Gerry Ebert’s journey from North Queensland to Mr Bear SA 2014
Starting out in a new city can be tough for many people and the experience can be especially difficult for gays and lesbians. But when Gerry Ebert moved to Adelaide from North Queensland two years ago, the transition was made easier thanks to the Bear Men of Adelaide.
“I moved down here, not knowing anybody and I just walked in and made some real good friends,” Ebert tells blaze.
“They were really accepting and they love welcoming in new people. They’re very friendly.”
Ebert soon found his stride having embraced the community. Now, the community has embraced him, crowning Ebert as Mr Bear SA 2014.
“I never thought I would be crowned this year’s Mr Bear SA,” Ebert says. “I was really honoured.”
Ebert’s platform for the Mr Bear SA competition was to raise mental health awareness, an area that’s close to Ebert’s heart, having previously suffered from depression and anxiety.
Ebert says he hopes his win will show others that it’s okay to get support and the importance of being yourself.
“Mental health in the gay community is a really hot topic,” Ebert says. “To get the voice out there to tell people that they can get help, and show that I’ve gone from being a nobody to Mr Bear SA is good.”
Ebert will now represent Adelaide at the Mr Australasia Bear Competition, which is being held as part of the Southern HiBearnation festival in Melbourne.
Bear Men of Adelaide President Peter Whittaker urges the community to show their support for Ebert.
“Come to Melbourne for Southern HiBearnation and support Gerry on Saturday, June 14,” Whittaker says.
“The Bear Men of Adelaide and friends will be in Melbourne to shout and cheer Gerry on.
“From the Bear Men of Adelaide and his friends near and far, we wish Gerry all the best.”
As for Ebert, the anticipation of representing Adelaide at the national competition is reaching fever pitch.
“I’ve never been,” he says. “I’m really excited.”
His advice to prospective Mr Bear contestants?
“Anyone can get out and do it. You don’t have to be a bear, you can be anyone. Just be yourself.”
Pictured: Mr Bear SA 2014 Gerry Ebert with event host Helga Handful.