Do you know any sources on where to find furries near San Antonio, Texas?
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Easily done. You know, there is the Alamo City Furry Invasion, right? Go here https://www.furryinvasion.org/ to learn about this con. Going to a local con is a great way to meet people. Also, there is the Mission City Hero Fest coming up December 11! It is for both furries and anime fans. Go here https://furdar.org/group/90-san-antonio-furry-connexion to register while there's time!
Next, go to San Antonio Furry Connexion hosted at Furdar at https://furdar.org/group/90-san-antonio-furry-connexion. That site will give you information on local furry events. Next, broaden your scope to encompass Texas and you will find some more furcons to attend, such as Texas Furry Fiesta in Dallas as well as the Arlington and Plano Fur Meets. There is also a Houston Furry Meetup group at https://www.meetup.com/houtxfurries/. I'm not sure how mobile you are, but it doesn't hurt to connect to other furry groups in your state to make connections.
Sad to say there WAS a Texas Furries group from about 2012 to 2017, but it closed its doors for some reason.
Furdar.org is a great way to find what out things going on in your area, furrywise. As well, you can create an account on Furmap.net, which shows you locations of registered users. I just went on there and found 7 furries in San Antonio.
Check it out!
Finally, there is another option for you: sometimes, if you want something done, you have to do it yourself. So, why not start your own San Antonio Furmeet! Start by going to the resources I mention above and then announce your intention to start your local meet. Register an account at Meetup, or create groups on your favorite social media outlets.
Recently, I went to a job interview where the interviewer has asked me if I have something "unique" that I have, which I responded that I don't. However, after that, I had something that popped into my head that would've made a great answer to that question. Later that day, I shared this with my dad, and he mentioned that costumes/mascots (fursuits) would be it for me, since the job requires looking after children and wearing these things would make them get a kick out of them, as it would (supposedly) entertain them a lot. (It is a job as a youth group leader at an organization. It involves watching kids as part of an afterschool program.)
After hearing about that, tons of crazy and mixed feelings were going through my head, such as anti-mask laws, reaction from others to public fursuiting (or wearing mascots/costumes out in public that cover the entire face), and knowing that he knows about this thing of mine sends chills down my spine. I've seen and read stories of people getting busted or harassed for public fursuiting and know about the stigma that surrounds the furry fandom/community. Additionally, I fear that I may be mistaken as a child molester or other things related to it that might end up getting me fired from my job. Even though I ask permission if I could do these things at a later time, I feel that my supervisor would view me differently in a bad way for even bringing it up in the first place. I also don't know what'll happen if other people knew about it, especially my relatives and friends, such as their reaction or a chance of bullying or discrimination for having it in the first place. I don't know if an anti-mask law exists where I live (the one where it's illegal to cover your face, not the COVID-related one).
Any thoughts about this? Should I have not shared this with my dad?
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It is impossible to make generalizations as to how people will react to your being a furry. All people are different. Your dad, from what I can gather from your letter, doesn't seem to have a problem with your wearing a fursuit since he noted you could have talked about this at the interview. As for the rest of your friends and family, that has to be taken on a case-by-case basis.
The same goes for fursuiting in public places, such as schools or elsewhere. This can be affected by everything from local laws and ordinances to policies at public parks. For example, you would not wear a fursuit mask into a bank or into a federal building such as a courthouse because you would be instantly detained. Things get a little complicated because of mask laws these days. Everyone is (or should be) wearing masks for health reasons. But a fursuit head covers everything and makes you even harder to identify. For this reason, no matter where you might be going, always check with the business or venue before you fursuit there.
As for the job as a youth group leader, you probably wouldn't fursuit all the time. However, you might offer to do so at a special event for the group, which can be fun and rewarding. Make sure, again, you always have approval from those in charge of any event before you fursuit.
Will you be subjected to harassment or bullying? Maybe, maybe not. Don't worry about it. You're entertaining kids for a good cause. If people have a problem with that, it is a reflection on them, not you. You are doing something nice for kids, and you are doing absolutely nothing wrong, so you should not give a crap what a bunch of twits say when they are just being bullies. Do not react to bullying or harassment. Just focus on bringing joy to the world and on being yourself.
