One of the many long-standing gay subcultures, a bear is a large, hairy queer man who self-identifies with the 'bear' label. Being a bear combines gender expression, gender identity, and sexuality; a large, hairy straight man would not be a bear. They are generally masculine-presenting men over the age of 30 whose build may include a big belly, legs, and/or butt. Bears almost always have a full beard or facial hair, and they are often associated with so-called "traditional masculinity" or "rugged masculinity". However, there is a debate within the bear community regarding the acceptability of femininity; they tend to be contrasted with identities such as twinks and femmes. Although bears are implicitly masculine people, being a bear is not about specific mannerisms or identities like "masc", and bear identity does not indicate preferred partners or sexual roles.
Elaborate on the origins of the name.
Identities under the umbrella
The following are examples of more specific labels that are either considered subsets of bear, or otherwise related to the community.
Bears who are more thin or athletic, but still have an abundance of facial and body hair, are referred to as "otters". They are also sometimes described as being between bear and twink.
Bears who are more muscular but still have plenty of hair are sometimes referred to as "wolves". They are usually also described as being more "sexually aggressive", or otherwise as the more dominant person in a relationship.
Document the community's most important history, including facts such as key events, breakthroughs in improving the community's wellbeing and rights, or historical figures known to belong to the community.
The bear flag was created by psychology undergraduate student Craig Byrnes in 1995. The colors of this flag are derived from the animals rather than the people; thus, the varying shades of brown, white, and black are reminiscent of colors found in bear fur.
Optional section: If the topic has similarities to another gender/orientation, use this section to highlight the differences between them.
Optional section: If this topic has been the subject of any controversies, detail them in this section. For example, it could explain outdated or disputed terms, disagreements about how this identity is defined, identity-phobic discourse around popular flags, or other conflicts.
Perceptions and discrimination
This section focuses more on the specific kinds of discrimination and oppression that these people may face. Examples would be mentioning systematic transphobia and non-binary erasure on the page for agender, mentioning rates of mental health issues in this group, etc.
This section should be used to elaborate on the portrayal and representation of this identity in various forms of media, which can include a listing or links to various artists or movies, series, etc. Subheadings like Film, Television, Literature, and Music should be used where appropriate.
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