Bears, Ranked By Lesbianism

The cinematic weekend of the year is finally upon us. Yes, that’s right: Cocaine Bear — the real life story of a bear who ate a duffel bag full of cocaine hidden in the Georgia woods — has hit theaters. It’s not really in our purview; apparently, the Cocaine Bear only terrorizes straight people, but we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to be part of such an important cultural conversation. And so, we have ranked fictional bears by lesbianism.

This list was calculated using my usual form of gay math. I dropped pictures into our Slack, provided a little context, and asked everyone on the team to vote for each bear on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being least lesbian, 5 being most lesbian). I also asked them to offer some evidence for their ranking, and they were more than happy to oblige.

Allow our entire team to proudly present…

Bears, Ranked By Lesbianism

25. Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear

In Toy Story 3 he used to rule Sunnyside Daycare, but he’s retired from that now. A jumbo, extra-soft teddy bear with a pink and white plush body and a velvety purple nose, Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear smells like strawberries and dictatorships.

Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear, dirty and purple and smiling menacingly

Stef: Not even going to entertain this monster with a 1.
Laneia: Lotso has a thin blue line license plate on his Jeep sorry.
Stef: And a t-shirt that says “I stand for the flag. I kneel for the cross.” With eagles on it and shit.
Nic: Sociopath.
Natalie: He voted for Trump.
Laneia: Both times Natalie.
Stef: Oh NO DOUBT.
Drew: Okay but actually Lots-o’ gives me Ellen Degeneres vibes.


24. Po

A clumsy panda who lives in the Valley of Peace and works in his goose father Mr. Ping’s noodle shop. All Po wants in the whole world is to learn kung fu!

Po from Kung Fu Panda, surrounded by his karate pals

Casey: Just nothing here says lesbian, sadly.
Natalie: My least favorite bear thanks to my nephews’ obsession with this series when they were younger.
Natalie: Tigress is clearly the lesbian of this group anyway.


23. Coca-Cola Polar Bears

You can’t beat the real thing!

The Coca-Cola bears enjoying a soda in their ice den

Ro: These bears are clearly gay men who rule their local community theater scene.
shea: I agree with Ro. It’s really giving “let’s do brunch at the Plaza in paisley.”
Stef: Oh these are for sure a gay retired DINK (double income no kids) couple without a care or worry in the world.
Nic: Something about the bear on the left feels like T*cker would have him on his show to prove he does know one (1) gay bear.


22. Yogi Bear

Hey, hey, hey, he’s smarter than the av-er-age bear and a seeker of pic-a-nic baskets! Foil of Mr. Ranger, sir, and best friend of Boo-Boo!

Yogi Bear has cut up a park sign so it read "DO feed the bears."

Stef: Yogi is the most heterosexual one on the list so far tbh.
Ro: Absolutely not! A tie with no shirt is a look for straight dude strippers AND lesbians.
Stef: OK then, he must be moonlighting as a stripper outside of the cartoons we see.
Ashni: This tie with no shirt feels a lot like Blake Lively in A Simple Favor rocking the cuffs with no sleeves.
Heather: My dad’s nickname was Yogi (like a riff on Hoagie) so I gotta say: not lesbian. Even though when I was growing up my dad’s main crush was Jodie Foster. 🤔


21. ICEE Polar Bear

He’s the bear equivalent of a Slush Puppy.

The Icee Bear, in a red sweater, sips a cheery Icee

Stef: Yet another situation where I wish I could give a 2.5. Like this bear is definitely not heterosexual but are they gay?? Who can say??
Laneia: Asexual nb sweetie.
Natalie: Clearly a lesbian who suffers constant hot flashes and needs to cool off.
Heather: Me and you both, Icee Bear. Me and you both.


20. Clutch the Rocket Bear

The Houston Rockets mascot is most famous for stealing a fan’s beer to give to a man who got shot down —the woman said “no!” and marched off the court — during a halftime proposal.

Clutch Bear in a red Rockets basketball uniform on a basketball court, holding his arms out in victory

Nic: Never reward a man who proposes during a sporting event.
Casey: Clearly the woman deserved the beer, not the guy.
Casey: This bear has no feminist solidarity!


19. Little John

Robin Hood’s loyal sidekick and best friend! Reminiscin’, this-n-thattin’, havin’ such a good time! Oo-de-lally, oo-de-lally, golly, what a day!