Remember, normal people are boring. It's the weirdos and freaks of the world who make life special.
I think I've "known" I am a furry for the past several years, but, except for a few brief experiments, I've been denying it until about two months ago. One of those experiments created Vincent, my "fursona" (used loosely).
Vincent is, to put it bluntly, a bad person/wolf. While he originally started as a fairly standard me-but-with-confidence-and-fur character, as I played with his appearance and mannerisms, he began to take on a life of his own. That isn't necessarily a problem. One thing I like to do in TTRPGs is learn things about characters that I didn't know when creating them, except Vincent took on some of my worst traits, as well as a few I hope I don't actually have. In a word, he's "superior," which means he's kind of a manipulative bully, unwilling to see others as his true peers. I don't want to present myself as Vincent. However, I can't seem to get rid of (or change) the Vincent-concept.
(A bit of context that may or may not be relevant: I was kind of a bully as a kid, but out of ignorance from autism, not malice. Vincent seems malicious.)
Anyway, now I'm trying to define myself as a furry, and I'm having trouble coming up with a concept that resonates anywhere near as much as Vincent does (and is not a Vincent clone). Do you think I should just embrace Vincent as my fursona? If not, do you have any advice for "un-sticking" myself from Vincent and/or developing an alternative?
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Thank you for your letter. Fursonas are truly a fascinating psychological phenomenon for many people. I mean, while often they can just be a way to have an avatar in an online RPG or to have some fun fursuiting, fursonas can also serve as an expression of who we are or who we wish to be.
For some furries such as yours truly, the fursona is how they envision their ideal self. Grubbs is modeled somewhat after Baloo, a bear who is friendly, laid back, easygoing, takes life in stride. This is quite the opposite of Kevin, who is often anxious, deadline-oriented, overworked, and fearful of what is going on in the world. I aspire to be more like Grubbs, an avuncular, kind of slobby bear, who likes to go fishing and wears tattered overalls (someday, I'd like to get some for my fursuit LOL). I've talked to a number of furs who feel as I do and whose fursonas represent their aspirations in life, too.
But fursonas can serve another function, which is to explore our inner selves. In the fandom, this often takes the form of exploring one's sexual identity in a way that is not tolerated by society at large. The fursona can serve as a shield to protect us from judgment, allowing us time and space to explore our inner feelings and desires.
Similarly, a fursona can serve as a platform onto which we project parts of our personalities for careful examination, and that, I feel, is what is occurring in your case. It is fascinating, really, that what you are doing is taking some aspects of yourself, removing them, and placing them into the fursona of Vincent. Vincent, then, takes on such characteristics as being a bully and feeling superior to others, which allows you to regard yourself from a distance, objectively.
Vincent, therefore, has become a useful tool for self-examination. My advice to you: keep Vincent for that purpose, but create a second fursona (or more, if you wish, there are no rules on this) and project onto them all the things that you aspire to be as a person. Make this second fursona someone you would admire and emulate. You might, too, consider a third fursona who is just there to have fun gaming and enjoying life.
Fursonas are wonderful things. They are a big reason why I love this fandom because it is so creative and because fursonas can be so personal and not just a way to dress up as a character already created by some corporate franchise.
Hope this helps.
Hey there, Papabear!!
I think this might be the third time I've written to you. I was able to follow your past advice, and it turned out really well!
On to the question.
Thanks to you, I was able to tell my parents about my interest in the furry fandom, and they are accepting of me! They just see it as a hobby, and are going to help me make a fursuit! But there are a few things.
I don't know if I should tell them about the sexual side of the fandom. I mean, almost all fandoms can get sexual, but the furry fandom is known exclusively for it.
And second, how do I tell them about me wanting to go to a furcon? There's one coming up in 2022, but it's really close to my sister's birthday, and I feel like they'll say no.
Normally, I would be fine with that, but the con coming up is the only one in my state scheduled next year.
What do you think I should do?
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Dear Candy Bear,
I'm glad to hear that your parents are being pretty supportive of your furriness.
