Bears You Should Know 2019: Check Them Out

The list for 2019’s Bears You Should Know has officially arrived.

This is the third 3rd annual edition (first done on Manhattan Digest then on Instinct Magazine) that highlights men in our community from all over the globe who are doing something worth noting.

The notable things that these men do go beyond their physical attractiveness. That’s not the purpose of this list. My goal in doing this each year is to find charismatic and interesting individuals who are excelling not only in their professions but in life as well.

Each of these guys possesses something inspiring, something that hopefully our entire community can view as something positive. That was the case for the 2017 and 2018 group and is certainly the same for this year.

All the guys gave interesting tidbits on who they are and what they have done for the community. Here are, in no particular order, the list for 2019’s Bears You Should Know.

Kade Schmidt. Mount Vernon, Ohio

Small town gay + big time heart and a keen eye for something sweet. That's what you get with Kade, whose profession as an innkeeper at the Mount Vernon Inn in the town of the same name has helped him become a massive star on social media. Instead of posting the usual selfies many of us do, Kade fills his social media with delicious breakfast pastries that are readily available at his inn. His "underwhelming" baking videos (his words, not mine) have caught so much attention that he's actually been in a ton of local promotional videos. Oh, and he's cute! A guy who can cook and is adorable... sign me up. 

Corey Craig. New York, New York

Corey and his DJ’ing skills have earned him worldwide recognition for several years now that go far and beyond our humble abode of Manhattan. 2019 alone will find him continuing to tour with Joe Whittaker’s legendary DILF PARTY as well as Daniel Nardicio’s infamous Underwear Parties in Fire Island, both of which are extremely body-positive. He’s also gotten his health in check recently, losing over 50 pounds so far thanks to the Orbera Balloon which has made him look more fabulous than ever. More on Corey here.

Randy Addison. Split between Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia

Randy, just like Corey, excels at more than just one thing. He’s a well-known photographer and owner of Helmet Hairworx, the latter of which he’s been behind for 15 years. His mission in Helmet Hairworx is to serve his diverse community with “high intention.” This includes them donating services and products to many schools, causes, and organizations in Atlanta. His photography is simply stunning as well, as he’s able to masterfully capture each of his subjects behind the lens beautifully. More on Randy here.

Sean Mulligan. Orlando, Florida

If parties are your thing and Florida is a favorite vacation spot for you, then Sean is your guy. He was the co-founder and organizer of Orlando Bear Bash from 2010-2013, which helped raise funds for several local charities like The Center Orlando (provides services to the Central Florida LGBT community) and The Hope and Help Center of Center Florida (provides health and wellness through free HIV testing and referrals for STD screenings). He’s also an outspoken social media personality who calls out bigoted people within our community and helps ones who have been ostracized due to their race, being trans, and more. More on Sean here.

Leonardo Gutierrez. Santiago, Chile

Gay clothing lines tend to only market to skinnier dudes, with many men feeling left out in the process. Leonardo did a complete 180 on that and created his own amazing line called Oso Apparel, which is dedicated to the bear and bear-aficionado in mind. His creativity in each piece of clothing is simply awe-inspiring, especially with The Super Smash Brothers series that takes characters like Bowser, Luigi and more and gives them a fantastic gay appeal that resonates with our LGBTQ community. Oso Apparel has gotten so popular that they debuted a limited Pride collection last June… where 100 percent of the proceeds went to the LA LGBT Center. They will also be making their way to Folsom later this year. Sky seems to be the limit for Leonardo and his booming brand. More on Leonardo here.

Hunter Harden. Salt Lake City, Utah

Hunter is the name on everyone’s lips. RuPaul’s Drag Race legends Trixie Mattel and Ginger Minj both admitted to him being their man crush… and can anyone blame them? Hunter has risen in the ranks in the world of male modeling, shooting for legendary men like Michael Alago and working with companies like Marek+Richard. The 32-year-old, who is planning on starting his own podcast soon that will discuss all facets about the gay community, is also passionate about body positivity when it comes to men embracing their body hair. I can see this turning into a movement for men who are furry given just how damn good he looks with it. More on Hunter here.

