Bears lumber in packs down the streets of Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city. I watch from a sidewalk, snapping away with my trusty PowerShot camera. One of those bears, wearing a Hollister T-shirt, waves a furry paw at me, while with the other he clasps the hand of a grinning, lanky monkey.
Perhaps I should clarify what’s going on here. Despite Taiwan’s glorious greenery and nature, which cozies up against parts of the city, these are not real animals, this is the annual Taiwan LGBT Pride march, and “bears” are the dominant sub-species lately. Like most Asian gays today, they favor Hollister and Abercrombie. Similar to green handkerchiefs in Oscar Wilde’s era, these brands have become code for “I’m gay!” Bears maintain stocky, worked-out physiques with a belly, and as much facial hair as they can muster that’s neatly styled. As for “monkeys,” those are non-bears (e.g. twinks, gym bunnies, etc.) that admire bears.