When it comes to sex in the fandom, you should certainly know that the furry fandom was designed for adults, not 13-year-olds such as yourself. Neverthless, many young kids are attracted to the fandom because it is fun and creative and playful and they like the idea of pretending to be an anthro animal.
The way to avoid any upset on your parents' part when it comes to adult imagery is to make certain you are 100% transparent with them. That is, you don't hide anything you do online or on your phone. Indeed, you should encourage their supervision of your activities. It is not just the fandom that has X-rated stuff. It is all over the internet.
Do your parents monitor what you do online now? They should, but whether they do or not, you should have a sit-down discussion with them about online porn, trolling, and child predators. Have an honest discussion about this. They will likely feel you are very mature and smart for doing so. What you say is, basically, this: "Mom, Dad, we all know there is a lot of bad stuff online. Some of it is pretty scary. I want us to talk about it and I want you to help me stay safe online, including in chat rooms and stuff. There is a lot of porn out there and also I have heard there are adults and mean kids who like to bully you and even threaten you. I want to talk to you about how I can keep safe online and still have fun talking to friends and doing my hobbies and doing stuff for school."
I think they will be proud of you for opening such a dialog. In the meantime, keep away from furporn. That means, for example, stay away from websites like FurAffinity, which is filled with X-rated art. Maybe stick with furry chat groups on, say, Facebook, which has strict policies against sexual imagery and harrassment.
When it comes to cons for someone your age, of course it is best to have your parents there with you. That said, I'd like to suggest you try a virtual furcon first. There are many of them, especially since the onset of COVID. One going on right now is Furality, which uses VRchat. Oh, and you might want to sign up for VRchat anyway. It's cool. Here is a list of online furcons you can check out: https://en.wikifur.com/wiki/List_of_online_furry_conventions. The beauty of that is that you don't have to travel!
Now, to participate in a con (online or not), you'll need to register, so you will likely need your parents' help with money (cons are anywhere from $30 and up) and also get them to sign a consent form, probably, because you are a minor. Hopefully, they will do that, and, again, encourage them to watch over you. A virtual con is much cheaper than a real-world con because there are no hotel or food or travel expenses. It's a nice introduction to furcons. Eventually, though, you will want to go to a real, brick-and-mortar furcon, but let's leave that alone for this coming year and address it in 2023.
Oh, and have fun at your sister's birthday. Cherish these times with your family. Sisters and brothers are great. I love my sister so much, and I hope you do, too!
There are two statements I hear frequently from furries these days: It's either "The furry fandom is so accepting of everyone!" or else "The furry fandom is toxic!" The second statement is soon followed by the announcement: "I am leaving the fandom!" There are popular furry vloggers who have YouTube posts asserting one or the other view, and I see furries on Facebook complaining about the toxic fandom all the time.
So, which is it? Is it time to hold each other's paws and sing "Kumbaya, My Lord!" or should we burn it all to the ground and dance on the fandom's withered and purulent corpse?
I am writing this editorial today to answer that very question. Hold onto your tails; here we go....
Let's begin with furry conventions. I returned from Biggest Little Furcon in Reno just a few days ago. During the con (I wasn't witness to this, just heard about it), apparently one of the furry attendees (and furiends) ejaculated on a pizza and left it in the hallway. Then, for some reason, a witless passer-by saw the za and ate some of it. Naturally, word got out, and it spread like warm Skippy peanut butter over toast all over Twitter. Immediately, there were posts that this would be the end of BLFC for it would meet the same fate as Rainfurrest. There were also posts about how the fandom has been overrun by pervs and that it will inevitably implode. Game over.
Of course, the people writing these posts were not at the con. I was, and I can tell you it was a super con, well run, and everyone had fun. The guests, the hotel staff, everyone. I talked to some of the staff and security and they all said it was great.
