%% Image selected per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1295544602067162800
%% Please do not change or remove without starting a new thread.
[[quoteright:350:[[http://wolf.fang.or.jp/kazuma/ http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kazuma_bear_778.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:A muscled bear and a musclebear.]]

->'''Patti [=LaBelle=]''': Stan, did you know that, in some countries, the bear is considered a demigod?\\
'''Stan''': No, I didn't, Patti. Did you know that in the gay community, a hairy man is also known as a "Bear"?\\
'''Patti''': Uh… no.
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad''

In gay slang, a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bear_%28gay_culture%29 "bear"]] is a ManlyGay man with a CarpetOfVirility--and not always just on their chests. Very often bears are also [[BigBeautifulMan voluptuously heavy set]] and at least middle-aged, but these are not definitive requirements. Exceptionally thin bears are often known as "wolves", hairless bears are known as "otters", younger bears are "cubs" or "pups", Asian bears are "pandas", and especially muscular bears are often called "muscle bears" or "bulls". A "husbear" is a term some men use for their bearish boyfriends or husbands.

Bears don't appear as often in mainstream entertainment, where [[QueerAsTropes gay stereotypes]] [[SmallReferencePools more familiar]] [[LowestCommonDenominator to the audience]] predominate. But bears are common in the gay community and in LGBT-made works, and hold a beloved niche in gay porn and {{Bara}}. Where bears do appear, they announce themselves by their body type appearance, as the Bear is as much about RuleOfSexy as it is about subculture.

''Usually'' a subtrope of ManlyGay, and the aesthetic opposite of TheTwink, though cubs are similar in disposition. Frequently overlaps with BigBeautifulMan, CoolOldGuy, LeatherMan or PettingZooPeople. In fact this trope overlaps with BigBeautifulMan ''so often'' that some people would consider them the same trope--except that technically this trope is about body hair and the other trope is about body fat.

Though this trope always ''involves'' gay men, the targets of bearish interest need not always be gay. This trope can apply to straight men who gay men acknowledge as attractive for their bearish looks. For this to be objectively applied, it has to be deliberate in a story. For RealLife examples, the straight men have to have acknowledged their bear fanbase. All examples solely acknowledged by gay fans should go in LGBTFanbase.

For actual bears, see BearsAreBadNews, BearyFunny, BearyFriendly and PandaingToTheAudience.

Not to be confused with ''Film/TheBear'', or the Belgian Malinois TeamPet from ''Series/PersonOfInterest''.


[[folder: Anime & Manga]]
* There's an entire genre for this. It's called {{Bara}}. (Despite the assumptions of some Western people, the word "bara" is '''not''' a Nipponisation of the word "bear", although many Japanese gay men are entirely aware of the coincidence.)
* Mike Flanagan in ''Manga/MyBrothersHusband'' is a big, hairy, masculine guy who fulfills all the bear stereotypes.

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/{{Circles}}'', Arthur is a gay bear in his 40s who is also… [[PettingZooPeople a bear]].
* Most versions of ''ComicBook/{{Wolverine}}'' fit the trope, although they are not canonically gay. Then again, the "mutants as persecuted minority" theme makes a connection. Wolverine's [[{{ComicBook/Daken}} psychopath of a son]], no less beefy, has slept with both genders.
** Howlett, an alternate reality version of Wolverine appearing in ''X-Treme X-Men'' is also a bear, as is his canon lover Hercules. ''Get used to it.''

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Used in a GettingCrapPastTheRadar moment in ''WesternAnimation/InsideOut''; Fear and Disgust have a brief argument over whether or not there are [[BearsAreBadNews bears]] in Riley's new home town of UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco. Anger chimes in to say he saw a big, hairy guy who looked like a bear.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/ClerksII'', Kinky Kelly's assistant ([[spoiler:later revealed to be his partner]]) fits this trope to a T, though he's never explicitly mentioned as being gay.
* The Spanish film ''Cachorro'' (Bear Cub in English) is about a gay bear who has to take care of his 9-year old nephew as a favor for his sister.
* Pretty much the whole point to the film [[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1426320/ Bear City]].
* Another Spanish film [[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0856776/ Chuecatown]] (Boystown in English) features two bears as protagonists. Arguably, they overlap with [[BigBeautifulMan Big Beautiful Men]].
* In ''Film/TrueStories'', Louis Fyne (John Goodman) states numerous times he has a very consistent "panda bear" shape.

