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Christchurch, New Zealand bears.christchurch@gmail.com

About

Bears Christchurch is a social group for gay men of all ages. We are friendly and diverse. We run regular social events as well as one off events. We welcome everyone and it’s not just for bears. Friends, admirers and others who like their men beary, hairy, chubby, stocky, or just a bit rough around the edges.

 

All around the world the Bear Community is known as non discriminatory with regards to body size or shape. We work hard to not exclude anyone regardless of orientation.

 

In addition to our regular events we run an annual weekend of events in November each year we call BIG BEAR WEEKEND. There is usually a Mr Bear Canterbury competition and community service awards.

 

The main thing about being a bear is a sense of inclusiveness and community. You don’t have to fit into any of the stereotypes that come to mind. Bears tend to be pretty laid-back and open to any gay man who wants to join in, and that is one of the things a lot of guys like about the scene. You don’t have to try too hard to have the right body or the right clothes, it’s a comfortable place for guys who don’t feel like they fit in to the mainstream gay culture today.

 

The Gay Bear is not such a new phenomenon anymore, he’s been around and in public for a while. If you ask one just what it is that makes a bear, you’ll get lots of different responses – there is no one fixed pattern. But there are some points in common. Bear Pride, as a subset of our wider gay world really got going in the 90s, and it seems to get bigger all the time. Some people think it might have started as a reaction to he way AIDS had such an impact in the 80s, and so many guys got so skinny as their infections worsened, so looking a bit beefy and chunky was a sign of health, but that’s only a theory.

 

As the name suggests, bears don’t buy into the whole shaved/waxed body look – they like body-hair and see nothing wrong showing it off. And they tend to like facial hair – it’s rare to find a clean-shaven bear unless work has demanded it.

 

Bears tend to be bigger – they won’t usually fit into a pair of skinny jeans, and they don’t really care. Some are serious gym-bunnies, and bulk themselves up, others are just happy to let nature take its course as they age, and relax into a bit of middle-aged spread. Some are lean and keen.

 

Usually you think of bears as being a bit older, but it seems the look and feel is getting more popular with younger guys too now. Younger bears get called cubs in this tribe, or if they’re skinny, otters. Older guys do tend to feel at home in the bear world, and they’ve often got heaps of knowledge they’re willing to share about lots of stuff about being gay, from HIV to politics.

 

Event Photos: We are a friendly bunch and from time to time we like to share photos from our events. If you wish to have your photo removed simply contact us on Facebook or email admin (at) bearschristchurch.org.nz and we will delete your photo from our page.