Who We Are:

The Burgh Bears are a non-profit social group for bears and their admirers,  and allies, created to both promote social/recreational activities for its members, as well as charitable fundraising for the local community. The Burgh Bears are an equal opportunity/affirmative action group that embraces all forms of diversity, not limited to attraction, disability, gender identification, race, religion, and sex. We are based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but have members from many surrounding states, and our electronic membership is worldwide.

We think that having a local bear club is important. While the whole bear movement has grown enormously over the past decade, there are still many gay men who do not see themselves or their attractions reflected in the general public’s opinion of attractiveness. Bear clubs provide an alternative space, support structure, and friendship for these men. We are not out to set up some narrow definition of who or what is a “bear” — it’s just not a very good idea and can lead to silly things like bear beauty pageants!

As a club, we try to plan weekly events and respond to the needs and interests of our members. For example, we hold our membership meeting and monthly bar nights at Blue Moon and PTown respectively. We also have potlucks and/or outings to local eateries in addition to the monthly pizza/bowling nights, and our monthly Sunday Koffee Klutch.  Our charity events have included fundraising for the bear exhibit at The Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium, as well as the Shepherd Wellness Community Center. However, we are always open to new suggestions from our members! Tell us what you think by dropping us a note at info@burghbears.org.

If you want to come to hang out with a friendly bunch of big hairy men, regardless of your state of big and hairiness, give us a call or stop by one of our many events!

And What About You…

The club is committed to providing social opportunities and fun for all the members. The word social does not imply sex, despite what some may assume a bear club is all about! However, in order for the executive board to provide these social activities, we must have constructive feedback from the existing members! And if you are someone interested in joining, then you too have some responsibilities. The following FAQ is borrowed heavily from the Buffalo Bears webpage because we thought it was so good!

Q: I went to one of your club’s events, but why didn’t anyone come over to talk to me?

A: Your feeling is not uncommon – ask any of the members what they felt like prior to meeting existing club members. Here are some possible reasons why:

  • No one knew you.
  • It takes a special motivation to go introduce yourself to a stranger; it is hard for you, and its hard for everyone else.
  • It’s much easier to converse with familiar faces than unfamiliar ones.
  • People were busy catching up with friends and having fun. After all, that’s what its all about, isn’t it?
  • No one knew you wanted to talk to anyone; no one was aware you were too shy to say hello.
  • You may have appeared “unapproachable.” Sometimes, even very handsome men spend the evening in the corner because others got the feeling that they wanted to be left alone, when the truth is, they were dying to talk to anyone.

Q: Can you give me some pointers for helping to get acquainted?

A: Yes, here are some that apply to any such situation:

  • Contact a member before coming and let them know you are coming, and they can introduce you to others.
  • Attend one of our general meetings, get there a few minutes beforehand and introduce yourself to one of the board members.
  • Be prepared for a social situation. In other words, a conversation is a two-way street. If you don’t have anything to say, chances are, people will lose interest quickly.
  • Remember that others have had the same difficulty getting to know strangers, and the more familiar your face, the easier it gets!
  • Bar and meeting nights can get crowded, and many of the people who come are not members of the club. Look for the executive board; these folks would be happy to help you get acquainted with other club members!

About Membership

The Burgh Bears, a social group for bears and their admirers, does not discriminate or limit membership in any way other than age (you must be 21 or older to join). Annual dues are $20 for an individual membership, and $15 more per member per household ($35 per couple, $55 if you have three members living at one address, and so on …) You do not have to be a member to participate in Burgh Bears activities, especially if you are new to the group. However, we would ask that you become a member in time and as you feel more comfortable with the group. Membership helps the club grow, function and provide diverse activities. If you are interested in becoming a member, click here to contact our club’s President. We accept cash as well as check/money order (payable to “Burgh Bears”). You can pay your yearly dues and fill out a membership application in person at any club function, or you can pay your dues online.

You can find links below to our brochure, membership form, and bylaws. By signing the application you are agreeing that you are 21 years of age and that you will abide by our bylaws.

Board Members

President – Chip Barnes

Membership – Michael Reiss

Bear at Large – Kammi Gallagher & Michael Fehl

Treasurer – Mark Hopkinson Jr.

Secretary — Web/IT – Jordan Smithson

Social Events  – Josh Blackwood

Fundraising – Raleigh Roule