I'm an artist, and I love to create and draw my fursonas on my computer, usually with the help of free ref sheets, but lately I've realized that my dad has been going on my computer to see what I've been working on, and to make sure I don't have any games or anything bad installed. This would be fine, but I have a feeling that my dad would NOT approve of my being a furry. I've been hiding it for over a year now, because I'm pretty sure if he found out, he would disown me, or at least punish me. I've been pretty good at hiding it, but I'm worried that if he keeps checking my computer like this, he might find my fursonas and get mad. I don't know what to do. If I ask him not to look through my art, might get suspicious, but if I do nothing, he might stumble upon it anyway. Please help. I don't know what to do.
Pip the Pesky Bird (age 14)
* * *
The problem goes deeper than the art on your computer. This is about trust. Now, your dad has a perfect right to monitor your computer behavior, but he did so by sneaking behind your back to do it. At the same time, you were hiding what you were drawing regarding furry stuff.
The first thing you and your dad need to do, therefore, is to rebuild the trust between you. Here is a nice article from the Boys and Girls Club of America on ways to build trust. Basically, what it advocates is open, honest communication. Working on expressing your needs and desires. Both you and your parent need to be able to do this because without trust you are creating a path toward miscommunication, hurt feelings, and a broken relationship.
I understand that you are afraid about revealing your furriness, but you are not doing anything bad such as drawing porn. Your father likely does not have an accurate mental image of furries, especially these days with all those ridiculous falsehoods about cat litter boxes in schools. Your job is to communicate to him why you enjoy drawing furries and what furry means to you. At the same time, tell him you want everything out in the open and he is free to monitor what you do on the phone and computer. You also want him to ask you any questions and to feel free that you can ask HIM questions about anything.
Assume your dad already knows what you are doing. Apologize that you have been a bit secretive about it, but tell him why you have. He will not disown you. And punishing you would be stupid. I mean, has he ever forbidden you to draw furry stuff? If he forbade you to do something and you did it anyway, he might justify a punishment, but if he never said don't do it, he has no grounds to punish you.
Most parents fear their kids doing furry stuff because they are ignorant of what furry is and believe what the idiotic media tells them. On the other paw, once parents understand that furry is no worse than, say, playing World of Warcraft, most parents are okay with it. The key is to alleviate your dad's fears. Being secretive is a red flag that you know you are doing something wrong (even if you aren't), and your dad isn't stupid. He picks up on stuff like that. So, once again, the key is to be honest. And honesty goes both ways.
Remember, your dad loves you and wants to protect you. If he didn't, he wouldn't care what you did on the computer.
Talk to Dad.
My brother (17) found the Furry Fandom last year, and my dad was fine with it, and my mom is kinda freaked out by it, and she has told me this but not my brother. I, on the other hand, have always been an advocate for how great and positive the Furry Fandom is and my brother has been really happy for that. My brother loved the Fandom so much I actually owe it to him that I became a Furry because I wanted to see what exactly about it made it so great. Looking back, I think the signs have always been there, and it feels nice to find a place I feel like I belong.
Now here's where my problem is I'm really embarrassed to tell my brother I'm a Furry because he might think I'm just trying to copy him or trying to make fun of him or that I'm ruining something special to him. I do want to tell him, though, because I feel like there is a lot of good memories we can make together doing something we both love.
So here is my question: How do I tell my brother I'm a Furry, especially since I don't want to hurt my relationship with him or my mom if she finds out, too? Anyway, thanks so much for your time and would be very grateful if you could help.
Logan (age 15)
* * *
Gosh, I would think your brother would be very happy that his sibling is also a furry and that they could share their furry experiences together. Why would you think otherwise? Are there instances in the past where he thought you were trying to imitate him? Younger siblings sometimes do have a rivalry. When I was little, I would follow my older sister around and try to do stuff with her, which kind of irritated her. She is three years older than I am. Your brother is two years older, which isn't a huge difference, but in the teen years it can seem like it.
I don't know your brother, obviously, but most furries are excited to have a family member who is also a furry and understands why they love it. I would go ahead and tell him. IMHO it should be a bonding experience between the two of you, and will likely become even more so as you get older.