Hotels deal with crime and guest misbehavior all the time. The primary problem is theft, but there have also been cases of rape, drugs, and property destruction. This brings me to the big difference between what happened at Rainfurrest vs. BLFC. Rainfurrest attendees caused a lot of property damage to the host hotel, costing the hotel thousands of dollars. The main problem with Rainfurrest was that the people who ran the convention were too permissive. While I never got the chance to attend that particular con, I talked with furries who did, and they told me that Rainfurrest had a very lax, party atmosphere that encouraged bad behavior and had been doing so for years. The result was inevitable. A badly run convention will eventually close. This is not the case with BLFC and many other fine furcons. In the case of the cummy pizza, the guilty party was confronted by hotel security and dealt with. Reno Area Anthropomorphic Arts and Recreations (RAAAR), the organization that runs BLFC, raised over $21,000 for its charity and is already planning the 2022 con, which will occur in the summer. I'm not sure what attendance was (they haven't released final figures yet), but I'm sure it was a couple thousand furries, a nice number that I'm sure the hotel appreciated.
While I was at BLFC, one of the panels I attended was called "Why We Care about the Furry Fandom." It was run by Stigmata (Jonathan Vair Duncan) and Sasha R. Jones, two well-known artists of fantasy and furry art. The two talked for an hour about how being furry is about exploring your potential, coming out about who you really are inside, discovering things about your orientation and your spirituality, meeting new and interesting people, expanding your creativity, and so on. Their hyper-positive view of the fandom went so far as to discuss how furry is becoming an important social movement that is gaining acceptance in the normie world. This view is shared by many furries who feel that the fandom is a happy place where everyone gets along and accepts you for who you are.
There is an element of truth to this--a big element, really--but it is not entirely accurate. If it were, we wouldn't be seeing all the claims about the "toxic" fandom. A good example of this is this YouTube video by BetaEtaDelota. While acknowledging that there is a lot good in the fandom, he goes on quite a bit about the issues in the fandom that are not addressed (mostly about furries attacking each other). Yes, there are issues, and they are not addressed. Know why? Because, unlike corporate-owned fandoms such as Whovians and Trekkers, there is no one in charge of the fandom. The furry fandom has no organizational structure. No formal membership. No club president. No supervising board of directors. It is an amorphous blob of people indulging in creating a fantasy world of anthro creatures. Therefore! How can bad behavior be controlled if no one is in charge, eh? Oh, sure, there are furries in charge of Facebook (meta?) groups who can control posts as I do for the Greymuzzle group, but overall the fandom is like Hollywood's version of the Wild West. You're kind of on your own when it comes to controlling drama.
But is the level of drama worse in the fandom than elsewhere on the internet? Hell, no. If you know anything at all about the online world and the virtual community, you know that it is bad everywhere. Hell, the current political divisions going on in the USA right now have in large part been incited by social media. The furry world is no worse than any other sordid corner of the cyberworld. This is true when it comes to cons, too. You think furries have exclusive rights to acting like twits in hotels? My sister would tell me about conventions she went to that were for college educators and how she would see biology professors become drunken idiots; my late husband went to journalism conventions and once opened the wrong closet door to see two attendees humping each other. And these were conferences with attendees who were much older on average than furries.
Why, then, do we have this impression of ourselves as being worse than other groups?
Because we set ourselves up for it.
If you believe all the hype about how the fandom is a nirvana of acceptance in which people of all orientations, colors, and creeds don their fursuits or game avatars and get along like Girl Scouts around a campfire only to then discover that there is the possibility of running across trolls, haters, and prima donnas, you are going to be disappointed. Many are disappointed, and then they overreact and declare the fandom to be toxic.
So is the fandom toxic? No. Is the fandom nirvana? Again, no.
What the fandom is is a bunch of people sharing an interests in furry characters. The members of this fandom are human beings. All of them. Shocker, right? And although the demographics of the fandom are a bit different from the general population (e.g., more LGTBQI people, more young people, and, still, more white males, though that is slowly changing), people are still people.
The vast majority of people I have personally met in the fandom are super. They are interesting, fun, intelligent, playful, openminded, and just super people. But, there have also been a few who are total butt munchers. Don't let these few negative people get you down. Don't let them spoil your fun. Learn to recognize and avoid them, and you will have a super-splendiferous time in the fandom just as I have.
