one are two completely different sides of the gay coin.

As a self-confessed Bear, it hasn’t been an easy road to acceptance. Looking at the homo-normative experience of being gay, you either need to be exceptionally good-looking and built like a medium-sized twig or buff - appearing to be carrying watermelons under your arms and between your legs. Unfortunately I never ever fell into either if these categories so always had this sense of being an outsider within our perceived ‘outsider’ community. Every Friday and Saturday night I would join my friends for a bit of a town painting but found that I would just feel ugly and self-conscious by the end of the evening. I attribute this mainly to my age at the time and also to the friendship circle in which I Hula-Hooped.I thought that everyone that was the ideal (twink) and I was just the ugly-stepsister exception!

And how wrong was I …

On a particularly horrendous evening I left my friends and found myself wandering around the Village and came across a bar that my friends and I had never frequented. When I looked onto the veranda of this bar I noticed something very peculiar.There weren’t the shrill shrieks of inebriated boys but the deep growls of grizzly grown men. I was enthralled! I was intrigued! I was home…

This experience opened my eyes to a whole new world of men who were just like me. These men taught me that I didn’t have to be anything that I didn’t want to be. More importantly, they allowed me to feel exalted in the fact that I didn’t have to shave, wax or pluck every last hair on my body. The only thing that they asked of me was to be me.

I am now a cuddly, full-bearded friendly giant with two Goldilocks (the Bear version of a faghag) and a boyfriend who loves every beard hair and chubby roll that I have…and I couldn’t be happier! So next time you see a Bear, give him a hug! He won’t bite unless you ask…

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What Does Queer Mean?

Queer is an umbrella term for sexual minorities that are not heterosexual, heteronormative, or gender-binary.In the context of Western identity politics the term also acts as a label setting queer-identifying people apart from discourse, ideologies, and lifestyles that typify mainstream LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual) communities as being oppressive or assimilationist.