Charlie Harding. Palm Springs, California

Charlie is a man of many swords. He’s a Proud SAG-Aftra actor, the star of UNDERGROUND for HERE! TV (gay travel series focusing on fun places to eat, kinks, where to cruise, etc), lead singer in the gay band Probe7 with fellow Bears You Should Know Brent Heinze (80’s synth influenced music with a primary message of inspiration and sex positivity), host and emcee for various events, painter of modern abstract art utilizing recycled canvases, general manager of Varsity Gay League Palm Springs and more. Does this dude ever sleep? Interesting thing is that he’s great at all that he does. Consider him the Harvard grad of being gay. More on Charlie here.

Jesse Miklos. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

If they ever do an interior design series with a hot and hairy dude, then Jesse should be its star. Jesse remodels houses for several members of the gay community in Broward County with one of his friends, where his goal for each is to make each of their dreams come true when all is said and done. So real estate, happiness and a cute guy? Sold. More on Jesse here.  

Landon Ang. San Francisco, California

Cute construction worker cub in San Fran? Yes please! Landon is one of the nicest and friendliest men you will ever meet, who also happens to be an incredibly hard worker professionally. He’s currently finishing up the last phase of a new subway project in SF, helping to develop a rich, culturally gay city even further. He’s also a major advocate for more visibility of Asian men in the gay community, especially the bear portion as he represented his race in a major photo shoot for Provincetown Bear Week and marched in the 2016 Taiwan Pride Parade to promote the marriage equality vote there. More on Landon here.

Terry Blas. Portland, Oregon

Terry is one of the most talented illustrators and artists out there. The Portland local is the brains behind the popular web series Briar Hollow, which has been going on for almost a decade at this point. Not only that, but he has also worked on the comics for iconic television series like Adventure Time and Rick and Morty. His first book, Dead Weight, a queer murder mystery at a fat camp, is out now and his second one, Hotel Dare, which is a Mexican themed, fantasy adventure, will be available in April. His hope is that by bringing visibility to the largest minority group in the country (Latinos) and by having queer characters in his work that it will help people who feel like they haven't been seen or represented feel otherwise. More on Terry here.

Adam Ross. San Francisco, California

If watching a handsome guy curate some incredible stories in a fun city, then Adam Ross is your guy. His fiction and non-fiction storytelling is something that has been in Adam’s life for several years, dating all the way back to 4th grade. The stories he tells are primarily gay-themed, however they are ones that straight people can enjoy and appreciate so they don’t feel like the kid that doesn’t belong. There’s a lot going on for Adam in his burgeoning career, like turning his real-life story into a dramatized short film. It’s about how he discovered that his biological father was a popular actor of the 1950’s and 60’s named Hugh O’Brian of Wyatt Earp fame. It’s something that his mother didn’t even know until she told him two years ago. Plot twist! More on Adam here.

Jason Radlinger. Washington D.C.

Like a business daddy? Jason is your guy. His 9-5 involves doing marketing strategy for several live events as well as online training, webinars and professional certifications for the banking industry. He’s also been a massive support in our community by volunteering with charities that focus on bettering our brethren. On top of all of that, Jason happens to be partnered with the super talented chef Jonathan Bardzik, who was featured in our 2017 list! He calls himself Jonathan’s “emotional support” and “professional dishwasher”. Hehe.

Ryan Acosta. Miami, FL

Ryan has made gay history at only 27 years old by being the first ever Mister Key West Bear. He is working hard at setting a standard for future titleholders after him while continuing to represent the bear community in Key West to the fullest. This includes hosting events that will celebrate guys who are “fuzzy, chunky and sexy” according to him. He also goes out there to fight the HIV stigma that plagues our community by trying to educate the public on what undetectable (untransmittable) really means. His hope is that the stigma related to the disease will soon be a thing of the past and people living with it can live in a world that doesn’t include any fear of ignorance. More on Ryan here.

