Gay bear refers to a burly gay man with a hirsute body and face. Chinese gay bear men are highly homogeneous and strictly emphasize a uniform bear appearance; however, obesity is an obvious health issue in this population. This study aims to explore the Chinese gay bear men's inner conflicts between bear identity and health concerns. Eleven Chinese gay bear men including four Taiwanese, two mainland Chinese, two Hong Kong, two Malaysian, and one Singaporean were interviewed. The study used a thematic analysis approach and found three coping strategies including (a) Eat healthy but maintain a minimal bear standard; (b) Eat like a bear but go to gym and take physical exam; (c) Reframe the meaning of being a bear or reduce the need of being a bear. This study expects to increase health professionals' knowledge about Chinese gay bear men's inner conflicts between identity and health and to suggest coping strategies for health professionals when addressing this population's health issues.


Chinese, gay bear, identity, obesity, coping strategies

Author Bio(s)

Chichun Lin, Psy.D., Registered Clinical Counsellor Approved by British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors, AAMFT Approved Supervisor, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the The University of British Columbia, Vancouver. His research is focused on mental health issues (e.g., Anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and Suicidality) and sexual health issues (e.g., Sexual Debut, STI, and Sexual Relationship) among marginalized populations (e.g., LGBTQ2S+, Immigrants, and People living with HIV). He can be reached at chichun.lin@ubc.ca.

Darren D. Moore, Ph.D., LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor, is an Associate Professor and Program Director in the master’s program in Marriage and Family Therapy at Touro University Worldwide. His research is focused on obesity, weight loss, eating disorders, and related addictions, with an emphasis on health disparities among Men, African American Families, and other marginalized populations. He can be reached at dmoore@family-institute.org.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.