Identity plays a significant role within the LGBT community, especially the communities, within the communities. For gay men, groups like Bears, who are characterised as masculine, hairy men, have since grown from a dating preference to a full-fledge brotherhood.
So, we're going to breaking down the bare necessities of what makes a bear a bear:
What is a Bear in the gay community?
A Bear can be best described as a hairy, bearded, rugged, large gay man. The term was made famous by Richard Bulger and his partner Chris Nelson. They both founded Bear Magazine in 1987 as a response to the growing interest in San Francisco in the mid-1980s.
Bears are often masculine, presenting gay and bisexual men. Still, the affiliation has become more inclusive, with the bear community adopting even more identities within its subculture. Here are just a few:
While Bears have been known to be made up of cisgender men, lesbians (known as Ursulas) and trans men who fit the aesthetic have also been accepted into the bear brotherhood.
Bear Pride Flag and Colours
One of the many great things about LGBT culture is their subcultures, many of which had started to celebrate their own pride and even create their own flags. The International Bear Brotherhood Flag, otherwise known as the Bear Pride Flag, was designed by Psychology student Craig Byrnes in 1995 while completing his study on Bear Culture in the 1980s.
The colours represent the different fur coats of known bears worldwide: dark brown, rust, golden yellow, tan, white, grey and black, with an added bear paw print on the upper left-hand corner. The colours were chosen as a way to be inclusive to all types of bears within the LGBTQ community and other intersectional identities.
Bear Pride Celebrations
The subculture became popular in the 1980s and continues to have a big presence within the LGBT community to this day. Bear Pride is celebrated around the world, from Brighton to Boston. In January 2022, Mexico will host its first official Bear Pride event, Bearadise, in Puerto Vallarta.
You can also find Bear Beauty Pageants in cities like New York and San Francisco, where winners will receive a studded leather sash.
Identity and pride are what makes the queer community a safe, accepting, and joyful space. Our goal as a brand is to celebrate every identity within the LGBTQ spectrum, including their subcultures. Our Bear signalling bracelets feature the Bear Brotherhood Flag's colours and can be worn by anyone who proudly identifies as a Bear, whether you're a cub, otter or wolf. View our Bear bracelets here, and for other LGBTQIA identities, click here. We're still adding to the collection, so if you can't find your colours yet, give us a follow-on social media so you'll be the first to know when a new collection drops.
This weekend we should be celebrating Bear Scot Fest, which has unfortunately been cancelled. But Bear Pride in Brussels, and in two week's time Luxembourg Bear Pride are still going ahead. So whether you're attending any of these events, or simply hibernating at home, we're offering a 20% discount code on all our products for the next seven days. Just type in the code BEARPRIDE when you check out.
The recent homophobic attacks in Clapham have shocked and saddened many people. These attacks are a reminder that LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance in society can be regressive, and not always progressive. In the UK, we have made great progress in recent years, but there is still a lot of work to be done.