Brent Heinze. Palm Springs, CA

Brent has been a psychotherapist for over 13 years now with an emphasis on working with gay men and non-traditional relationships. Outside of his fascinating career he’s owns two non-profit organizations: Lokusdor Productions, which creates creative fundraising opportunities through event productions like live music festivals and fetish balls to support LGBTQ and sex-positive charitable organizations, and Perspective Shift, which provides educational and community-focused workshops, groups and social activities designed to address issues impacting gay men. He’s also one half of the gay band Probe7 with Charlie Harding, which was mentioned earlier. More on Brent here.

Andrew Padilla. Fort Lee, NJ.

We need more LGBT rock musicians in this world, and Andrew could definitely be the next big thing in that arena. He’s currently working on an album with his group Close The Circle that is expected to take flight very soon. The album, according to Andrew, is a combination of his group’s lives and the life of what society is dealing with in its current timeline, but with some story driven compositions that people will want to hear. Music is something that is quite the passion for him, as he pours his heart out on stage each and every time he gets up there. It’s something he considers “therapeutic.” More on Andrew here.

This post was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.

Is Weight the Reason Why the Bear Community is So Split Up?

The advancements the bear community has made over the years in terms of visibility, both in the gay and straight world, are profound given how we had been treated like outcasts up until recently. Mainstream media has now moved to cover us in many different facets on television, music, and the movies and the terminology and lingo we have developed are now used across previous boundaries. Another advancement has been that our themed events seem to grow larger in size with each passing year, allowing for more to experience it all in a grander capacity. 

The increasing number of bears in the community has also developed a sort of "line in the sand" when it comes to the dare I say issue of weight in our community.  This line and subsequent division are aspects that are very visible in the bear communities of many cities, an issue that is hard to turn a blind eye to.

Although a topic that has been muffled over the years, the division has become more pronounced as I navigate social gatherings, outlets, and more in New York City and beyond.  A certain incident comes to mind that occurred a couple of years ago.  Two different major bear events were happening on the same night, one in midtown New York City and the other all the way in the Financial District.  I chose to attend the one downtown, which catered more towards a mixed group of stereotypical "bear" types, including husky, otter, muscle, and more.  The following week, when I looked at pics of the other event and its attendees, it seemed to have been very muscle heavy as I had a hard time finding anyone who didn't have a six pack or an Adonis-like figure.

There's nothing wrong with either side.  We should embrace our bodies regardless of who we are no matter what, but it's very noticeable how weight plays into causing a separation in the bear community, just as race and many other factors.  Do we tend to gravitate toward men who look just like us, or does fear drive one's ability to chat with someone who doesn't look like them?

A little while ago me and a former FWB (friend with benefits) talked about weight and bears and stigmas. He was in pretty good shape yet had a thing for huskier type of dudes (me).  He mentioned that admitting something like this, being attracted to bigger men, was "coming out of the closet for a second time," as it comes with predictable judgment from men who look like him, the fit guys.  Is the fear of the unknown from the people you surround yourself with the reason why seclusion and self-doubt happens in the first place?

When I attend events that showcase all different types of bears, I embrace it.  Hopefully events like these happen all over the country, however in Manhattan and other major cities that I have visited it is somewhat minimal.  I asked my friends what their thoughts are on this, and the answers were quite colorful, both in agreement and disagreement.

"It's been this way. And they do mingle. Some people have their cliques. Other have no hang-ups. Just depends who you’re with but it's everywhere."

"It's interesting you say that. I tend to like bears, but if I go to some kind of bear event I go in expecting that the bears will tend to gravitate towards each other and gloss over me. Not a judgment or complaint or anything, I just always chalked it up to everyone having a type that they like. But it didn't occur to me that they were subcategorizing among themselves."

"I mean, is it THAT strange that a subculture built on body type would then break off into other subcategories? Though I sometimes bemoan the lack of a large gay population here, it forces us to befriend and accept gays of all body types."

