Nick McGlynn looking at the camera

Nick McGlynn’s new book on UK Bear Spaces launches on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia 2024

Dr Nick McGlynn’s new book explores experiences and attitudes around the ‘Bear’ community of big and hairy gay men.

The book launch will take place on 17 May 2024 – International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. Founded in 2004, the day commonly shortened to ‘IDAHOBIT’ is a global initiative aimed to raise awareness about discrimination, violence and challenges faced by the lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer (LGBTQ+) community.

Dr McGlynn wrote his book, Bodies and Boundaries of UK Bear Spaces, following research into the UK’s community of ‘Bears’, a term referring to big and hairy gay men who typically present in a more ‘masculine’ way, and who make up one of the UK’s largest gay male subcultures. Drawing on historical and contemporary writing and including new empirical research into pubs, clubs and events, the book cautions against one-size-fits-all accounts of Bears, and reveals the complexity and variety of Bear bodies, spaces and communities.

Published by Routledge as part of their Transforming LGBTQ Lives series and written for both academic and non-academic readers, the book combines an engaging conversational style with insightful first-hand quotes from focus groups and interviews to help explain new ways of looking at Bears or ‘Bear-y’ men. The publication is both available to purchase, or view and download online for free.

Bodies and boundaries book cover

As well as addressing a huge gap in research into the Bear community generally, the book also aims to take a more geographic approach to Bears. Dr Nick McGlynn, Senior Lecturer in University of Brighton’s School of Applied Sciences, and Deputy Director of its Centre for Transforming Sexuality and Gender, said:

“Almost everything that’s been written about Bears has focused on the USA. There’s a good reason for that – Bear started in the States – but more and more writers have pointed out global differences in ‘Bear’ as a phenomenon. My book shows that it’s worth thinking about the UK’s Bear scene as distinct from that of the US. It also demonstrates that we can’t just focus on London all the time, with Bear scenes of smaller UK cities having their own features.”

The book launch is open to all, hosted by the Centre for Transforming Sexuality and Gender and will take place on Friday 17 May 2024 (4-5.30pm) in room M2 at the Grand Parade building at the University of Brighton. Dr McGlynn will discuss the book in conversation with Professor Stephen Maddison. Light refreshments will be served.

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