Connect with us

Featured

Bears, Cubs, Chasers, and Chubs: My Journey into the “Belly” of the Beast – Part One

Published

on

“How much do you weigh?”

“Ummmm. I don’t know. I think about 360 pounds now? I haven’t weighed myself in a long time.”

“Go do it. Send me a picture of the scale. I don’t like skinny men.”

This, or some variation of it, more often than not, was the introduction to most conversations during my four plus years on gay dating apps. Men would message me from all over the world, ask to see photos of various parts of my body – my arms, my thighs, my stomach, my you-name-it – and I would always respond with a “Hi! My name is Robby!” I wasn’t into the whole, “Show me everything about yourself right now on this totally anonymous app.”

Within the gay world, much like the lunchroom scene from Mean Girls, there exist many different worlds or “cultures” as we will call them for the sake of this series. There’s the twink culture: a group of young men from their late teens to early thirties, not too muscular, thin, and not a bit of hair on them. There are the daddies: the over 40s with chest hair, salt and pepper beards, and steady incomes. There are the muscle jocks, muscle bears (same as muscle jocks, just hairy all over), otters (thin men with hairy bodies), and so many more.

All of these terms are labeled in a way that doesn’t strike me as offensive. But my group? My label? The “chubbies.” I don’t know about every culture around the world, but in the English language, that word isn’t a friendly terminology. I was called “chubby” all through elementary and middle school. I was always a big kid. So, hearing the word now, it strikes me as difficult to understand how it could be seen in a positive light. Enter: Chasers.

My Life As A Fetish

When I started my gay life, I thought there were two types of gay: gay men, and lesbian women. Now, we have every letter of the alphabet covered from A to Z with a label within the community, and I’m not here to argue that’s a bad thing. I simply started my gay life as a gay man. I didn’t know anything different, shockingly, until about a year and a half ago when I learned the terms “Chubs” and “Chasers” and what they meant.

A “Chub” is a man who is overweight, and a “chaser” is the man who likes him. As a bigger man, it’s difficult to see myself as a fetish of some kind. To me, I’m a normal person. I’ve got the same issues like everyone else: I want to fit in, I am planning for my future, I’m developing my career. I have a past, a present, and a future. I’m a whole, complete person.

To some, but not all, chasers, I’m a piece of fat that is there to be viewed and on display for their enjoyment. This became way too apparent to me in the recent past when a GIF was made of me standing outside a pool with my stomach shaking.

If you had met me a year ago, when I was living in Miami, and we went to the beach together, I’d have kept my shirt on the entire time. For big people, it takes a lot of courage to take our shirts off in public. Children stare and point at us, people shake their heads or laugh, and most worry we’re going to break a piece of furniture. Still, throughout the last year and a half, with the love given to me by my partner, I’ve found the courage and body positivity to go shirtless at pools and the beach, even going to a nude beach in Spain and letting it all hang out, folds and all. I wasn’t ashamed.

That’s until I was sent a link to a GIF of me on Tumblr.

Now, the funny thing is, the image/video (it’s been removed now, and so has the Youtube video) was filmed by a chaser. Some have told me I should just be happy someone found me attractive enough to film me.

And there’s the problem with our society, the Chub/Chaser/Bear culture, and the gay culture in general. We’re told to feel “lucky” that someone finds us attractive, instead of lucky someone loves us for who we are. Sure, pipedreams in a culture obsessed with looks, but still. I want to be seen as more than a number on a scale.

My favorite conversations online happened when someone would send me a message asking for photos or immediately asking me to have sex with them. When I would turn them down, or suggest anything other than immediately jumping into bed with them, they’d tell me that I can’t afford to be so picky, and that I’m lucky they messaged me at all. Excuse me, sir, but you messaged me first. You found me attractive right up until the minute I didn’t find you attractive, and now I should be lucky? I think it’s the other way around…

The Events

This past year, I’ve attended events around the world where people are celebrated for being all shapes and sizes within the Chub/Chaser/Bear/Cub scene. They’re body positive, reaffirming, and just downright fun. Some people use the events to send their legs shooting up into the air, but most of us go to socialize, make new friends, and drink in a swimming pool. It’s at these events that I have made some of my closest friends, and learned a lot about myself.

