On October 2018, Jean Nieves became the first Puerto Rican title Holder for Mr. Unlimited Cub 2018 competition in North Carolina. From that moment on after winning the title, his main goal was to foster awareness on Anorexia, Bulimia and body positivity among the gay community in Puerto Rico and the United States, due to the existing misinformation on the subject.
Jean, who is an editorial photographer and creative publicist decided to harness the power of social media creating the hashtag #EmbraceTheBear to empower and motivate men in the community to embrace their “Perfect Imperfections”. Since then, he has reached more than 13K people and is now launching a photo project that depicts the reality of the bear community in Puerto Rico.
I suffered from Anorexia and Bulimia. Amongst other reasons, one of the main issues on me suffering from these disorders was due to the labels the gay community imposed on me when I came out as gay. I was ashamed and there were no role models I could look up to or reach out. I went through hell and came back stronger than ever when I discover the power of self-love. I want to inspire people and use my story for the greatest purpose. That’s how this project was born. “MY BODY, MY PRIDE” is my life motto. I hope this project inspires men, women and young people around the Globe. This is just the beginning and I hope one Day this can become a revolution
“My Body, My Pride” is a photo series of 8 Puerto Rican bears representing different types of bodies. Bears, Otters, Cubs, Muscle Bear & Cub, Daddies, Leather Man, Couples, Chubs, and Bear with disabilities are all present in this project to show that everybody is acceptable, perfect and beautiful.
Jean wanted to create a powerful visual depiction that fosters awareness and break stigmas on the gay communities pressing issues. This is the first time that the Bear community leads a Body positivity campaign in Puerto Rico with such a diverse group.
My goal is for everyone to see and respect the Bear community. To let them know that we are here, we are growing, and we are not going anywhere. We still have a lot of walls to break and a lot of people to educate. Most important, We are a brotherhood of acceptance and I want to showcase that. It’s an honor for me to have 7 other Bears celebrating our bodies and telling everyone that we are proud of who we are. I’m so happy to have a chance for the representation of the disabled community because they need more visibility in Puerto Rico and the United States.
We are Breaking boundaries
Mr. Unlimited Cub 2018 has partnered with The Bear Tavern and the Puerto Rican Bear Community to promote the social media campaign in the hopes of reaching out to charities and organizations that want to join.
Puerto Rico lacks organizations that work with eating disorders within the gay community, with this project they want to change that. This project aims to get people talking about this pressing issue and create support groups for men that are victims of bullying, body issues, eating disorders and more.
The “My Body My Pride” campaign launched on June 2 during the PR Pride Parade, in San Juan, and at the Boquerón Pride March on June 6 in Cabo Rojo and will continue through social media during Pride month.