The University of Brighton recently approved a study into one of the gay community's biggest subcultures.
Pink News reports the school approved research that will examine gay bear culture in the U.K. The study will be headed by Dr. Nick McGlynn, who is a "proud self-identified bear" and says he wants to "explore the experiences of big and fat men in Bear bars, pubs, clubs and events, and to understand how these spaces might help tackle fat stigma for men."
The University of Brighton gave McGlynn £6,726 (nearly $8,900 USD) for the study.
McGlynn is calling the study "Bearspace" and is aiming to create a "complete database of every Bear bar, pub, club event, and social group in the U.K." so that information can use used for "one of the wold's largest empirical studies of Bear communities."
Bearspace now has its own Twitter account, which announced the project on July 11.
Woop woop we're finally up and running! Over the next year the Bearspace project 🐻 will be exploring how guys of different body types experience Bear bars, pubs, clubs & events in the UK. This project is run by @nikku_man— Bearspace (@bearspacestudy) June 11, 2018
On the University of Brighton's website, the school describes the project:
"This research attends to an unexplored intersection of geographies of sexualities, and fatness/obesity. In a nation grappling with an 'obesity epidemic', fat people in the UK are highly stigmatised as unhealthy and sexually repulsive, with resultant serious mental/physical health impacts.
"Fat stigma is intensified in gay/bisexual men's spaces, yet the impacts of fat stigma on men's health or sexuality have received little attention.
"The project aims to uncover the role of geography in the marginalisation and/or empowerment of fat gay/bisexual men in the UK. It engages with space, fatness and sexuality through work in the 'Bear' community - a large global subculture of large-bodied gay/bisexual men.
"The double stigma of fatness/sexuality has significant impacts on Bears' mental and physical health, and Bear bars, clubs, and events are consequently experienced as 'safe spaces' for those excluded from both mainstream (due to sexuality) and gay/bisexual men's spaces (due to fatness).
"The project will develop six case studies of UK Bear spaces, each comprising an on-site focus group, individual interviews, and the researcher's own autoethnographic account as a self-identified Bear."