Little John tips his feathered cap in Robin Hood

Stef: I don’t know…Robin Hood and Little John both give me strong faggot energy but like two different kinds of faggots, you know?
Laneia: Correct Stef.
Stef: His name is Little John… I’m sure I could go down to any bar in Wilton Manors, scream that name out, and get like 5-6 guys asking why I was calling them.
Laneia: Wow yes. I was in Whole Foods Sunday and a woman in yoga pants said “babe” and literally 5 people — INCLUDING ME, STEF — turned to her in response. Same thing.
Stef: Exactly the same scenario, it’s so true.
Natalie: Not a lesbian but proudly part of the alphabet mafia.
Casey: Agreed, Little John has strong gay guy vibes, duh, bear vibes to specific! Very queer, but not of the lesbian flavour.
Niko: Returning when we can discuss the high femme lesbian queen Maid Marian.
Stef: Listen, my younger brother and I used to watch Robin Hood: Men in Tights over and over again as kids for the same reason I think (Amy Yasbeck being a fuckin’ babe).


18. Angus

He works the day shift at Video Outpost “Too” in Night in the Woods, but dreams of being a scientist. An “annoyingly strident atheist,” according to Bea the Crocodile. Angus also plays in the band!

Angus from Night in the Woods stands in the kitchen in a sweater vest, tie, porkpie hat, and glasses.

Heather: You ever notice how many bears wear porkpie hats?


17. Sugar Bear

The Golden Crisp cereal mascot. Just a cool guy. He used to wear a backwards baseball cap, but Post thought it made him look too much like the Honey Smacks frog.

Sugar Bear on a box of Golden Crisp cereal.

Shelli: Giving me “hey mamas” vibes for sure.
Vanessa: Hahahhaa Shelli! Just came here to say the same thing!


16. Jazz Bear

The mascot of the Utah Jazz! He got into trouble for doing too many hijinks in his stunts, the NBA thought he was going to murder a fan on accident.

Jazz Bear in a Utah Jazz uniform, kinda dancing menacingly

Dani: Lmao the sunglasses.
Stef: Giving him a 4 for the fit alone.
Valerie Anne: I am going to have nightmares about this mascot.
Vanessa: I hate this bear.
Stef: Come on, guys, he looks cool.
Valerie Anne: He looks cool with MURDER.
Laneia: See I feel like this is the hey mamas lesbian.
Casey: This bear looks like a werewolf!! WTF.
Drew: I think this bear gave me coke once.


15. Baloo

Whenever great deeds are remembered in this jungle, one name will stand above all others: our friend, Baloo the bear!

Baloo smiles in The Jungle Book

Stef: This might be controversial but Baloo gives me big fruity guy sidekick more than anything else.
Shelli: I’m just here to say I hated The Jungle Book.
Valerie Anne: Baloo adopted a stray human the way lesbians adopt stray cats, I support this choice.
Niko: Is he the same one that was a pilot in that other Disney show? Or different bear?
Valerie Anne: Yes! TaleSpin!
Stef: I was just about to say TALESPIN!
Casey: I feel like Baloo has too much irresponsible dad energy to be a lesbian, he leaves all the hard parenting work, setting boundaries and safety to Bagheera and just has fun with Mowgli instead.
Heather: YES! The ultimate lesbian auntie!


14. Bear in the Big Blue House

Bear lives in the Big Blue House where he takes care of Ojo, a bear cub; Tutter, a mouse; Treelo, a lemur; otters Pip and Pop; and narrator Shadow. He goes on adventures with his friends where he learns about solving problems, sharing, and cooperating.

Bear looks out the window and smiles at the moon, who smiles back.

Stef: Bear gives me strong genderless dyke vibes… I wish i could give a 2.5.
Ro: Bear presides over a lesbian commune for sure.
Ashni: Obsessed with the moon? Lesbian.
Natalie: A bear that brings home that many strays? It’s like the Heather Hogan of bears. Peak lesbian.


13. Grammi Gummi

She’s the real leader of the Gummi-Glen Gummi Bears and the Keeper of the Secret Recipe of Gummi Berry Juice! Bouncing here and there and everywhere!