Let me know how it goes.
* * *
I did it. I told my brother I was a furry, and I didn't make a big deal out of it, so neither did he. I am a little bit of an artist, so I offered to do some art for him, and he was pretty happy.
Thank you so much for your advice. It really helped me work up the courage to tell him.
My Final Word on Minors in the Fandom
Letters to this column have been on the decline, most likely because I can't afford much advertising right now, but the majority of the letters I do get have been from kids who all ask, in various ways, the same question: "I'm a furry and am afraid to tell my parents/friends/family." I don't post such letters and my responses because it's repetitive and doesn't add to the column. Past columns regarding "coming out furry" can be found here.
When I first started writing this column, my position on young furries (under 16) joining in the fandom was very different from what it is today. Back then, I basically encouraged kids to be furry, telling them a number of ways to broach the subject with their family and try to get them on board, or, if their family still didn't support their furriness, that they should still be furry but keep it quiet until they were adults and could make their own choices.
While I did stress to such letter writers that the furry fandom was conceived as a social group for adults and not children and that they should be careful where they go online, I still saw the fandom as an exercise in creative imagination that is important for children and that could be healthy for them, so, I erred on the side of saying they should be secret furries. That was wrong of me.
That was 10 years ago. Even then, there were dangers in the fandom for children, but these days I feel it is a much more sketchy world. In allowing their children to be furries, parents need to make one of two choices: either allow them to participate while being supervised continuously (monitor their internet and phone behavior and go with them to furcons or furmeets) or tell their kids that this is an adult fandom not intended for children and they will not allow their kids to participate any more than they would allow their kids to watch porn sites (parents need to give a clear explanation and not just say, "Because I told you not to.")
Parents, I must stress, not only have the right but also the responsibility to supervise and protect their children. Good parents stay involved in their kids' lives. But this means more than just saying "yes" or "no" to their children. Communication and involvement are essential.
Parents, if your kids want to be furry and they are, say, 10 or 12 years old, you should know that they aren't looking for sex and porn. Many of your kids write to me and emphasize that they know there is X-rated stuff online but that they just want to have a fursona and a fursuit. They are enamored by anthropomorphic animals. You need to understand that watching cartoons or movies like Turning Red sparks their imaginations and feelings of playfulness. Wanting to dress up as a fox or Husky is just creative play, not anything evil, anti-Christian, or nefarious.
So, if you wish to ban your children from the fandom, that is understandable. But, at the same time, you should also come to understand their interest in anthro characters. Play with your kids. Maybe even help them make a costume (fursuit), read them classic anthro stories such as The Wind in the Willows or Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH or Redwall and share with them their explorations into stories and fiction. This is healthy, believe it or not, and not enough parents do it.
Kids, if you are underage, Papabear understands you aren't into the fandom because of porn. You just want to play pretend. I get it. But you need to understand that the online community can be dangerous. You might think you know, but you don't. Even adult furries can face attacks by some quite nasty furs on the internet. While most furries are good people, if you aren't prepared for what might happen, you could become a victim of pedophiles or worse. The furry fandom can be a wonderful place--and it usually is (it's not about furporn, which, while it is out there, is not the purpose of the fandom at all)--but you need to be careful.
While working with Tim Stoddard on his upcoming book, Furtannia, I learned that in England the furries do not permit minors to attend furcons and meets. In fact, the idea of allowing kids into such functions is bizarre to them. In America, where we have become very permissive of people's desires and privileges, we have perhaps gone too far and no longer recognize that not all things are for children.
The bottom line is this: The Furry Fandom is an adult fandom that looks like it is for children, and that can be a potentially dangerous combination for you cubs out there. Papabear does not recommend an active involvement in the fandom--especially online--for anyone under the age of 16 without parental supervision.
But this doesn't mean you cubs can't do furry stuff. After all, the main reason we older furries love the fandom so much is to share our interest in movies, TV shows, novels, and comic books with anthropomorphic characters. You can still do that. And you can write stories and maybe make your own fursuit, too.
