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Bear Community

Bears, so called, are a group of gay men who have positioned themselves outside the mainstream gay culture. They have constructed a gender expression based on body acceptance and “natural” masculinity. Their presence within the sexual-minority community has expanded our understanding of gay masculinities by including nurturance, intimacy, role flexibility, and emotional connection. Also, bears provide critiques of the common classism, perfectionism, and intimacy avoidance within gay culture.

This entry begins with a brief history of the development of the bear community; continues with a discussion of how bears define their identity, gender, and sexuality; and concludes with an overview of controversies that have arisen in the history of the bear movement.

A Brief History of the Bear Movement

The term bear became a part of the gay ...

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