Grammi Gummi scowls and wields her rolling pin aggressively

Casey: Hmm, I’m getting more mom who’s like the best ally to her gay son vibes here, kind of like the mom who works at the gay diner on queer as folk?
Heather: Me and my bisexual sister used to blame the “Gummi Berry Juice” when we got in trouble for being too loud and bouncy, especially in church, so Grammi’s a real lesbian icon in our family. Grammi never would’ve made us go to tent revivals!


12. Fozzie Bear

Wocka wocka!

Fozzie Bear tells a joke at a microphone

Stef: Y’all don’t know this about me but I’m a big Muppets head and Fozzie has always been one of my favorites because I really feel like we’re similar.
Sai: Fozzie was always a fave of mine too! Apparently I went through a “wocka wocka wocka” phase as a child…
Stef: lol SAME. I would do “wocka wocka” when I found something funny.
Heather: I think we can all agree it’s time for y’all to bring this back.


11. Teddy Ruxpin

Teddy Ruxpin is an animatronic children’s toy with a tape deck in his back, underneath his romper. He is also an 80s cartoon. Teddy Ruxpin loves to lean, sing, make friends, and fly in an airship. His best friend is named Grubby.

Teddy Ruxpin holds out his hands like he's explaining something

Stef: Dani, how can you rate Teddy a 1 when he literally dresses exactly like me?
Dani: LMAO
Dani: Honestly good point.
Vanessa: My parents bought me a Teddy Ruxpin when my brother was born so I wouldn’t be jealous of him getting attention but as a result I insisted on calling my brother Teddy for the first several months of his life.
Laneia: Teddy is lowkey insufferable but also who else would you trust to run the co-op? No one, that’s right.
Stef: I don’t know him personally but I’d love to know where he got that t-shirt from in the pic.
Niko: Considering Teddy has a tape recorder in his belly, I would say he’s 100% a cop. He’s literally always recoding you.
Stef: What??? Teddy Ruxpin was a narc??
Laneia: No wait he couldn’t record you, only read to/at you which is why he was insufferable! But again, weirdly competent.
Niko: I mean, you don’t get a tape recorder installed in your chest unless your going deep undercover 4 life.
Niko: Teddy Ruxpin just has big “I told the teacher about you” energy.
Natalie: Teddy Ruxpin wanting to be friends with everybody gives me peak bisexual vibes.
Natalie: Though I could be talked into ranking them higher if one question could be answered: is that shirt a one piece or a basketball jersey with an undershirt? Gonna let you guess which one gives you the higher lesbian rating.


10. Paddington

Just a marmalade loving buddy who tries so hard to get things right. A shoo-in for Kind Hearts Friendship Club!

Paddington in his trademark blue pea coat and red hat. He's smiling.

Stef: Nonbinary anti-carceral icon, Paddington.
Laneia: Seems like paddington would hang out with Jenna Lyons and buy old bottles of ink at Sotheby’s auctions.
Drew: Because I projected onto him in Bright Star, I’ve always felt like Ben Whishaw — famous gay man who voices Paddington — has lesbian vibes.
Lily: Paddington needs to be in top 5 at the very least. He gives off a vibe of going to radical book clubs, loving DIY, using multiple pronouns, etc.


9. Rupert

Just a dapper English pal from Nutwood who runs errands for his mom that always seem to turn into magical adventures.

"Off Rupert goes, he cannot fail / To thrill the others with his tale." Rupert wears a red sweater and yellow plaid pants, with a matching yellow plaid scarf.

Stef: You guys, Rupert isn’t a lesbian…he’s just British.
Vanessa: hahahahahhaha STEF!
Stef: Just felt like everyone needed to be reminded!!
Niko: Dead, I am deceased.
Stef: It’s just…I know it’s easy to get confused.
Natalie: But those shoes though?
Stef: Still just British as hell to me, tbh.


8. Funshine Bear

Funshine Bear is a Care Bear who’s blissfully sure everything’ll be fine. Their biggest concern: will it be cool? Always sunny, but blindly optimistic, Sunshine Bear is the co-pilot of the Cloudseeker. They wear a little red baseball cap, probably a Rockford Peaches one.

Funshine Bear is yellow with a sunhine on his tummy. He's wearing a red baseball cap.

