GCBW Run Passes and tickets for all events will be available at the door. 

After years of providing a safe place for queer men of all kinds we are pushing our message of body positivity and acceptance out into the world! We often get asked if someone is bearish enough to get involved at one of our events.  The answer to that question has always been for us that it does not matter, whether you are masculine or feminine,  the colour of your skin, whether you were born male or female, how old you are, how big or small you are, how furry or smooth you are.  What matters is having a welcoming attitude and caring demeanor to each other. 

 

We are looking for you to say it loud and proud #iamfab!  

Watch for the Fellowship of Alberta Bears at Prides and community events across Alberta this summer as we spread the love with bear hugs and our #iamfab selfie booth so you can share your stories about acceptance and body positivity.   We are also looking for models of all shapes and sizes for our new community fundraiser calendar and event posters. 

More information on our campaign will be shared via our monthly newsletter and here on the albearta.org website and facebook group

A Note from the Grand Grizzly Bear 2017

This year the Fellowship of Alberta Bears are marching under the message Love Your FAB Body. This is a project that has been percolating for a couple of years now that really came into form last year when a reporter from the Edmonton Journal called our marching members corpulent. This kind of casual, offensive, dismissive language is something many of us in the queer community have become accustom to when thinking about our bodies.

When I came out many many years ago I would go to queer spaces and feel jealousy over those stunning thin hairless men who seemed to get all the attention and spotlight. I was constantly embarrassed by how I looked. Looking back now at how thin I was makes me realize that my pant size was never the problem. My view of myself was (and still is to a degree).

Shortly after I discovered the bear scene online. It was filled with men of all shapes and sizes. Guys who had back hair and were proud of it even (could you imagine!?!). It was a revelation. There was so much love an acceptance. But like any group the scene also came with it's own gross body shaming baggage, misogyny and racism. How sad was I to find that even in my sub-sub group my body wasn't up to standards.

When Daren and I started doing the BEEF Bear Bashes here in Edmonton our primary goal was to create a safe place for people that may not fit in the mainstream ideal of what it mean't to be a gay man. 9 years later and we still get the question. "But I am not a bear can I come?"

When we created FAB it was with the ultimate goal of fixing the gross issues with bear culture that have plagued other bear communities. The bulk of bear culture exists at this really cool intersection of queerdom. It goes across body types, skin colour and ages. Bear culture should be inclusive and empowering not a list of checkboxes and requirements.

I am proud to say that the answer to the "But I am not a bear" question for our community group has always been. It does not matter how big or small you are, how old or young you are (18+ of course), how masculine or feminine you are, your birth gender or how hairy you are. If you hold true to our values (we call them the Bear Necessities) of being Understanding, Welcoming, Accepting, Generous and Kind that you can be part of our Brotherhood of bears. You are a bear in every way that matters.

Love your FAB Body and the #iamfab hashtag (and facebook frame) are a declaration that we are going to apply those Bear Necessities to ourselves and accept what we have and who we are and most importantly be kind to ourselves when we look in the mirror every day. I see what this kind of empowering stance can do to transform a person at every single one of our events. There is immense power when a person starts down the path of loving themselves in spite of imperfections.

So this year for pride when you are standing in front of the mirror picking out your pride look, or some asshole insults your body online, think back to this post and ask yourself what would a bear do? This year's pride theme is One Pride Many Voices and I think our voice carries with it a powerful message that can apply to anyone.

Pride is born and thrives in the depths of our own hearts. For those of you like me that have struggled with self esteem, anxiety and body issues this is where the first battleground is. Be kind to yourself and remember an Alberta Bear doesn't care and neither should you. So put on whatever the fuck you want, pat yourself on the back for rocking the look and let's go out and be FABulous together.

Happy Pride everyone! WOOF!

Aaron Granley

Grand Grizzly Bear (President) FAB