Last week we had an in-depth interview Tango Foxtrot, the newly elected Virginia Bear titleholder with a promise to introduce you to the rest of the members of the 2024 Virgina Bear titleholder family. Today we make good on that promise by publishing our interview with the Virgina Cub 2024 winner, Jeffery A DePriest.
Jeffery is a native Virginian, a licensed real estate broker and a veteran in addition to being the handsome and friendly daddy cub that the Norfolk bears know and love. Get to know a bit about him below.
BWM: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Jeffery DePriest (JD): I am a native to Virginia, born in Staunton, and currently live in Norfolk, VA. I grew up in a military family and traveled the nation. I graduated from Frank W. Cox HS and ODU. I am an Air Force Veteran. I was forced out of the closet in my early 20s after my father passed away.
BWM: What drew you to the bear community?
JD: I have always been attracted to bigger men, that now includes, Bears, Otters, Cubs and Chasers. I tend to stay away from negativity. Most of the Bears I hang out with are freely excepting to everyone. Smiling Faces, jovial humor, and the hugs. Bears love to Hug!
BWM: What made you want to compete for the title of Virgina Cub?
JD: Howard Bunger (event producer) has approached me for many years about competing in the Virginia Bear Contest. At 59, I decided to enter the contest. I didn’t enter for a title; I entered for myself. I want to get out of my comfort zone and prove to myself I can do anything I put my mind to. The most I could hope for from the contest was winning Mr. Congeniality. There is no Mr. Congeniality category, something I made up, because I knew I was not going to win anything.
BWM: How was your experience competing? What was your presentation like?
JD: Scared and Afraid. Leading up to and during the contest, I was a nervous wreck. Shaking, nervous laughter, giggling, etc. I did my presentation to the best of my ability, still nervous, forgetting the words, not making complete sentences. My brain had one thought and my mouth did something totally on its own.
BWM: What are the responsibilities associated with your title and your goals for your title year?
JD: Responsibilities include attending Bear night and raising money for local charities. I would like to create confidence in the Bear Community no matter their setting. Confidence is something I am working on myself. One on one, I do just great. In a crowd, I am the person in the corner waiting for someone I know to show up.
BWM: What are some important issues you feel that need to be addressed in the bear community?
JD: One important issue is Unity. As I stated earlier, I am 59. I came out the same era of AIDS. During this period of my life, I lived in Richmond, working at Casablanca and Fieldens’. We, the gay community, were a close knit family. When there was someone in need, we were there to help. That included raising money for medicine, food, rent, etc. Once a year, all the bars would close down for one night to raise money for those in need. I remember one year we raised raised over $35,000 and total for the all the years was almost half a million.
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