Valerie Anne: I personally think Wishbear is the gayest bear but that’s because I’ve had a stuffed Wishbear since the day I was born. All Care Bears are gay though I’ll give you that.
Laneia: Turned a denim jacket into a vest one summer and hasn’t been the same since, bless.
Niko: Okay this was the Care Bear from my conversion therapy essay and I did not expect to feel things in the course of this lesbian march madness (also very gay).
Nic: Funshine Bear is 100% the coach of a metropolitan queer softball team
Drew: I feel like every Care Bear has the potential to be the kind of lesbian who uses a lot of therapy speak but is actually low-key toxic.


7. Stufful

An adorable Fighting-type Pokemon cub who does not like being touched by strangers and evolves into a giant pink bear called Bewear. If you try to hug him, he’ll flail hard enough to break a tree!

Stufful looks like a red panda, but the red parts are pink. He's grinning real big.

Natalie: Someone created me as a bear. Who knew?!
Heather: I knew there was a reason Stufful was my favorite!


6. Teddy Grahams

You can get them in the flavors of honey, cinnamon, chocolate, and chocolate chip! Little bags of Teddy Grahams are very popular at labs where you have to give a lot of blood!

Six Teddy Grahams laid out in two rows.

Drew: Teddy Grahams feel very lesbian to me. It’s just a feeling. I can’t explain it.
Heather: When I was a kid, they introduced a limited edition Teddy Graham called Dizzy Grizzlies, and they were into the “X sports” of the early 90s, such as “inline skating” and “volcano boarding” and “extreme pogo.” Anyway those were the gayest ones of these. Skateboarding on a literal mountain made of fire? Who else but a lesbian.


5. Pancham

Pancham is a Fighting-type Pokemon who hates being perceived as cute — and therefore not tough! — but they can’t help it: they smile big when you pet them. But don’t underestimate them! It makes them very grumpy!

The panda bear cub-looking Pokemon is chewing on a lead and wearing red sunglasses.

Casey: I don’t know anything about Pokemon, but being really cute but not wanting to be called cute because they want to be tough could describe a few of my masc exes lol.
Heather: Pancham is like all my favorite fictional bisexuals: cool as heck leather jacket-wearing surly exterior, gooey caramel center.


4. The Winter’s Tale Bear

He acts out Shakespeare’s most famous stage direction: “Exit, pursued by a bear.” This bear, she eats Antigonus, right after he abandons a baby in the wild. While the bear is gnawing on Antigonus, he yells out his name and rank to a passerby.

The Winter's Tale bear gets to gnawing.

Stef: Really love that you included this one, Heather. A true lesbian hero.
Analyssa: Excellent addition, also I fell in my first gay love while working run crew for a production of Winters Tale so canonically a gay play.
Shelli: Big country mama bear energy.
Stef: Truly one of Shakespeare’s great gay romances.
Casey: Lesbian feminist energy for sure!
Drew: My ex loved this play so much and even directed an experimental production of it.
Drew: Next we need to do Shakespeare plays ranked by lesbianism.
Stef: Not to be an English teacher about it but i would love that so much.
Heather: Okay but if we do that, Amanda Bynes’ She’s The Man is absolutely going on it.


3. Smokey the Bear

Who can prevent forest fires? Only you! And this dad!

Smokey reads some letters by the mailbox while two bear cubs play on it.

Stef: I know Smokey would run a Wendy’s like the goddamn Marines.
Ro: When I was a kid, I bought myself a Junior Ranger hat at a national park SPECIFICALLY so that I would look like Smokey the Bear.
Casey: The belt buckle! The cuffed jeans! That stance! The hat! It is all very butch dyke.
Em: I didn’t realize I was sexually attracted to Smokey until right now


2. Corduroy

He lost his button! And went on an adventure all by himself around an entire department store to try to find it! But when his best friend Lisa brought him to his forever home, she sewed a button on for him, and gave him such a hug.

Lisa holds up Corduroy with his new button!

shea: UM HE WEARS OVERALLS. NEED WE SAY MORE?
Heather: Corduroy is the Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya of bears. Gay!
Shelli: This was my actual favorite book growing up, and I still have a copy of it on my bookshelf right now, and wow, maybe I was so connected to it because Corduroy was doing some dykin in the department store
Niko: Oh my god I had totally forgotten about this bear and this is taking me back.
Drew: “Best friend Lisa”? Hmmm.