I used to look down on these events. I thought they were just an excuse for people to get together and have wild sex parties, and I’m not about that life. Now, after experiencing them, I see them in a different light. I see people who come from small towns in the middle of nowhere and they don’t have a place to belong within their own zipcode coming to these events, greeted with hugs and a jello shot. I see people who normally wouldn’t feel comfortable taking their shirt off in a public place wearing speedos and loving who they are in that moment. That’s the part of the event that truly matters.

So… What Are You Trying to Say, Robby?

I feel that, generally, society has come a long way in accepting homosexuals and overweight people, but it seems we haven’t come too far in accepting the intersection of the two. The very fact that I often get told I should feel lucky someone is giving me attention proves that we aren’t there yet. You never see a condom ad with a guy over 185 pounds in it. To my knowledge, it wasn’t until Modern Family that I saw a Chub/Chaser gay couple on network television, and even then, it’s played that the overweight Cameron was at one point skinny and desireable. This, I believe, was corrected in later seasons where they dive further into his “clown” past and they show pictures of him at heavier stages. Still, even the actor, Eric Stonestreet, has been losing weight in the last few years. My point is, we haven’t yet given the intersection of gay and overweight the “all clear” from society yet, and it’s still frowned upon.

Over the next few weeks, I want to explore more of the Bear/Cub/Chaser/Chub relationship. I want to dive into different pairings and learn more about what makes them “tick” and I want to talk about the lack of “closed relationships” within the community. Personally, I say, “To each their own” when it comes to relationships, and what works for some doesn’t for others, but it seems much more prevalent that closed relationships don’t happen as often in these communities.

I want to explore the inner-feelings of chubs and chasers, how they think, how they view themselves, and learn more about what motivates them one way or the other. I want to explore gainers and encouragers, those that eat obsessively to gain weight at the encouragement of their partner, often to the detriment of their health.

Buckle in, folks. We’re diving into the belly of the beast.

Originally posted 2017-09-25 21:09:43.

Robert was born and raised in Nashville, TN, but had a thirst for seeing the world around him. He currently lives in New York City. His adventures have taken him to all corners of the world, but favorites include: attending the Rio Summer Olympics, island hopping in the Philippines, tasting every gelato flavor her could find in Rome, and surviving a Colombian death cab ride in Bogota. Robert is an out and proud gay man and hopes to inspire other members of the LGBTQ+ community to tell their stories, both of travel and personal. His debut book, I Know Where I’ve Been: A Year Long Journey of Self-Discovery, recounts his adventures traveling North and South America for a year while diving into his past growing up gay in the conservative South.

Featured

Same-Sex Marriage in the US: A Decade of Change

Published

on

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court announced the decision to make same-sex marriage a right in all 50 states. People all over the country celebrated, pride flags were flown, and for the first time, the White House was lit with rainbow lights. The decision was a landmark victory for the gay-rights movement, but behind it all was decades of litigation, activism, and advocacy.

In 1996, a law called the Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. It defined marriage as “the union of one man and one woman” in the United States constitution. Individual states were able to recognize same-sex unions, but on a federal level, the words wife, husband, and spouse, were reserved specifically for heterosexual couples. Same-sex couples were also denied social security survivor’s benefits and were unable to jointly file taxes. For almost a decade, the DOMA remained.

After 40 years of being together, Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer traveled to Toronto to get legally married in 2007. A year later, their union was officially recognized by their home state of New York . In 2009, Spyer passed away at the age of 77. She left her entire estate to her wife, Windsor. Because of DOMA, the federal government did not recognize their union as a marriage and Windsor was required to pay over $300,000 in taxes on her inheritance. Windsor decided to challenge this because she was legally married and should have therefore qualified for an unlimited tax deduction on the inherited estate. After approaching several gay-rights advocacy groups, she was repeatedly denied and was unable to find representation.

Finally, Roberta Kaplan of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP agreed to take on the case. In 2010, her case was filed and made its way through the circuits and in 2013 it had reached the United States Supreme Court. In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled in favor of Windsor and announced that DOMA had been unconstitutional. By the same margin, the Supreme Court would legalize same-sex marriage three years later.

