Bears Down Under 2009: 2268364339everyone Inner

Bears Down Under

&226&8364&339Everyone has an inner bear,&226&8364 says VicBears president Phil Webster, &226&8364&339we like to think that our organization and events help people find their connection

to that.&226&8364 This is the second time Webster has been president, but he has also been around for much of Vic Bear&226&8364&8482s 14 year history It&226&8364&8482s a history and a community presence that has been going strong in Melbourne ever since it first began, sparked by the Bear movement in the US that aimed to challenge gay stereotypes, preconceptions and acceptance of the gay male body. Since it&226&8364&8482s inception, VicBears has moved from being a fringe gay group to finding a firm place in the queer community. In fact the Bear scene is one of the bigger regular contributors to the Gay and Lesbian community, and it is certainly one of the most visible. While the Bear movement began with a particular body type or look, over the years the rigidity of that initial type has broadened. VicBears these days defines &8220Bear&226&8364 as a gay man with a masculine, down-to-earth attitude. The original ideal of the Bear movement was to be inclusive and to embrace men of all body types, and VicBears upholds that ideal. I asked Webster how he has seen the Bear scene change over recent years. VicBears works to provide opportunities for men who identify as bears to meet and enjoy themselves as well as to preserve the history, culture and traditions of the Australian Bear community. One of the biggest gestures it makes each year is organizing Southern Hibearnation, one of the biggest events on the queer calendar. Southern HiBearnation is VicBears very own bear run, which runs during second half of June every year. The point of Southern HiBearnation is to have fun, and meet other like-minded, down-to-earth gay guys who like to let their fur down now and then. VicBears has run Southern HiBearnation for 11 years now and the event gets bigger and better. &226&8364&339Southern Hibearnation is a mammoth beast to organize. Even though it&226&8364&8482s just one week of events, we spend a solid 6 months on the various facets of the events. There&226&8364&8482s eight guys on the board, and during our busy planning times we expand to around 12 or 15. We all have day jobs, everyone who works on it is a volunteer,&226&8364 says Webster. It&8217s a daddy of a week of fun and sexy social programmed events. A special version of Melbourne&8217s regular 4&2154 dance party will be back to kick off festivities. There&226&8364&8482s Bear Bingo, plus Bear Overboard A relaxed afternoon on the bay with bears, beers and a bit of a feed.

UnderBear is a favourite which has become a staple event of the Southern HiBearnation calendar, with around 300 guys packing themselves in their underwear to brave the winter cold.

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