"Pretty much it's just comes down to sexual attraction. Guys go to bars to hook up, or at least window shop, as well as to hang out with their friends, many of whom they have previously hooked up with, let's be honest... The "clone" attraction (like attracted to like) is nothing new in the gay community."

"I have a very diverse group of friends with different body types. At events we hang out, I like people based on their personality and are they fun, do I enjoy their company? Never once was it "oh they have muscles", or "oh that belly is huge." I think that when you let down those walls or barriers, that's when you can appreciate people for who they are, and yer quality of life will be enriched for it, that's when you will feel sense of community."

So, what does this break down to exactly when it comes to weight?  Is it a "clique" thing?  Is it really based on sexual attraction?  Or is it something else that divides us when we really should be united in all fronts?  What are your thoughts?

This post was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.

Why You Should Date a Dude with a Belly

As the gay community continues to become bigger and bigger, so does some of our waistlines. Many of us (myself included) enjoy having a belly for several different reasons that go beyond us shading the f**k out of guys with six packs (this has nothing to do with you, so go back to slurping down your "brotein" shake during your fifth hour at the gym, muscle studs). 

Something that has really taken shape (no pun intended) since the millennium is how the bear community has sort of become the normal body type that is not only liked... but desired. Bear comes in many different forms, however this one deals strictly for guys with size. The ones who have that extra spare tire when you need it. The guys who actually want to go to dinner and not complain about having to work out afterwards.

I'm sure there are many of you out there who have thought about dating a husky dude: why not, we are awesome! So in case any of you are teeter-tottering on enjoying a fistful of tater tots with a sexy, thick guy and need a couple of reasons to push you over that judgmental edge... fear not, because we got five of them!

Check out the five reasons why you should date a dude with size:

  1. We keep you warm all year round. Why cuddle up to a skeleton singing "Kitty Girl" when you can snuggle up next to a big, beefy bear whose body temperature will insulate your body in the coldest of months? Yas, please.
  2. Dinner is always a fun experience. It's going to be an appetizer-entree-dessert kind of situation no matter what kind of bone you shake at us (tee hee).
  3. We can be your bodyguard in case s**t goes down at a gay bar. Trying to cut in line for that half-priced martini, missy? I think not!
  4. Many of us put that extra effort in the bedroom. Eating isn't always for the dinner table, if you get my gist.
  5. We are freaking adorable, cute, sexy and amazing. Just look at us!

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject. Also, don't be offended by anything in this article. It's for fun. I'm enjoying my burrito as I'm typing this, you should be experiencing the same joy as well. Fin. 

Also- totally me in both photos. Anyone interested please inquire within. 

Nyle DiMarco Hugs The Wrong Kind of Bear But It's OK

Dear Mr. Nyle DiMarco

Greetings! My name is Ryan Shea and I have been a fan of yours ever since you first appeared on the CW reality competition series America's Next Top Model.

Just like ANTM's host Tyra Banks, I also thought you were "fine as hell" and really rooted for you from beginning to end and was elated that you won. I was just as thrilled when you decided to be a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, where you won that too. So awesome.

You've also been a fantastic advocate for the deaf community and have championed a lot of causes for not only you but millions of hearing impaired people around the world which makes you that much more incredible. 

But Nyle, there's a bit of a problem. I was perusing your Twitter account the other day (for fun) and noticed that you were hugging an absolutely adorable stuffed bear for a shoot you are doing with Buzzfeed (big fan of that website of course). You even gave the bear a huge kiss which made the 4 second video that much cuter.

As sweet as that was, I have to say that you are in the right area when it comes to hugging bears, but it would be better if you actually found a real one to hug... and I don't mean the actual animal.

For that, I am offering up my huggable bear services to you given that I am, according to society and that ex twink that I dated who said I ate too much... a bear. Here are three great reasons why hugging bears (real ones once again, not animals), are great:

  • We provide a lot of warmth due to our fur and husky type figures.
  • This is great for the colder months when a basic jacket just won't do.
  • We are primarily adorable and that's why men flock to us.
  • Those reasons are good enough.