In September of 2017, Windsor passed away at the age of 88. She left behind a legacy of activism and change, and hope. At her funeral, Hillary Rodham read a eulogy. “Because of her, people came out, marched in their first pride parade, married the love of their life. Thank you, Edie,” reported the New York Daily News.“Thank you for being a beacon of hope, for proving that love is more powerful than hate.”

Edith Windsor has helped to change the lives of thousands of LGBTQ couples and her legacy will continue to live on. Do you have a story of how legalizing same-sex marriage changed your life? Tell us in the comments!

Originally posted 2017-10-25 13:58:13.

Continue Reading

Featured

ALWAYS EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED: WHAT SHOULD BE IN YOUR CARRY-ON LUGGAGE

Published

on

You are planning a trip and have booked your flight, now it is time to pack!  Depending on your destination or the length of travel, your suitcase should be filled with items that will be comfortable for your leave. While everyone packs differently, there are certain things that are essential and should always be added to your carry-on- This will help you prepare you for the unexpected.

ALL TRAVEL DOCUMENTS

If you are traveling alone, with a group or significant other, make sure everyone has their documents, IDs and passports readily available when requested. As a backup, keep your information and photocopy of your passport stored on your phone. Try putting them in a travel document holder for better organization.

PHONE CHARGER

Never assume that you have enough battery juice to get you to your destination.  Anytime you have a few minutes to spare, charge your phone to give it quick boost of power. There is nothing worse than needing to use your phone in an emergency and not having enough battery life left.  Invest in a portable charger from Walmart, Amazon, or eBay for backup in case of emergency.

MEDICATION

If you have essential medication that you take a regular basis, pack those in your carry-on. Don’t settle and just pack a day’s worth a meds, pack all of them. If you put them in your checked luggage, you are taking a risk with your health if your luggage is lost or stolen.  It also doesn’t hurt to pack over-the-counter medication as well.

ELECTRONICS/ENTERTAINMENT

First, never trust baggage handlers to treat your luggage delicately or gentle.  If you have anything fragile that you need to take with you on a trip, please put it in your carry-on bag.  Electronics are fragile and expensive to replace. Besides, you may need something to keep you occupied throughout your flight.

Remember laptops are not allowed in checked baggage because they have lithium batteries and are a fire risk. Because earbuds are crap and never last as long as you may want, pack an extra pair just in case.

CHANGE OF CLOTHES AND TOILETRIES

Yes, it is 2017!  I know it is unfathomable but even with all this technology that airlines have, they can still lose your luggage.  Believe me, it can and still happens.

By packing a set of clothes and toiletries in your carry-on, you are guaranteeing that you have at least one set of changing clothes and can brush your teeth.  It also helps if you have an extended layover without access to your checked luggage.

SNACKS

Due to airline security, all liquids over a certain ounce will be rejected.  However, snacks are not.    Dollar Tree is to the go spot to stock up on snack at a reasonable price. Snacks are good in time of stress or simply when you are hungry. Airline peanuts and pretzels are not enough to fill you up.

Plus, if you are sitting next to cranky child or travel companion, try sharing some of your snacks with them. It may make your travel better.

What essentials do you always pack?  What do you feel was left off this list? Would love to read your thoughts and comments below.

Originally posted 2017-10-24 18:01:31.

Continue Reading

Featured

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Published

on

The LGBTQ community has faced violence for hundreds of years and the transgender community has sadly faced the brunt of these heinous acts. Every year, hundreds of trans folks around the world are murdered, purely for being trans. For many reasons, the majority of these murders are either not reported, or not classified as a hate crime against a trans person. Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) is a day set aside to honor those that we do know were killed due to their identity and/or gender expression.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind?

Americans are desensitized to violence – on any news station on any day, there are multiple reports of accidents and attacks. When trans murders are reported, they are but a minor blip on the radar, often forgotten by the public by the next day. These reports often misgender the victim, and erase their identity. GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) provides a resource kit for journalists, especially tailored for TDoR. These simple changes in language have a major impact in how the individual is respected, validated, and honored. The report becomes less sensationalized and more personal and grounded.