Parents, stop stressing about whether or not your kids are getting A's and are going to integrate into "normal society." Imagination and creativity should be encouraged and not suppressed. Don't call your kids "weird" or worse because of their interest in furries. They're just trying to be playful. You should try to remember, perhaps, what play is and how healthy it is for mind, heart, and soul.
Above all else, parents and their kids need to talk to one another. Parents, don't just "lay down the law" and forbid them from being furry; kids, don't try to hide your furriness and be sneaky with your phone and online behavior because, believe me, your parents will find out and then you will damage their trust in you.
Being furry can have many benefits for children. For example, parents, did you know that being a furry can help kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder? It's true! Watch this video for more.
Even more, being in the furry fandom can foster skills such as drawing, writing, sartorial skills (sewing is a valuable skill!), and even computer programming and the digital arts. On a less technical side, being furry often is a side effect of a person's love of animals and nature. These days, kids can feel very distanced from Nature, and caring about domestic animals and wildlife can be good for them. So, there can be many academic and social benefits.
As with anything in the modern world, being a furry can be complicated. There are both good and (some) bad things about it. As kids, you need to be aware of the dangers; as parents, you have the right to protect your kids, but don't be lazy about it by just saying "No." Get more involved in your children's lives. Find out why they like furries. Ask questions. And let them be kids. Being a parent is hard, no question, but it can be much more rewarding if you connect to your kids rather than just regulating their lives.
Questions? Feel free to write me and I am happy to answer anything you would like to ask!
I have not told my family that I'm a furry and that I'm transgender. It is hard these days, with all the bad thing about us, but I get by. But I'm very scared, and I do not know what to do. I try to sneak it in, but some people are just stupid. I just feel like my own kind are the only ones that get me. I just want to be loved for who I am without hiding who I am. (Oh, and I have not changed genders just yet, so I'm still a boy.)
I just do not want to hate who I am. I want to embrace it because it is me. Do you think you can help me? I also would like it if you can share what you say to others like me. Thank you in advance. Oh, and I believe we need, as a furry community, to stop the false information and hateful things like the uwu and judgement on us. Sorry if I'm oversharing to you; it is just that I have so much to say. Thank you.
Ivy Black (age 14)
* * *
Although we're dealing with two things here--being furry and being transgender--it is possible that they are related. Before I get into your specific situation, please indulge me as I talk about a topic of importance that may or may not have to do with you (it popped into my head because of your comment about not wanting to hate yourself).
The issue here that Papabear has been hearing about and learning about more and more has to do with body dysmorphia (or, more formally, Body Dysmorphic Disorder). This is a fancy term for not liking your own body. Related to this is gender dysmorphia, or not liking the gender you currently inhabit.
According to the Mayo Clinic: "Signs and symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder include:
This is a vital question to ask, investigate, and answer before you continue on your life journey. At 14, you are, of course, in puberty, and you are being filled with a lot of hormones and emotions. It is important not to make any rash decisions now that will affect your entire life in a very powerful way and that you might regret later on. I'm glad you have not had any surgical procedures yet. You should really hold off on those for a few more years (and despite what some people have written me, I happen to know there are some clinics that perform sex-reassignment surgeries on kids under 16, so, readers, please do not write to me about that).
Anyway, the same might be said for some furries (and, I think, for people who describe themselves as lycanthropes, therianthropes, and otherkin). I know it is true for yours truly, for if there were a medical procedure available that would turn me into a bear, I honestly think I would consider it (I don't regard myself as a werebear, though). A lot of furries feel that having fur, tails, snouts, etc. are beautiful and they would be happy to look more like an anthro. Alas, it is not to be.
Before any of us pursue physical or hormonal therapies, I think it would benefit anyone to stop for a moment and consider working on body acceptance. Too often, we allow ourselves to be beaten down by what others say about our appearance to the point that we hate how we look. This often involves fat-shaming, but can include everything from height, hair, facial features, musculature, skin color, teeth, etc. etc. For example, I am fair-skinned, always have been, because I'm a semi-ginger and I freckle but don't tan. As a kid in Van Nuys, California, I was mocked all the time for not being bronze-skinned. At summer camp, they called me "Caspar the Friendly Ghost." This hurt a lot to the point I was constantly trying to tan and, instead, ended up burning myself to the point of getting blisters. Not good. Eventually, I woke up to the fact that I was hurting myself because of a bunch of shallow idiots. Don't follow my lead. Don't listen to others.
