Amsterdam Bear Pride took place this past June. As part of the festivities the bears in attendance elected the new Mr. Bear Netherlands, Dany Bear.
Event organizer Dirk Metzlar-Rudolph described the election process for us:
“The election consisted of two parts:
The first part is an in-depth interview with the five-membered jury (or judges), which consisted of the current Mr. Bear Europe, the president of Belgium Bear Pride, the organizer of Furball Amsterdam, the Mr. B Flagship store manager, and a Board Member of Pride Amsterdam.
The second part was the evening public presentation of the candidates. The audience got a voting coin at the entrance. The contestants then had an interview with the hostess Dora Royale and a presentation round where the candidates were able to present themselves and their plans to the audience. After this, the audience members were able to vote for their favorites by dropping their coin in the ballot box of their chosen candidate. “
The judges accounted for 70% of the vote ration and the audience made up the balance 30%. This year’s competition saw the first ever trans-bear competing for the title but in the end, it was Dany that walked away victorious. We present our interview with him below.
BWM: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Dany: I am Dany Zichem Arias Millan, born at Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and currently living in Helmond, Netherlands.
BWM: What drew you to the bear community?
Dany: I always admired bears and felt comfortable being around them.
BWM: What made you want to compete for the title?
Dany: I entered the competition because I believe that I can be a good representative of the Bear Community and because of the principles I stand for which iareacceptance, respect and cooperation with other communities beyond ours.
BWM: How was your experience competing? What was your favorite part?
Dany: It was an exciting and beautiful experience being one of the contestants. There was a interview round, which was emotional at times for me, partly because of my husband’s health issues. During the election night there were short interviews, a couple of performances and my stage act. My favorite part was when I could show the audience through my act what I stand for. The voting was nerve-wrecking for me, and the outcome a relief!
BWM: What are the responsibilities associated with your title?
Dany: Attending Prides, supporting communities who need help (like the trans community), being at other title holder elections as a representative of the Bear Community in the Netherlands, and neighboring countries.
BWM: What are your goals for your title year? Where will you be appearing?
Dany: My goal is to create awareness for homeless young lgbtiq+ people who have been shown the door by their parents just because of who they are. That is my own story, and I want to share it in order to help them, to show them that you can achieve a happy and successful life. I am reaching out to other organizations that are supporting and sheltering these vulnerable people.
BWM: What are some important issues you feel that need to be addressed in the bear/ leather communities?
Dany: We need to take inclusiveness and diversity more seriously, especially for transgender and non-binary people. I am very proud that my fellow contestant in the election was a trans bear and I can’t wait to work with him to organize a community event which will include everyone who identifies as a bear.