* In ''Literature/TheseWordsAreTrueAndFaithful,'' a writer at a general-interest newspaper attempts to explain the origin of the term and gets it completely wrong.

[[folder: Live-Action Television]]
* In an episode of ''Series/AshesToAshes'', Alex deduces the gangster they're investigating is into bears, and Ray (a noted homophobe implied to have latent homosexual tendencies) has to flirt with him in order to further the case.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': Lord Renly Baratheon's nickname on this [[http://www.thebacklot.com/got-men-15-of-the-hottest-guys-of-game-of-thrones/05/2012/ entertainment website aimed at gay men]] is the Otter King. The character has a hairy chest, but the audience never sees it because his lover Ser Loras Tyrell finds him more attractive with a smooth torso. Renly doesn't really "get" the smooth thing--he thinks it makes him look like a young boy--but he's willing to do it for Loras.
* On ''Series/{{Glee}}'', this trope is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] and discussed by [[spoiler:Kurt and David Karofsky,]] who we find out in season three has taken to hanging out at a local gay bar and been dubbed a bear cub because of his youth and rather burly stature. Kurt, apparently not knowing anything about the term, jokingly asks if he's a cub because he "looks like Yogi."
* Max on ''Series/HappyEndings'', although, in his words, he's "more of a cub". A Season 3 episode fully Averts this by showing he doesn't fully fit into any one gay subculture, having traits from several of them.
* One of the sketches in ''Series/TheKidsInTheHall'' involves a man encountering a Bear, but following the advice on what to do when encountering an ''actual'' bear (don't make eye contact, play dead, etc.).
* One episode of ''Series/ModernFamily'' has Mitchell and Cam look for a gay club to go on New Years Eve. As they are comparing their situation to that of Literature/{{Goldilocks}}, as they hadn't yet found one that was "just right", three [[TheBear bears]] walk out of one of the bars and the guys share an amused look.
* Recurring character Thor from ''Series/NurseJackie'' is a gay bear.
* In one episode of ''[[Series/ThirtyRock 30Rock]]'', Jack decides to seduce his wife's gay interior designer so he can get his way on their home's wallpaper. He explains to Liz:
-->"Do you know what a prize I am in the gay community? There's a term for it. I'm a bear. And I'm a daddy. I'm a [[Literature/{{Goldilocks}} daddy bear]]."
** Also brought up in another episode when Jack, desperate to sabotage the CEO's heir to claim the role for himself, is told a rumor:
-->"Hank's son is gay? How gay, on a scale from [[ManlyMenCanHunt bear hunting]] to [[AllGaysArePromiscuous hunting bears]]?"
* The gay couple in the neighboring cabin in the ''Series/TwoBrokeGirls'' episode "And the Bear Problem."
** Big Mary from Max's pastry school combines bear looks with a very campy way of speaking.
* Referenced in ''Series/{{Warehouse 13}}'' Artie (hairy, rotund, and middle aged) was about to admit that he loved someone (a girl) when he figured out which artifact was causing this week's trouble. He uses the Jewish name, which sounds like a man's name. The (older) man with him responds. "I didn't know you were homosexual. Are you what they call a Bear?"
* In the eighth season of ''Series/WillAndGrace'', Karen's boyfriend Malcolm (also played by Alec Baldwin) says of the charity carnival Will's organizing, "I can't go to the carnival without a woman. The gays would be all over a bear like me."
* In ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'', [[RatedMForManly Ron]] looks for a clue Leslie left behind for finding Ben's gift at Pawnee's local gay bar and many of the patrons are clearly checking him out due to his bear-like looks (though he doesn't notice).
* Lampshaded on ''Series/TheMuppets'', when Fozzie Bear talks about his dating life:
-->"When your online profile says 'Passionate bear searching for love,' you get a lot of wrong responses. [{{beat}}] Well...[[NotThatTheresAnythingWrongWithThat not]] ''wrong'', just wrong for me."
* In the Canadian mockumentary "Series/TrailerParkBoys", Randy is the always shirtless Assistant Trailer Park Supervisor (as wearing a shirt will give him a rash) and he also happens to have a very large, hairy gut for which he is frequently ridiculed. However, many on the show consider him attractive and he has many romantic involvements throughout the series, including a long term relationship with Jim and also dates Officer Ted at one point.
* On ''Series/BritainsGotTalent'', one of the acts that came on was "The Dreambears" - three husky gents in Union Jack-pattern spandex dancing while lip-synching to "It's Raining Men"

