BearScots: From Monthly Socials to BearScotFest2024

Scotlands Premier Bear Organisation

BearScots: An Introduction to Gay Bears

Before we continue to tell you about the fantastic BearScots, we will briefly explain to our readers what a gay bear is within the LGBTQ+ community. A “bear” refers to a hairy, heavy-set gay man who projects an image of rugged masculinity. Bears embrace natural body hair and size, providing an alternative to mainstream gay ideals of fashion, grooming, youth, and slimness.

The bear identity emerged in the 1970s as a response to the exclusion of bigger, hairier men from gay media and culture. Early bear events provided inclusive, body-positive spaces to celebrate this aesthetic. Over time, bear culture has evolved to welcome more diversity in age, body type, and interests while maintaining its core values of authentic self-expression, inclusion, and positive body image. Now, let’s explore the story of Scotland’s premier organisation for bears, cubs, chubs, and their admirer.

History and Mission

It was founded in 2000 as Scotland’s most well-known and active bear group. According to Graham Malcolm, their President, the organisation aims to provide bears with opportunities to socialise and find community beyond mainstream gay spaces. The group’s core mission is to celebrate bear culture and create welcoming events where bears can feel comfortable being their authentic, hairy selves.

Celebrating Bear Culture

BearScots hosts monthly social events in Edinburgh and Glasgow, along with the annual BearScotFest held in Edinburgh. The group provides a community for Scottish bears while welcoming hairy men and their admirers from across the UK and beyond. Their events offer fun, inclusive spaces for bears to embrace their natural bodies and connect with others.


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BearScots’ calendar highlights the annual BearScotFest, which will be held the 3rd-6th of October 2024. The multi-day event features parties, meals, contests, and more. BearScotFest offers a lively celebration of bear culture, bringing together men from across the UK and beyond. The event has grown to be Bear Scots’ biggest festival over their 20+ year history.

A popular tradition is the Mr. BearScots competition, where bears compete for titles and sashes. In 2022, Sean Beasley from Belfast was crowned Mr. BearScots. Fundraising for LGBTQ+ youth charities is also a key part of the event. BearScotFest provides fun while giving back to the community.

Fostering Community

Regular meetups in Edinburgh and Glasgow help foster a sense of community for Scottish bears year-round. These social events allow bears to connect between the annual festivals. Malcolm emphasises that BearScots provides a safe, welcoming space for hairy men to embrace their natural bodies. The organisation champions authentic self-expression, diversity, and inclusion. By carving out inclusive spaces for bears, BearScots enriches Scotland’s LGBTQ+ community. The group makes room for diversity beyond mainstream gay ideals.

Join The Thriving BearScots Community

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Join the growing BearScots community. With over 5,000 Facebook followers, 2,000 Twitter followers, and an active mailing list, BearScots provides a warm, welcoming home for bears across Scotland.

Sign up on their website to join the mailing list and stay updated about upcoming BearScots events and BearScotFest2024 in Edinburgh from October 3rd to 6th.


With their mission of inclusion, body positivity, and celebrating the bear identity, BearScots has become a valued home for Scottish bears. From monthly socials to the flagship BearScotFest, the group sustains Scotland’s thriving bear community. They promote self-love and authenticity with fun, uplifting events across the country.

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