Remember why you came to the fandom in the first place. Have fun in the imaginative and creative world of furries. This is a community for you to enjoy, and if you approach it with a positive attitude but recognize it is not perfect, you will have a wonderful time.
Thank you for reading this post. Please feel free to comment below.
For some time now, I've been creating my fursona. One of the problems that I've been facing was creating a name for it. I've been searching everywhere for ideas, but they've been taken by others, which deters me away from picking it. Additionally, I've seen other people whose fursonas have the same name, and those who were named after a real place. Should I be concerned about this when picking a fursona's name? Why or why not?
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There are two types of furries, in this bear's humble opinion: ones who take their fursonas very seriously as a reflection of their own personality and needs, and people who just see their fursonas as a kind of avatar for gameplay or chat rooms, something no more important than picking which color pieces you'll be in a game of Parcheesi. You seem to be a member of the former crowd, as am I.
Names are just one trait of your fursona, of course, and they can be quite personal. Let me say, first of all, that it is okay if you have a name that is the same or similar to someone else's fursona. That doesn't make it any less personal. For example, my name is Kevin and there are a lot of Kevins in the world, but that doesn't mean Kevin isn't a perfectly good name to have. Similarly, when the movie Alpha and Omega came out, I noticed a lot of furries new to the fandom who were giving themselves names like Alpha This and Omega That. It was a bit of a fad that, thankfully, has faded.
When it comes to picking a fursona name that is personal to you, look within, not without. There are two ways to go about this: you can either look for a name that is a reflection of who you are now, or you can pick a name that is a reflection of who you would like to be. For instance, if you are really into anime and enjoy Japanese culture, you might pick a name that is derived from the Japanese tongue. In the bear furry community, for instance, one sees quite a few Kumas (Japanese for "bear"). You might pick a name that means something more, such as Yoshio (joyful life) or, for a girl, Satomi (beautiful and wise). You can do the same thing with other cultures, the most popular outside of Japanese culture often being ancient European cultures such as Nordic or Celtic names, or you might see names from one of the Native American languages.
You can also pick names that reflect traits you like about yourself or that reflect your animal self, or perhaps names that reflect a hobby. Or you can make up names that sound good to the ear and might be completely original (e.g., an archer named Brace Bowbender). Heck, you can even google "furry name generator" and find some results to play around with.
The thing is, don't stress. It isn't as if this is going to be your legal name for signing contracts. However, if you get a large following of friends or become known as, say, a vlogger or fursuit maker, you might get stuck with a name once it is established, and if you don't like that name, it can be a bitch. For example, on my Yahoo account, I picked the name Zoobear because I like bears and I used to work at a zoo. Later, I found out that people looked at my name and thought it meant I was a zoophile. Yikes. And that name ended up on my FA account, too. Oy vay. But, I have a pretty good following as Papabear (aka Grubbs Grizzly) now, so it's okay.
If you are curious, I came up with "Grubbs Grizzly" for a couple of reasons: 1) I like alliteration, and 2) my fursona is a laid-back, scruffy bear in tattered overalls. Later, I found out there is a comic book character named Grizzly Grubbs who is a nasty human who likes to destroy the forest and its animals. So, with my name came a built-in nemesis! LOL.
To sum up, think about what your fursona is and what they represent; then, try to pick a name that reflects who they are. Make sense?
Hope that helps! Good luck!
I feel unwelcome in the furry fandom. How can I find others who respect me? I’ve been into the community for years now, and I came out recently in order to find others of similar interest. That being said, however, I feel like I will never belong there because of my beliefs. Furries are mostly either apolitical or left in beliefs, both of which I am not (Libertarian). As such, I feel such anxiety when it comes to this fandom that it’s genuinely making me have symptoms of depression and other such things, things I’ve tried to go back on. Whenever I see people like S******x or others who are so brazen about their beliefs to the point of annoyance, I just feel lost.