[[folder: Music]]
* ''Music/TheBigDipper''. He describes his genre as 'gay bear rap'
* A FilkSong from Seattle-based filker Commander Claus (a gay man himself), changed the kid's song "My Uncle Walter Goes Dancing with Bears" to "My Uncle Walter Goes ''Dating'' the Bears," and is told from the point of view of an embarrassed nephew who is fine with his uncle's coming out, but boggled by sights like ''"There's ten in the hot tub, giving each other backrubs."''
* Check out Music/LouReed's references to bears, in the song ''Andy's Chest''. The album ''{{Transformer}}'' got a ''lot'' of crap past the Music/{{Radar}} and onto radio stations, who simply didn't get the references.
* Babydaddy of Music/ScissorSisters publicly identifies as a bear.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* Jūichi in ''VisualNovel/{{Morenatsu}}'' is simultaneously TheBear, [[{{Kemono}} the bear]], a {{Bara}} role, and a ''high school student''. He looks more like a 30something [[YoungerThanTheyLook than someone who's supposed to be 16 or 17]].
* Zangief from ''Franchise/StreetFighter'' is possibly one of the oldest examples of this in video games. He has been [[AmbiguouslyGay hinted to be gay]] enough that audiences gay and straight have taken notice, and his gay bearish appeal has long since been secured.
** Three letters: S P D. An attack where he grabs you into a standing 69 position.
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'':
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'', Sabin refers to himself as a bear during the cut scene on Mount Kolts -- this is HilariousInHindsight, [[FridgeBrilliance even if intentional]]. Depending on the artist, Sabin certainly has more of the body type for it, with Amano tending towards the hairier with BadassBeard and CG art tending towards the smoother and beardless. None of this necessarily means Sabin is actually ''gay'' (it's still entirely possible he's not), but that he's a "bear" with a fittingly bearish body type. This, along with the fact that he's one of the only adult male main cast (along with Stragos) who is never shown expressing any kind of interest in women, has brought him more LGBTFanbase by far than any other male character in the game.
** Mukki and his 'bubbies' in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', a beefy male prostitute. [[GayOption Who Cloud can sleep with.]] Cloud also jokingly refers to the burly, attractive Barret as a 'bear' in one memorable line.
** Considering the [[OneGenderRace all-male]] nature of the [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI Galka]] and the strong implications that they are [[EveryoneIsGay predominantly gay]] (or at least were during their time alone without females for centuries), the fact that ''every'' Galka has at least a [[BadassBeard chinstrap beard]] immediately makes the whole race ''very'' bearish, with shades of BigBeautifulMan as well.
* Referenced in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', where [[StraightGay Cortez]] and [[HeroicBuild Vega]] [[VitriolicBestBuds are arguing]] about which ground vehicle is the best, and Vega expresses his fondness for a tank called the Grizzly. Cortez snarks that he ''would'' be one to like something called that. [[EntendreFailure Vega doesn't get it]].
* A cosmetic item in ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' called the "Triad Trinket" (an open-collared shirt with two gold necklaces hanging on the chest) has two styles-- one is called "Bear", and it gives Sniper, Spy, Engineer, and Heavy all chest hair. [[HuskyRusskie Heavy's]] shirt is too small, and even exposes some of his bare belly.

