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Cubs and otters and leathers bears, oh my: Distilling gay bear terminology

During the second week of July, Provincetown, Massachusetts is invaded with bears. For an entire week, close to 10,000 gay, hairy and rugged men gather at the tip of Cape Cod to have some fun.

“The Bear community differs in the sense that there is this different ideal in terms of what the aesthetic is,” says Matthew J. Dempsey, a clinical counselor that specializes on helping gay men.

Bears are an established subgroup of gay men with their very own flag and distinctions among the community.

But what exactly is a bear?

With the help of local bear connoisseur and P-town celebrity, Miss Richfield 1981, the AM Tonight team breaks down the different types of bears.

Bears: that’s hairy, beefy and slightly older men

Polar Bears: Older gay men with a heavy coat of white hair

Cubs: Younger hairy guys still too cuddly to be considered a bear

Otters: Skinny, hairy men

Muscle Bears: Chiseled, with a light dust of fur

Leather Bears: The name says it all

You can find more photos and videos in our Bear Week blog.

For part 1 of our Bear Week series, click here, or here for part 3.

Credits: Mitchell Williams and Ignacio Torres

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