I am a 14 year old member of the furry fandom, and would like to go to a furry convention. I've done some reading and found my situation is very unique from others. I live in a very right wing redneck Christian family, and adopted these traits for myself, as I am a religious christian, a conservative republican, and somewhat country. Luckily where I live, none of my friends know about the fandom, I'm one of the lucky kids that get a whopping 400 kb/s network connection. Anyway there's a possibility my father may know something about the fandom. My dad watches Tosh.0. Luckily one time I was up late watching Tosh.0, and found out about the "Furries Kid" episode while my parents were sleeping, it would be a disaster if they saw that episode. Anyway I try to keep that episode off the DVR because my dad records the series. So the issue is whether or not my dad saw this T.V episode. Anyway another issue that turned me off to telling my father about the fandom was I fell asleep on the couch one time, and slept in past everyone else. My dad came home from work at about 9 in the morning and told my family about this "really weird guy at work that liked to wear my little pony accessories, and attend Brony conventions" and told my sister to "Never be weird like that" So even though I'm not a Brony, I don't want my dad to look at furries the same way. Another experience I had that turned me off to telling people was when I was at diving practice,and I stayed after to visit a friend in a more advanced dive team who kind of like me. We started following eachother on Instagram, where I posted alot of my furry art. Well wouldn't you know it, she knows about furries. So I'm talking to her, and it turns out she's an artist as well, which I didn't know, and she was talking to me about drawing tablets. Then she says "What up with all the drawing of..." and a responded "Cats?" and she said "Furries... Are you a furry?" and I said "Yeah, sort of." And her response was "Oh my god raccoon! (She called me Raccoon which had nothing to do with the fandom, she started calling me that when I grew my hair out longer) Does that mean you're into beastiality?" and I of course am not so I said "Heavens, no!" and then she said "Good! Hey I have to go to practice, see you later!" So I texted her later that night asking her on a scale of 1-10 how weirded out she was, and she replied 2 and that it wasn't really that big of a deal and she said she was sorry for bringing up bestiality and that it was a weird thing to ask, but you're one of the last people I'd expect to be a furry. I had friends who've jokingly called me nerd jock because I'm very interested in computers, and cartooning, and because of my athletic ability. I earned that name right around when I got into the fandom as well as started benching 120 pounds at the age of 13 and then shortly later breaking our schools mile time record with 5:34. Anyway, I'm not really anti social, or an outcast. I've never wanted to risk this, so I've never really told anybody about the fandom, but then one day decided "I want to go to Anthrocon" So I started sharing my art on Instagram with my friends, and showed a little bit of my work to my parents as a first step, and am having difficulty climbing the next step to asking my parents to go to anthrocon. Really that's the best I can hope for, as much as I want to get a suit, there's no way I can justify spending $2,000 to dress up like a Wolf whether it's my own money, or a request for a gift, but any advice on any of this mess would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking your time to read my question.
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Been a while since you wrote me, so I am sorry for the long wait. Thanks for your patience.
What you are dealing with is the Bane of the Stereotype. The stereotype about furries is that we are all jobless sex perverts who want to do it with animals. This, of course, is utter nonsense. You're a good example of someone who is into furry art, but, contrary to stereotypes, you are athletic, sociable, and not into porn.
Because you are not a stereotype but an individual, the key here is to have parents and friends recognize you as yourself and not "a furry." Once they tag a label on you, you are doomed. So, you have to avoid the label. It is in human nature to label and categorize things. You are even doing it to yourself when you reply, "Yeah, sort of" to the query, "Are you a furry?"
Let's begin by working on terminology.
First of all, nobody who is a human being is "a furry." A furry is an anthropomorphic animal character such as Bugs Bunny. There is no such thing in real life as a Bugs Bunny, so the people who like these characters are actually "fans of furries" or "furry fans." To be even more long-winded, it would be more precise to say "I am a fan of anthropomorphized animal characters in the media" because not all animals have fur.
But that is too much of a mouthful, which is why people shorten it to "I am a furry."
There is a disconnect between the perception of what a furry is and the stuff that furries like. What are some of the things furries like? Well, they like Warner Bros cartoon characters, they like Kimba the White Lion, they like Po in Kung Fu Panda, they like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, they like Rocket Racoon in Guardians of the Galaxy, they like Judy and Nick in Zootopia, they like Simba in The Lion King. Know what all of these have in common? They are all HUGELY popular in "normal" human society. But say "furry" and "normal" people (at least those who have heard of the fandom at all) think sexual deviant.
It is the difference between being a fan of something and participating in a fandom culture. And it's not just true of furry fans. Say that you like Tolkien books and the Lord of the Rings movies, and people are generally cool with that. But dress up as Gandalf and role play in an event at Griffith Park, where people sometimes go to reenact scenes from the books, and you become a geek.
Being underage and living in a conservative home like you do can make things more difficult, to be sure. If you don't think your parents can handle the fandom aspect of this, you can still enjoy furry fiction and art by disassociating yourself from "the fandom" and just going ahead and drawing, watching movies, and so on. That way, just as you are a "jock who likes computers" you can also be a "jock who likes cartoons and animated movies."
Now, if you really really really feel a need to become closer and more sociable with others in the fandom, including going to furcons and furmeets, that will make things more complicated for you. However, what you can do to reassure your family that you aren't, let's say, "going to the Dark Side," is reinforce the other aspects of yourself that they find more acceptable: your Christianity, your "country" side, your being a Republican when it comes to politics. As long as your parents see that this part of you is not changing, that might reassure them. You might also be interested to know that there are many Christian and conservative furries out there (e.g. http://christianfurs.net/).
In many letters to Papabear from young 'uns who have Christian, conservative parents, the problem is that these parents fear "losing" their kids to some kind of perverted, animal-fetishist movement (ironically, it is usually the parents driving away their kids rather than the other way around). Assure your parents that you have not changed regarding religion, politics, etc. and you will hopefully be okay.
I hope that helps,
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