So Nyle, if you are ever in need of a real bear to hug, hit me up. Maybe I can even buy you a piece of pizza afterwards and we can discuss how awesome Britney Spears is (I hope you are a fan). I look forward to your reply.



This was created by one of our contributing writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other contributing writers when it comes to this subject. Also... this is meant to be simply humor. I do not expect Nyle to ever get back to me on this... for real. It's meant to be a silly joke, and I hope you all got a good laugh at it! Happy Pride. 

Woof, Grr and Stuff: 5 Bear Celebrities That we Are Totally Crushing On

Bear culture has come a long way since the new millennium, as we have pushed our way into the mainstream in music, movies, television and more.  Because of that, an appreciation for our variety of figures (muscular, beefy, husky, otter, etc) has become a lot more noticeable both in and out of entertainment.  

Several male stars, gay straight and in between, have found a good amount of success not only with their talent but also with their bear-related looks that has definitely caught the eye of all types of people who enjoy the furrier kinds of guys that roam our earth.  So if you are a bear aficionados like myself, then this piece truly is for you.

Here are five bear celebrities that you'll definitely want to cozy up with when the weather gets super cold.  Grr and stuff.

John Gemberling: Actor and Comedian



Mike Flanagan: Chart-topping Jazz Artist



Kevin James- Actor and Comedian



Tonight, Me vs. Jimmy in an epic battle... Love him. @fallontonight @jimmyfallon

A post shared by Kevin James (@officialkevinjames) on


Kevin Owens: WWE Wrestler



Beautiful Picture Is So Good @karinaleilasteen @fightowensfight #Kevinowens

A post shared by Kevin Steen (@fightowensfight) on


Chris Pratt: Actor



You got a big mouth. #farmlife #fishing #bass

A post shared by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on




Get Your Fur Game Ready: What are the 10 Best Bear Bars in the World?

The bear community has come a very long way since the new millennium in terms of visibility and acceptance, not only from other gay men, but from society overall.  Where bears used to be the outcasts due to their body types not fitting the eight pack norm has now done a complete 180 and several bars that cater to our furry friends are performing on the same level (if not greater) than the ones where twinks and muscular men inhabit.

These bars have become a watering hole of sorts for bears and bear aficionados to get together and enjoy each other's company while drinking some beers and either dancing the night away and or engaging in activities that are a bit more debaucherous than that.

After doing some major "fur" related research, we have found the most common answers to the question "where are the best bear bars in the world?"  The locations cover the globe from the states to Paris, London and more.

Check out the list of the ten best bear bars in the world, in no particular order. 

Did your favorite make the cut?  Let us know! 



Duke of Wellington (London, England)

Spacious, gay-friendly corner pub with busy downstairs bar, music videos and quieter upstairs area.



Pantibar (Dublin)

Fun joint that bills itself as a homo activity centre with entertainment every night of the week.



Lone Star Saloon (San Francisco, California)

Gay bar & local hangout with a pool table, patio & events like Sunday afternoon beer parties.



Diesel (Seattle, Washington)

Comfortable gay bar with a short menu of pub grub, a long daily happy hour & a pool table.



Le Bear's Den (Paris, France)

"Amazing place, if you are up to a beer (or a bear), this is the place."



Woodshed Bar (Charlotte, North Carolina)

Unpretentious gay leather bar offering daily drink specials, diverse theme nights & a patio.



Rockbar (New York City, New York)

There's an anything-goes vibe at this well-worn haunt, where weekends attract a lively crowd.



Eagle, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, California)

Long-standing gay hot spot caters to a leather-wearing crowd, with cheap beer nights & DJs.



Le Stud (Montreal, Canada)

Dark gay bar with a casual vibe offering weekly events such as pool tournaments & house-music DJ's.


JJ's Clubhouse (St. Louis, Missouri)

Easygoing gay bar offering entertainment such as DJs & karaoke nights, plus billiards & darts.



The Iron Bear (Austin, Texas)

Lively LGBT-friendly hangout offering DJ parties, pool, karaoke & daily happy hour.

This list was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.