Updated: Aug 13, 2018
No seriously, it does.
Why? Cos without a community working together Manbears, and the events we organise, wouldn't exist.
Anyone who has met me (Andrew) will know how insanely passionate I am about the community and what it stands for. For me it was a personal journey, that quite literally saved my bacon, and has continued to do so. I will always endeavour to pay it forward, though at times it can be tough.
In more ways than one, the bear community is an immovable rock. It weathers with age and time, and changes shape, but it never leaves. It's always there. There is a core understanding and value of WTGAF that if you actually look for it, is the centre of most groups thinking.
People get VERY hung up on the labels but we still use them. It's HOW you use them that's important. Labels should be used to celebrate and demonstrate our diversity in size, gender, and race. Why shy away from it? The HOW is often where people go wrong. Muscle bears are used in advertising and told this isn't representative (it isn't - but it gets you hits, advertising 101) , skinny hairless twinks / chasers are told they are not welcome and so on.
Well, today, I make a stand and say: ALL ARE WELCOME. Manbears want to welcome ALL MEN. Have a safe space, be who you are. Do what you want to do. A twink likes a bear? welcome them in and show them how fun bears can be. Muscle bears in advertising? volunteer to help change that. Offer yourself as a model. Or if you don't feel confident, recommend someone who is.
Community is about listening, talking, engaging. Being open, being seen, being yourself. It's not a set of rules. The Bear Community is NOT a religion. Guidelines are there, but damn, like everything in this world it's open to interpretation. Try and stay positive when doing that, think about those who want to be involved but are often too shy or scared to say something.
Are you the type that thinks, "well no one will like me," "no one will talk to me", "I'll just be ignored". Well, unfortunately that happens. But it's not the community's fault. I've been to events before, stood there and not engaged with a single person. It can be soul destroying. So, what to do? Utilise the resources around you. "The Apps", whilst mainly sex-based, are a great way to break the ice. Attend social events, and ask. Hell, even drop an email to us about wanting to attend, and we'll make sure you have support. Don't just expect it all to happen. Community is a two way street. You get what you give. And as I'm giving a lot, someone should be getting a lot. And that's you!
The community is there. It gets a negative brush from time to time, but I will always stand up and fight for it. I will make sure you know how GOOD it CAN be.
We have such sights to show you. (no I'm not gonna drag you to a hellscape!)
Come join the fun, check out local events and get talking.
Personally, I look forward to meeting you, and hugging you. I give great hugs!
Until next time.
The Manbears Team