The Cuban Bears Club

Cuban Bears
CUBAN BEARS.  Photos: Yailin Alfaro

By Yailin Alfaro  (OnCuba) 

HAVANA TIMES — The 1970s brought with them different social movements calling for social liberation, particularly in the United States. One of these groups was called the California Bears, which gathered homosexual men interested in maintaining an image of rugged masculinity.

This past July, in Havana’s neighborhood of Cerro, a group of young Cuban men decided to join this movement, creating an organization named the Cuban Bears Club.

osos 7_yailin-ALFARO-755x490An initiative of group founder Samy Bear, the Club de Osos de Cuba (Cuban Bears Club) call for getting past the gay stereotype of the effeminate man who waxes off his hair and puts on makeup. Rather, they lean towards anything that denotes natural masculine qualities: hairy bodies, beards and a normal weight (preferably toward the hefty).

Like their counterparts around the world, the members of this new group divided themselves into the following “categories”:

  1. Chaser Bears: those who do not have the physical characteristics and do not fit into the above description of the bear, but who feel an attraction towards bears in the group.
  2. Osos-Cubanos 6_Yailin-ALFARO-755x490Cubs: the youngest members of the group.
  3. Daddy Bears: a mature bear who maintains a relationship with a cub. They are seen as guides and protectors.
  4. Wolf Bears: a slimmer bear who isn’t exactly fit but does not put on weight carelessly, as the other bears in the group do.
  5. Grizzly Bear: A dominant bear of extreme stature in height, weight, and/or hairiness

Currently, the group has twenty members, scattered across the island, and continues to receive membership applications through social networks, impelled by the hope to create a new space for members of the gay community who love their ruggedness, masculinity and natural physique.

Among their goals is to offer each other support, through get-togethers where members can help one another and have fun in the “pack.”