I am, admittedly, using your letter as a jumping-off-place to discuss the important point that we need to learn body acceptance. Obviously, only a small number of furries really have body dysmorphia, and most trans people want to get surgery for their own, not others', reasons. I just urge caution, especially for those who are still going through puberty. You can do a lot of damage to your body if you go through hormone therapy before your body can handle it. Hormone therapy side effects can include heart disease, certain cancers, liver damage, blood clots, stroke, and dangerous drops or increases in blood pressure. Genital surgery (vaginoplasty, in your case) can sometimes have unpleasant complications, too, including difficulty with urination and the formation of fistulas, which might lead to feces being excreted from the newly constructed vagina. Needless to say, this can adversely affect one's love life as well as one's physical and mental health.
I'm writing the above not to freak you out but to make sure you are aware of all the dangers. Depending on the source, anywhere between 1% and 8% of those who underwent surgery decided to detransition, but even this is not always successful. On the more optimistic side, this means that as many as 99% are happy with the results. Last word: be absolutely certain this is right for you before pursuing surgery or hormone therapy. That's all I'm really saying here.
Okay, with all that aside (whew! and sorry!) let's get into the broader issue of acceptance. I will definitely say that, in this bear's experience, the furry fandom is tremendously accepting of transexual and transgender people. Indeed, two of the four Good Furry Award winners are transexuals, and people win that award by being nominated and voted on by the furry community.
Another way, therefore, that your transgender and furry desires are related would be exactly what you said in your letter: seeking to find acceptance for being yourself. Of the two subjects, I think the one to address first is your being transgender. It is important to note that there is a difference between saying "I am transgender" and "I am a transexual."
Transgender is an umbrella term used for anyone who feels that their gender is not in alignment with the sex they were born with. For example, a male born with, obviously, a penis and scrotum feels inside himself that he is really a female. This is not limited to just female and male genders but can encompass the many and wide variety of genders being defined today, including intersex, gender fluid, gender nonconforming, androgynous, bygender, neutrois, and on and on.
Transexual is a much narrower category that falls within transgender (that is, all transexuals are transgender but not all transgender people are transexual). Although the definition I'm about to give has been starting to change, for purposes of this discussion we will define transexual as someone who has finished or commenced with a medical procedure for sexual reassignment.
It sounds to me that you have correctly identified yourself as transgender and that you are considering becoming transexual (the above is for the benefit of my other readers).
You have every right to be yourself and to be accepted as yourself. You shouldn't have to hide who you are from your family and friends. When it comes to friends, the good news is you can pick and choose. Pick the people who support you to be your friends, and anyone who does not support you is not really a friend, so don't worry about them. You don't need them in your life and you do not need their validation.
Family is more of a challenge. You can't pick your blood, so if they don't accept you, you're still kind of stuck with them, especially at your age when you're still a dependent. You don't say anything about your family, so this is a bit hard for me to gauge. Parents and other relatives can run the gamut from unsupportive, judgmental, and strict to loving, supportive, and flexible. The Planned Parenthood website has some solid advice on coming out trans to family, and they also note some other helpful and supportive organizations such as GLAAD. Be prepared to educate your family as to what being transgender really means to you, and be able to answer their questions. Most fears people have about something like transgender people stem from the fact that they are simply ignorant and have a lot of wild ideas that are incorrect. If your parents are religious, another good resource is Rainbow Ark, which offers support to LGBTQIIA+ furries from religious families.
Ignorance of the facts is also a problem for those who criticize or are fearful of the furry fandom. For them, a good documentary to watch is Ash Coyote's The Fandom. It gives a good enough overview of the fandom, what it is, its history, in a way that is not threatening to normies. There are other documentaries out there, too, but this one is an hour and a half and free.