History Repeats Itself

TDoR is a fairly new event considering the number of years these tragedies have been occurring. It started in November 1999 to honor the still unsolved murder of transwoman Rita Hester on November 28, 1998. Each year there is a list of names from November of the prior to current year of trans folks that were murdered. As of October 14, 2017, there are a total of 87 reported murders worldwide caused by transphobia. Again, it is important to note that this number is incredibly low, and inaccurate. Most trans murders go unreported, or are misclassified. These names are confirmed through news sources, and have been reported specifically as hate crimes towards trans folks. Brazil had the most murders at 65, while there were 24 in the United States, the most being in Maryland and Texas.

Vulnerability Factors

Being trans in and of itself is dangerous, and trans folks face violence of all types on a regular basis. Transgender women of color sadly face the worst of it.

For the last five years NCAVP has documented a consistent and steadily rising number of reports of homicides of transgender women of color, which continued into 2017. In August of 2017, NCAVP has already collected information on 19 hate-violence related homicides of transgender and gender nonconforming people this year, compared to 19 reports for the entire year of 2016. 16 of these homicides were of transgender women of color.

For an indepth study and database about the murders of transwomen, click here.

How to Host a TDoR Event

Here are the guiding principles of Transgender Day of Remembrance:

  • All who die due to anti-transgender violence are to be remembered.
  • It is up to us to remember these people, as their killers, law enforcement, and the media often seek to erase their existence.
  • Transgender lives are affirmed to have value.
  • We can make a difference by being visible and speaking out about anti-transgender violence.

Options are infinite of what one could do during this event. Some ideas include (but are not limited to):

  • Candlelight Vigils / Marches
  • Roundtable Discussions
  • Performance Actions
  • Political Rallies
  • Read-Ins
  • Art / Photography Displays

What is most important is that every name on whatever list you choose to use, is read aloud. On this day, we remember each person that was murdered, and give them our attention and respect.

A great way to end the event is to distribute printed material with follow-up actions. Where can people who are moved go to help? How can they pass the message on to others? TDoR is not just a day of memoriam, but also a call to action.

Events near You

The following is far from a complete list of TDoR events being held this year, but is certainly a good place to start looking for ways you can participate. TDoR is November 20, which lands on a Monday this year, so many events are being held on the weekends.

United States

California

San Francisco LGBT Community Center

1800 Market Street

San Francisco, CA 94102

Monday, November 20, 2017

5:30 PM – 8:00 PM PST

 

Illinois

Center on Halsted

3656 N Halsted

Chicago, IL 60613

Monday, November 20, 2017

5:30 PM – 9:30 PM CST

 

Brave Space Alliance

1434 W 51st St.

Chicago, IL 60609

Sunday, November 19, 2017

2 PM – 6 PM CST

 

Washington, D.C.

Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, DC (MCCDC)

474 Ridge St. NW

Washington, District of Columbia 20001

Monday, November 20, 2017

5:30 PM – 8 PM EST

 

Massachusetts

First Parish UU Church of Chelmsford

2 Westford St. (on the Chelmsford Common)

Chelmsford, MA

Saturday, November 18, 2017

6 PM – 9 PM EST

 

Cathedral Church of St. Paul

138 Tremont St.

Boston, MA 02111

Sunday, November 19, 2017

6 PM – 8 PM EST

 

Harwich Community Center

100 Oak St.

Harwich, MA

Friday, November 17, 2017

A light dinner will be offered starting at 5:30 PM EST

The program will begin at 6:15 EST

 

North Carolina

Fayetteville, NC

Saturday, November 18, 2017

4 PM – 6 PM EST

 

Indiana

First Presbyterian Church

512 7th St.

Columbus, IN 47201

Saturday, November 4, 2017

7 PM – 8 PM EST

 

Missouri

Courtyard by Marriott St. Louis St. Peters

4341 Veterans Memorial Parkway

Saint Peters, Missouri 63376

Monday, November 20, 2017

7 PM CST

 

Europe

France

Cinema the Variety

37 rue Vincent Scotto

13001 Marseille, France

Monday, November 20, 2017

7 PM – 8 PM UTC +01

 

United Kingdom

ARC Stockton Arts Centre

Dovecot St.

TS18 1LL Stockton-on-Tees, United Kingdom

Monday, November 20, 2017

6 PM – 9:30 PM UTC

 

“Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” – Santayana

Originally posted 2017-10-24 14:35:28.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Booking.com
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2017 TravelPride | A Division of Brand Spankin' New Media