I don’t want to have to agree to vaccine mandates (due to my heart problems with anxiety), support Black Lives Matter (socialist belief organization which I disagree with and movement helps that out), or have to scrub away my sense of edgy humor just so I can feel welcomed. This fandom was supposed to be my escape and exploration into the good of humanity, not one so drowned in drama and bullshit. I constantly think I have to change myself in order to be that way cause my beliefs have changed over the years from Republican to independent, but whenever I see other furries support the stuff that I can’t--and I have researched in order to make sure that I didn’t--it makes me feel even more depressed before I came out. And these people excuse it with weeding out bad people and it’s like, maybe people like T**********n wouldn’t have to do this reactionary shit if they didn’t harass him for liking Trump; maybe you should stick to your f**king motto of being accepting to those who need it. Unless they are a Nazi or an active dickhead to other people, they deserve to feel love and accepted.
It’s so hard to feel genuinely happy and loved when it feels like everybody hates me or will hate me for being different. I don’t hate anybody else for their beliefs and choices, but I feel as if I’m the outcast for not “fitting in” with the main consensus of popular furries and ones that are political. Are there any communities that accept people like me who aren’t also political? How can I find the inner strength to keep going on without crumbling just to appease others?
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Thank you so much for your important letter. Don't give up hope! There is a place for you in the fandom. Let me begin by saying I am very progressive in my social and political beliefs, but in democratic countries like America and others, you are supposed to be able to hold your own personal beliefs without being persecuted for it.
You are correct that the fandom, in general, leans heavily left. Check out this FurScience page https://furscience.com/research-findings/demographics/1-9-politics/ to see how political beliefs and other liberal v. conservative ideals are weighed in the fandom. It is interesting to see how social concerns (e.g., LGBTQI, women's, and minority rights, and issues like abortion) lean very hard to the left, but note that political beliefs are a bit more evenly distributed toward the middle ground and economic views (e.g., taxation) are even more moderate. A big reason for this is how many in the fandom feel themselves to be social — not political or economic — outcasts in our society. So, you will see a lot of LGBTQI people as well as a lot of furries dealing with various forms of social anxiety, body shaming, and so on. You also see far fewer conservative Christians in the fandom versus in America (only about 25% of furries consider themselves Christians vs. about 60% of Americans). Many in the fandom have therefore come to be furry because they were searching for a community that would accept them for themselves.
But this is not why the fandom began. The furry fandom started because a bunch of sci-fi geeks who enjoyed anthropomorphic movies, TV shows, and books and comics got together to share their interests, publish their own journals, and talk about creating stories and art for adults featuring characters that were once considered only appropriate for kids or funny animal comic strips.
It had nothing to do with your politics, social beliefs, or sexual orientation.
Like everything else, politics has been invading every aspect of our society from business to family to entertainment. And it is ruining not only our ability to have fun but also our ability to maintain interpersonal relationships. To go into exactly why this is happening would take many books to explain. Let's just note here that it is happening everywhere, including in the furry fandom, a place that is supposed to be an oasis for escapism and imaginative arts.
It is my personal belief that politics should be kept out of the fandom. When I attend a furcon, I don't want to see Antifa demonstrations or fursuiters wearing swastika-reminiscent armbands. I want to fursuit as Grubbs and attend some panels and forums and go buy stuff at the dealers' den and hang out with friends. This is something we all should have in common, including you and me.
So, one strategy I would suggest to you in order to have a better time is imagine you are in a bar (gay or cowboy, you pick) and you DON'T want to get into a fist fight. What do you do? Don't bring up politics. The worst fight you should get into is whether you're a Cowboys or Patriots fan.
When you're hanging with furries, talk about furry stuff. Talk about movies, art, comic books, video games, fursuits, and those sorts of things. Avoid furries who insist on shoving their politics in your muzzle. There is no reason to talk about Black Lives Matter or the state of abortion laws in Texas when you are at a furcon. Enjoy that part of yourself that is furry, and be yourself when it comes to your furriness.
If you simply HAVE to talk politics and share your conservative ideals with furries or else you will feel deprived of your individuality, then I have news for you. There ARE other furries you can hang with who are conservatives, Republicans or Libertarian or Independent-Leaning-Right, and/or Christians/Muslims/Other conservative religious beliefs. Here are a few groups you might check out:
I'm sure with a bit of research you might find more. Obviously, stay away from Nazi Furs.