[[folder: Web Comics]]
* Josh from ''Webcomic/HijinksEnsue'' is a self-identified bear, of the bald+pudgy variety.
* Creator/CaptainGerBear's ''Webcomic/{{Grant}}'' comic has two bearish main characters. And as the artist's moniker hints at, he draws a lot of bearish men.
* Skoll from ''Webcomic/ChasingIce'' falls into the muscle-bear category.
* A frequently used trope in ''Webcomic/BlurTheLines'' due to the [[AuthorAppeal author's]] [[BigBeautifulMan preference]] in men.
* Discussed in [[http://gqutiecomics.com/page/4 Gqutie]], which proposes "Mongoose" as a genderqueer varient.

[[folder: Web Original]]
* Too many examples to comprehensively list here. There is a huge presence of the bear community online, and there are a lot of artists who draw bear art, everything from tame to erotic to porn.
* WebVideo/WhereTheBearsAre is about 3 bears (and the whole bear community by extension).
* Paul from WebAnimation/EddsWorld is accepted as this in the fanbase.

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' where Homer befriends a gay couple, he is [[MistakenForGay mistaken as a bear]] while out in Springfield's [[{{Gayborhood}} gay district]].
* On ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'', Peter watches an episode of ''The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams'' where Grizzly Adams and his grizzly bear companion Gentle Ben are [[HoYayShipping an actual gay bear couple]].
* On ''WesternAnimation/TheClevelandShow'', while Cleveland and the rest of the gang ventured around New York City, Tim entered a bar he thought was for literal bears. Turns out it was for Bears.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xs9PG-XAlsI Mascumax]], a villain from ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls''.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/BobsBurgers'' episode "Turkey in a Can", Bob is MistakenForGay by the deli counter clerk, who tries to hook him up with a friend of his who's into "sloppy bears", i.e, Bears who are both overweight and not overly concerned with their hygiene. However, given that Bob replies that he's [[AmbiguouslyBi mostly straight]], that might not be so much of a mistake.
* Subverted in ''WesternAnimation/BojackHorseman''. Bit character Jose Guererro is a homosexual and is literally a bear, but he isn't depicted any more testosterone-fueled or muscular than his of his lovers.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* [[GayConservative Conservative]] blogger [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Sullivan Andrew Sullivan]], who has the body size, body hair, and beard to pull it off, has publicly self-identified as a bear since [[http://www.salon.com/2003/08/01/bears/ a Salon article in 2003]], and occasionally posts articles regarding the Bear community on his blog, [[http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/ The Dish]]. He also regularly comments on beards (a major element of Bear culture, but he seems to like it when any man grows a beard, whether he is gay or straight, large or small--he sees beard-growing as more natural).
* Sullivan's liberal counterpart is [[http://www.joemygod.com Joe Jervis]], another gay blogger known for his bearish build.
* Director Creator/KevinSmith acknowledges his bear fan base and has interviewed with bear media.
* Chef and ''Series/TopChef'' judge Tom Colicchio is straight (having been married to a woman since 2001), but has acknowledged his bear fan base on air, has done interviews with bear media and was briefly scheduled to ride on the bear float in the 2010 LA Pride Parade (he cancelled due to scheduling conflicts).
* Retired rugby star [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Cohen_%28rugby_union%29 Ben Cohen]] is a beloved straight ally to the GLBT community due to his anti-bullying efforts, while his hairy chest, stocky build, and boyish face make him a sex symbol to bears and general gay men alike, which he uses to his advantage such as selling calendars for charity.
* Pennsylvania state representative [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Sims Brian Sims]] is the first openly gay elected state legislator in Pennsylvania history. In addition to pursuing GLBT rights in his home state, he is also a member of UsefulNotes/{{Philadelphia}}'s bear community and has a substantial Facebook following that owes no small part to his sex appeal. While he does keep his pictures classy due to his sensitive position, this arguably [[ForbiddenFruit adds to his appeal]].