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A short while ago, a supporter drew our attention to the Facebook page “Gays should be fit and Muscular #fpsbg(ID 500634340092240) which has 321 supporters and had been online since June 6, 2015. As the name suggests, it is a body shaming site targeting overweight gay men.

In particular, it targets the “Bear subculture” within the LGBTI community. According to Wikipedia, “in male bisexual and gay culture, a bear is often a larger, hairier man who projects an image of rugged masculinity”. The Bear subculture, is one of the many LGBT subculture communities, with its own events, codes, media, terminology and a culture-specific identity.

This page promotes shaming of this subculture within the gay community.

In this About section, the page claims that it “Simply celebrates Muscular and fit gays” and wants “to motivate overweight gays to achieve the Image of gay beauty and perfection”. However, most of such “motivation” involves ridiculing and vilifying them, spreading misinformation about them, and promoting their exclusion from mainstream gay culture.

The Page proudly boasts having their current page restored by Facebook after it was reported and removed. Amusingly, they claim the Facebook Board of Directors personally intervened and thanked their “millions of fans”. This page has 321 fans, not millions, and the Facebook Board do not get involved in content moderation. The page owners also claim to have had a previous page (which was removed) called “Fat people shouldn’t be gay.” The page clearly violates Facebook’s community standards and if complaints were rejected, it’s either a mistake on Facebook’s part or the reporting was incorrect, eg reporting it for racism rather than homophobia.

It isn’t certain this page came from within the LGBTI community at all. The tone was generally homophobic though it tried to present itself as a gay page in order to make the hate seem more acceptable. The bottom line was that it was still hate speech and we are glad that Facebook removed it regardless of the sexuality of the administrator.

This briefing has three parts:

  • We share some examples from the page illustrating its hateful nature
  • We link to our reporting guides to help you report this content to Facebook
  • We provide instruction for reporting this content to our Fight Against Hate system

The hateful nature of this page

Below, we share some posts from the page that illustrate how it is vilifying and body shaming the Bear community in order to exclude it from the larger gay community.

Example 1: Vilifying Bears

20150712 Fb Id 500634340092240 post Id 510986912390316.v2

You can view this item live on Facebook and report it here.

This Huffington Post article draws attention to the prevalence and dangers of unprotected sex within the Gay community. However, it does not suggest that any specific sub community indulges in unprotected sex more. We found no reference to the statistic mentioned in the post. The post blames the Bear community for a problem that is prevalent within the entire gay community, and could be seen as indulging in fear mongering.

 

Example 2 & 3: Presenting Bears as Racist

20150712 Fb Id 500634340092240 post Id 508693469286327

You can view this item live on Facebook and report it here

Bears are generally hirsute, which is one of the identifying characteristic of the community. However, the post claims that a typical Bear couple is racist and uneducated as well, even though there is little evidence of it. In the example below, the post attempts to connect Dylann Roof, the racist shooter who killed nine people in Charleston, US recently, to the bear community, without providing any evidence back the claims.

Like any subculture, the Bear community has its share of racists. However, in extrapolating the acts of a single person or a few people to the entire community, the page is indulging in stereotyping and blatant hate mongering.

20150712 Fb Id 500634340092240 post Id 51494376199463.V2

Example 4, 5 & 6: Body Shaming

20150712 Fb Id 500634340092240 post Id 500706663418341

 

You can view this item live on Facebook and report it here

 

20150712 Fb Id 500634340092240 post Id 502368989918775

 

You can view this item live on Facebook and report it here

20150712 Fb Id 500634340092240 post Id 502064589949215

 

You can view this item live on Facebook and report it here

This above posts body shame overweight gay men. This is particularly ironic, as the Bear movement was started as an attempt to “challenge society’s ideal of physical appearance, who celebrate the fact that they are often large, hairy, and don’t give a hoot about what fashions are parading down the runway” as discussed in the book “Bears on Bears: Interviews and Discussions” by Ron Suresha.

 

Report this page

Please help us by taking a minute to report this group to Facebook. If enough people report it, we hope that Facebook will remove it.

Reporting the community to Facebook

  1. Visit it on Facebook by clicking here.
  2. Click the ellipsis to the right of the Message button to drop down the page interaction menu, and then click Report Page.
  3. Select I think it shouldn’t be on Facebook, then click Continue.
  4. Select the type of offense; in this case Gender or orientation, then click Continue.
  5. Click “Submit to Facebook for Review” and then done.

Here’s an illustrated guide to reporting a Facebook page to the platform.

More detailed instructions are available in our step by step guide.

You can now go back through this post and click on each of the links below the image in order to view that image on Facebook and then report it. Instructions for reporting images can be seen here.

 

Reporting the community to FightAgainstHate.com

We also encourage you to report any online hate you see in Facebook, YouTube or Twitter to FightAgainstHate.com. The Fight Against Hate system was created by the Online Hate Prevention Institute to maintain a record of items members of the public have already reported to the social media companies. This allows us to track how they respond. Other NGOs, government agencies and researchers can also access the list of reported items to help them tackle the problem of online hate.

Reporting to FightAgainstHate.com:

  1. Visit FightAgainstHate.com. If you haven’t registered yet, the registration instructions arehere.
  2. Copy the URL of the page, image or post, you want to report. Paste it into the New Report field then click Submit Report.
  3. Next, you will have to classify the type of hate. Choose Other type of hate not listed. And Click Next.
  4. Next, you will be asked to custom classification type. Type “Body Shaming”. And click Next
  5. Your report will be submitted and you will be redirected to the site’s homepage.

Share this briefing using the buttons at the top of the page, if you haven’t done so yet, please like our Facebook page for combating all forms of online hate and join our mailing list.

For other publications by OHPI on online homophobia, go here.

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