Bears Spend Weekend in Chicago

These bears and cubs don't have anything to do with Chicago sports teams. Hundreds gathered in Chicago to celebrate Bear Pride 15 ... ... which ran concurrently with the International Mr. Leather convention, now in its 20th year. Gary Iriza was last year's winner of the IML competition. Gary Iriza was last year's winner of the IML competition. More than 50 contestants from around the globe competed for the International Mr. Leather title this year. The bear claw tattoo was especially significant during the weekend celebrations. Hirsute, husky and homosexual men of a certain ilk are affectionately known as "bears" and "cubs." And they like it. But the bears were busy having more fun than a barrel of monkeys. The Bear community celebrates those men who do not fall into the stereotypical image of gay men. So, for four days over the holiday weekend, these burly, bearded gentlemen took to the streets of Chicago. With events over for this year, all the attendees walked away from Chicago with memories of fun and frolic, while more than a handful of unsuspecting Chicagoans may have a few interesting and memorable stories to share as well.

8 photos
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Ben Sawyer
Hundreds gathered in Chicago to celebrate Bear Pride 15 ...
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BullmanX
... which ran concurrently with the International Mr. Leather convention, now in its 20th year.
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BullmanX
Gary Iriza was last year's winner of the IML competition. Gary Iriza was last year's winner of the IML competition. More than 50 contestants from around the globe competed for the International Mr. Leather title this year.
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Carlos Deleon
The bear claw tattoo was especially significant during the weekend celebrations.
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Carlos Deleon
Hirsute, husky and homosexual men of a certain ilk are affectionately known as "bears" and "cubs." And they like it.
6/8
Ben Sawyer
The Bear community celebrates those men who do not fall into the stereotypical image of gay men.
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Ben Sawyer
So, for four days over the holiday weekend, these burly, bearded gentlemen took to the streets of Chicago.
8/8
Ben Sawyer
With events over for this year, all the attendees walked away from Chicago with memories of fun and frolic, while more than a handful of unsuspecting Chicagoans may have a few interesting and memorable stories to share as well.
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