My personal preference is to keep politics out of my furry life. This is why, as admin of the Greymuzzle group on Facebook, I prohibit such posts. I also run a group called Outcast Furries https://www.facebook.com/groups/1300922643291266, which is for furries like yourself who don't feel too accepted in the fandom. Feel free to join if you like.
In conclusion, don't change yourself or pretend to be someone you're not just to gain acceptance in the fandom. Furry is not a political party or belief. It's a freakin' fandom and that's all. I truly wish people would keep their politics in their pants and not wave it around like a banner. It gets tiresome.
Stay furry because you like furry entertainment. Don't let others chase you out because of who you are. As long as you aren't hurting anyone, you should do what you like.
Okay I would like to ask you if I ever want to start a furcon at other countries. I am seeking profits and the furcon is a non-profitable furcon. What are your best advices? I found you through a YouTube video by "Scar The Furry."
Vinny (age 19, Malaysia)
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Founding and running a furry convention is a highly complex and work-intensive endeavor. (And THAT is likely the understatement of the decade for this column). I don't recommend you pursue it unless you have a LOT of help from people, especially people who have helped to run a convention in the past. Also, don't expect to make money running a furcon. You will be lucky if you break even. Establishing and running a furcon is a labor of love, not a way to make a living (although some companies like Corgi Events LLC are trying to do that). Many furcons declare themselves nonprofit organizations by contributing some or all of their profits to a charity. This has the advantage of making the furcon tax-free (at least, in the U.S.A. it does; I have no clue how this works in other countries).
I've attended cons and volunteered at them, but I have never tackled the administrative side of a con. Here is a link with some advice from someone who knows more about such things. There are a lot of good insights on that web page to give you a pretty well-rounded idea of all the work that is involved. This is from an American perspective, though, and you will need to check laws and regulations in (in your case) Malaysia.
I was barked at on my way home from school, and was handed a homophobic note in my locker. I don't know how to handle this. I know I'm not supposed to come to you about this. I just need some advice. I'm sorry.
Alice (age 13)
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There is no reason why you can't come to Papabear for this question. I'm happy to help.
I'm assuming "barked at" means that your fellow students know you are a furry, as well as gay. I'm sorry you're having to go through this, but it is quite common when one is at school. I, too, was often mocked and even beaten up at school for being different. Here is my advice to you:
First of all, make sure adults know what is happening. Show the note to your parents and also to the school administration. You might not know who put the note there (bullies are notorious cowards), but just making adults aware of what is going on will help to put them on the lookout for future incidents. This is not being a tattle tale. It's being smart.
Second, keep records of EVERY case of bullying, taunting, and any other abuse. That means, keep copies of anything written (on paper, in text, etc.). You can also record video chats, although it's a little more complicated. Here is a video on how to record vidchats on your Android, and if you have an iPhone, it's a bit easier to do this. If you are being bullied face to face, you can simply use video record on your mobile device. Keep a journal about any incidents, too, and record times and dates and describe the people involved if you don't know their names.
If you feel in any way physically threatened at school, again, tell the school administrators. When you are not on school grounds, it might be a good idea to carry pepper spray with you. Do you walk in a safe area? Make sure you don't walk alone in dark or remote areas. You might also consider taking self-defense classes.
[Note: I've gotten some feedback on Facebook about my advice on telling school admins about the bullying. While I say you should still do this, it is true that some schools are not responsive to bullying claims. In such cases, that is when you need parents as allies. One psychologist, Dorothy Espelage, a Ph.D. Professor of Childhood Development, said this: "If a parent has repeatedly gone to the school about their child, his or her child being bullied and they feel that the school is not being responsive, I often say these are your choices. When I talk to parents, I say, "Can you get your child out of the school?" If you can get your child out of the school, do that because we know that in some cases just moving the child away from a non-responsive, unsupportive administration may actually reduce the bullying. In many cases that's not an option, right. It just would be too much disruption for a family to move so I then say, "You know, have you thought about seeking legal counsel because increasingly schools will respond to a lawyer calling versus a parent that has repeatedly called. If they don't want to go that route, then reach out to some professionals in your area and try to put pressure on the school administrators and go to the school board and have a conversation about how it is that the administration has been non-responsive. What we don't want to do is the parents sit back and wait for the school to respond because they will not. The schools are failing miserably in responding to bullying incidents in our schools, and parents have to be proactive, and so please think about removing your child, seeking legal counsel, or going to the school board to hold that administrator accountable."]