1. Winnie the Pooh

Tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff.

Pooh looks inside a Hunny pot for some more hunny!

shea: TBH I am biased on this one because my friends and family are convinced (rightfully so) that I am the living embodiment of Pooh. But really, Pooh is a soft boi icon and allllll about the hunnies!!!
Stef: Raise your hand if your family was obsessed with getting you Winnie the Pooh products as a kid because Pooh “reminded them of you.”
shea: Lol all the chubby enbys to the front.
Meg: A pantsless king.
Stef: Very practical outfit choice.
Vanessa: WINNIE THE POO IS MY ROOT.
Vanessa: Both for being gay and also for one specific kink thing that I won’t go into.
Vanessa: Anyway I love him.
Casey: Lesbian icon AND fat positive icon.
Em: I went on a date with this person who took me to Disney and bought me a mini Pooh stuffed animal wearing a rainbow overall jumpsuit. It didn’t work out and they ghosted me, but I feel like this further proves the point that Pooh is very queer.
Ro: Crop top. No pants. Loves a honey pot. That’s a lez.

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.

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39 Comments

  1. Corduroy!!!! I liked the book as a kid but now as an adult it’s my absolute favorite. When she takes him home and she says something like, “I like you just the way you are, but you’ll be more comfortable with your button fixed” and sews one on for him, i tear up every single time.

  2. This list was delightful, I personally would have moved Little John up a few spots but otherwise, no notes. Glad to see good ol’ Winnie the Pooh in the top spot, and so many people identifying with the character :) It was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid and I still repeat the “I am short, fat, proud of that” song to myself whenever I need I pep talk lol. You all are hilarious and this was such a fun read!

  3. ok so as a tween i used to try and start conversations by asking my fellow middle schoolers what their favorite shakespeare play was and then if they said anything but twelfth night informing them that they were wrong in detail so! cannot wait for the shakespeare play ranking

    ps i did lead a lockdown virtual shakespeare group where we did the most chaotic possible readings of the whole canon so! happy to be on an expert panel

  4. Smokey the Bear is my ex husbands nemesis. The ex is a forester, who we all call The Lorax. The Lorax hates Smokey because of the “prevent forest fires” line – according to the Lorax forest fires are natural and healthy for the forest environs. Luckily Smokey has now changed is motto to “prevent WILD fires” which are Bad

  5. Love the list and congrats to Pooh for being #1. Being a tv watching child of the 80s and 90s, this list brought back some memories. But, just being curious, why was Wicket the Ewok left off the list. Also, where’s Teddiursa, the first, I believe, bear type Pokémon.

  6. okay so… these may not be the most HAPPY lesbian bears, but i feel i would be remiss if i didn’t un-lurk for once just to make sure everybody knew there was an anime called “yurikuma arashi” which is QUITE LITERALLY about lesbian bears!!!

    it also includes a character called “judge sexy life” who gives little bears permission to turn into human lesbians and made me cry like a baby by the end of the season. anime is wild, y’all.

  7. I have no idea who Angus is but he absolutely is the dapper butch wife of my dreams. also, Paddington has my first queer love’s energy, really to an almost creepy extent. like, he EMBODIES them! I bet he loves hiking and winter sports and everything cottagecore (also, he is what I would be if I were a little more adventurous in my fashion choices).

  8. I also humbly submit as evidence “Return to Pooh Corner“ by Kenny Loggins, mainstay around turn-of-the-millennium Girl Scout campfires everywhere.

    (Or maybe just in Wisconsin.)

  9. I’m so sorry…but I gotta say, Autostraddle has failed me on this one. How can you have a list of lesbian bears, without mention of the anime “Yurikuma Arashi” – which translates to “Lesbian-Bear Storm?” 12 episodes of bears, who are also girls, who want to eat girls, who are all in love with each other…I mean, it says “Lesbian-bear” right there in the title my friends.

    The fanservice makes it a little rough, YMMV, but it pulls some good queer heartstrings on the struggle of being invisible vs loving openly and authentically, coming out of the closet (depicted as breaking a mirror)…if you got any anime fans, it’s worth a watch.

    The queer feminist anime community is split down the middle on “is this good or not…?”…but it’s about lesbian bears. And this article is about lesbian bears.

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