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Lions and tigers and BEARS...Oh my!

By: Robert Joki

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March 19, 2008

     In my last blog we talked about people who wear fur suits for sexual gratification. This week I want to talk about people who are naturally furry...specifically the gay bear phenomenon.

     The Bear Community is a masculine subculture in the gay community that was born in the early 1980s in San Francisco. It was created by and for men who did not relate to the mainstream gay trend of being young, thin, effeminate, and hairless. Basically, not all gay men wanted to be Liza. In an effort to thwart gay stereotypes, and combat low self esteem for people who didn't fit the gay norm, bear pride pioneers began to act and dress in an uber butch manner and congregate away from the usual disco club scene. This provided an outlet for the typically low key, blue collar gay man who wanted to meet other gay men but didn't want to come home covered in glitter. As this alternative to the alternative lifestyle became popular, it spread across the country...and now bear bars and organizations can found in most major cities.

     In the beginning the bear movement was exclusive to large, masculine, furry, gay men...but in recent years it has developed to include all men and women who admire, or consider themselves to be, bears. I have compiled a list of bear slang and vocabulary words for your education and enjoyment.


bear: a man with a beard or goatee...typically with a hairy chest and body and a stocky or heavyset build

cub: a younger (or younger looking) version of a bear. This term can also refer to the bottom in a relationship. A bear couple is often referred to a bear and his cub.

bear hunter or chaser: this term refers to a non bear who finds bears sexually attractive

straight bear:  a man who exhibits traditional bear traits, but is regrettably straight  Local example: Murad Shorrab

papa bear or daddy bear: is an older, gruffer, more husky guy...sometimes looking for a cub

musclebear/cub: a muscular version of a bear/cub.

polar bear: is an older guy with white or gray hair.  Example: Santa Claus

leather bear: a bear who enjoys leather and leather culture

wolf: a lean, hairy gay man with dark features and aggressive chaser/hunter tendencies

bear pelt: refers to the chest hair of the bear

bear rug: refers to the back hair of the bear

otter: a man who is hairy, but is not large or stocky like a bear

squirrel: an otter with a particularly nice "tail"    Local Example: My boyfriend.    Heyyyyy!

Woof !: A greeting that is used to express physical attraction. Yes, I know bears don't WOOF. They growl. I didn't make this shit up.

fluff or fluffy bear: An extremely effeminate bear

scag drag: an unshaven bear in drag

sugar bear: a bear who is a sugar daddy, often looking to exchange favors and or gifts for affection

panda bear: a bear of Asian descent

Kodiak bear: a bear with reddish fur

black bear: this term can refer to both hairy black men...as well as white men with dark, dense body hair

honey bear: a sweet, cuddly, affectionate bear

Broadway bear: a bear who is obsessed with musical theater

sun bear: a bear who enjoys beaches, and sunbathing.

behr: a bear of German descent.  Local Example:  Yours truly :O)

Goldilocks: a female, often heterosexual, who is either attracted to or just enjoys the company of bears. A bear's "fag hag" or "fruit fly."   Local example: Brooke Slanina

bull: a bald bear, often sporting facial and body piercing and tattoos

tranny bear: a bear who was once a woman, but has undergone sexual reassignment surgery

manatee: a derogatory term used by bears to describe chubby gay men who are hairless

pawing/mauling: being molested by a bear

grizzly bear: a bear who does not get along with other bears

grumpy bear: a bear who lacks bear pride, usually suffering from low self esteem

go go bear: a bear who is a stripper

twink: a gay man who is thin and hairless...the opposite of a bear 

bear pride flag: a masculine take on the rainbow pride flag, with a bear paw stamped in the corner.

bear code: a system of abbreviations and ratings that bears use to describe themselves in shorthand to other bears. It is too complicated for me to explain in one sitting...but if you are interested in knowing more, type "Natural Bear Classification System" into your browser. I'll tell you this much:

Santa Claus's bear code is B8 d++ f? w++ k--?

Mine is  B3/7 f+ t w++ c d g k s--! e r- p qv

So, Youngstown...what kind of bear are you?



By susiebon05 ( anonymous )

We LGBT do need more community to make us as equal as others. Some LGBT online at http://www.bimingle.com said they would like to join in more LGBT community as possible as they can to enrich their lives.

By bobservo ( Bob Mackey )

i'm disappointed "ranger smith" is not part of the lingo

or even "boo boo"

By typhoidpat ( anonymous )

I think YETI should be the term for very tall bears.

By KLibecco ( Katie Libecco )

I like the part about Murad.

By TheArtistifyer ( Karen Wennberg )

Only *you* can prevent forest fires.

By Dennick ( Robert Joki )

True story. Lube is a must.

By MGShorrab ( anonymous )

Thank you for the notable distinction.

I just read about these folks in blender:


by my calculations the band has a cub, a bull, a behr, and a polar bear. Holy Diversity!

By Dennick ( Robert Joki )

HOLY CRAP! They are gayer than a tree full of chickadees. We should be them for Halloween.

By boyinakage ( anonymous )


rob, one of the funniest words i've ever heard is chickadee...and you typed it.

i just LOL'd!


By AccidentallyIsolde ( anonymous )

And here I've been calling my man "Papa Bear"....


Too wonderful, Rob my dear.

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