I don't mean to scare you by the above; I'm just covering all the bases. Judging by your email, it hasn't gotten dangerous yet. You are just facing some moron cowards who are making fun of you to feel better about themselves, which is, of course, pathetic. You should keep that in mind: What they are doing is juvenile, cowardly, and a poor reflection on their character. It is NOT evidence that YOU are in any way a bad person. You are growing up in a world that hates people who are different, whether that is because of race, income, sexual orientation, or being a furry.
Alice, I know you feel bad and maybe embarrassed by what happened, but it should actually make you feel special. It is not the ordinary and accepted people on this planet who are special, it is the weird people who challenge social conventions that make the world wonderful. People like you.
Do not feel alone. You are not alone because you have an entire furry community who is like you and who are there to be your friends. You also have a huge LGBTQI community. Don't worry about getting approval from derps and twits like the ones who left you that note or barked at you. They're losers. They are the sort of people who make this world a crappy place. Why would you want their approval? You shouldn't.
You're a special person because you are unique and willing to find out who you really are as a person rather than trying to be like everyone else. The fact that you are an individual and not a conformist is what irritates boring people like those who have mocked you.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.
Do you think it makes a person happier if they just accept something they don't want to accept? Like, a group having a huge flaw such as bias, but the person doesn't want to accept it because they're afraid it'll ruin their perception of the group and make them hate it (because maybe the group saved their life).
Like, maybe this person is in a fandom and they LOVE this fandom. It makes them happy and they have a lot of good memories of it, but like any fandom, it has flaws. Like, maybe the fandom has a toxicity problem, and to this person the thought of the community that makes them happy being one with a toxicity problem is revolting to them and they deny it.
And this person is me. Honestly, it's bugging me right now. I know that the furry fandom is what you make of it, but I feel like I need to be aware of its issues and use that to be a better furry and a better person. I don't think I'm being clear about what I'm trying to ask, and I'm sorry for that.
I just hope you at least get what I'm trying to say.
* * *
If you refuse to participate in any kind of group that has problems in it (e.g., drama, jerks, bad people) then you will never ever join any group (including the human race). I hear complaints all the time about the "toxicity" of the furry fandom. I've been in the fandom for many many years, and I have no problem with it and find the vast majority of furries to be great people. You only get sucked into the "toxicity" if you allow yourself to be and if you hang out with bad furs. Like arsenic in a cup of tea, it only takes a drop to make the entire drink deadly. This is what often happens with furry meetup groups. Many of them are great, but some get taken over by awful people who ruin everyone's fun. This can be a big bummer when that local furmeet group is the one close to you. What I tell furries who have this problem is that they should have a bit of chutzpah and organize their own meetup group. Have meets at local parks, bowling alleys, farmers' markets, whatev, and just have fun with it. When you're in charge, you have the power to tell problem-makers to exit the doggie door and don't come back.
When it comes to the entire fandom and the criticism it has received, there are two things to say about that: The first is that media are finally starting to understand that furry is not a bad thing and, in fact, can do a lot of good. We give to charities, and furcons boost local economies, and no, it is not a big orgy and a sex cult. Sheesh. The bad attention that continues has to do with the fact that today's news (at least in the U.S., but other countries too) is all about sensationalism to gain viewers. Of the tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of furries out there, I've seen maybe 4 or 5 stories that were legitimate horrible crimes committed by furries or that involved furries in some way. That's actually a lot less than the general population, but when a "journalist" notes that a furry was involved, everyone suddenly gasps and says, "Furries are evil!"
You say you love the fandom. Great! If you are enjoying the fandom, then continue to do so, and don't worry about a few bad eggs. But, if it really does bother you that much, then do something about it by being a GOOD furry and setting an example to the world that furries are pawsome!
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.