The way to fight judgment and negativity about transgender people and furries is the same: education. The more people understand something, the less likely it is that their imaginations and fears will run wild. The more people like your peers and your family understand you, the less you should be afraid of opening up to them. When you conceal your identity and shamefully keep things hidden away, people sense that. You aren't fooling your parents, for example. They know something is going on with you, though they might not understand exactly what. You can alleviate their fears by calmly opening up to them. Educate them. Answer their questions.
You aren't doing anything for which you should be ashamed. So, don't be ashamed. Perhaps not all people will "get you" or accept you, but that's their problem, not yours. And you might be very surprised by how many people do accept you once you open up to them.
Sorry for the long reply. I haven't written back to anyone in a while and had a lot to get out LOL. I certainly hope this is helpful. Please feel free to write again if you have more questions.
Underage Furry Sabotaged His First Chance of Getting Dad on His Side. Time to Try Again.
Hi. 13 year old new furry here. I want to ask my dad if I can get a fursuit. He already knows I'm a furry from snooping on my computer and discord. I don't really know too much of how he feels about it. I also want to attend my local furry con in June. I am really struggling with this new liking. I also want to make friends with furries, but my dad recently made me completely log out of discord and other forums for (reasons) that I will not share here. I hope someone can help me out here!
Victor (age 13)
* * *
Your father is trying to protect you from porn, of which there is a lot on furry websites, as you likely know. At 13, you are too young for such things. The furry fandom was created for adults, not children, but these days a lot of kids as young as 10 are discovering the fandom. It is attractive to them because it relates to many of the cartoons and animated movies young people enjoy watching, and the idea of becoming an anthro animal character can have a lot of appeal to the young imagination.
If you wish to continue exploring your furriness, Papabear's advice to you is that you stop hiding your internet and phone behavior and have an honest discussion with Dad because, at the tender age of 13, you are not going to be able to attend a furcon without his cooperation and support. You are likely going to have a tough time of this, honestly, because it sounds like you have been looking at furporn and possibly indulging in other unsavory behavior.
Furcons will only allow underage furries to attend if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. You can't just go by yourself or with a friend.
So, for you to get a fursuit (are you paying yourself or asking Dad to buy it, which will be even harder?) and go to a con, you are going to have to reestablish your connection with Dad. Indeed, you will need a verbal agreement with him to do the following: NOT look at furporn or engage in X-rated roleplay online and be completely transparent with your online and phone activities with Dad (no more hiding what you do; Dad must have complete access to your browser history and more). You will then need time to repair your relationship so that Dad trusts you to be honest with him. Seeing that this is January and the con is in June, I seriously doubt you can fix this in time for the next local furcon.
That said, all hope is not lost. With a lot of work and love, you may be able to get Dad on your side again. You can do this by discussing the fandom openly with him and by showing him such things as the documentary The Fandom by Ash Coyote, which is available free on YouTube here.
So, I have a friend group, and the "leader," let's call him Fred (not really), is purrfectly fine with furries (see what I did there?) and couldn't care less. However, if I tell him, the other, not so nice kids are bound to find out, like the notorious Steve (also fake) will go, and I quote, "You're f@&$ing a!$ stupid for being into that porn &h$!." And they will tease me about it. I don't know what to do! Please help! ;w;
Anonymous (age 12)
* * *
Ah, group dynamics are a complex thing. After years (decades, really) of failing to belong to any groups myself, my approach now and forever more will always be to have friendships on a one-on-one basis. You don't have to be friends with everyone in that social circle, especially those who are going to act like "Notorious Steve." Don't worry about that. Why would you want to be friends with haters? Be friends with those who accept you for you, and the others can go take a long walk off a short pier.
This is a good time in your life to learn how to figure out which people are friend material and which ones are shallow and judgmental. If you learn this at the age of 12, you will be way ahead of most people in the world by the time you are an adult.
Remember, you were not put on this planet to get people's approval. You are here to lend a unique voice to the chorus of humanity. Your job is to learn who you truly are as a person and to live your life genuinely, truthfully.
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?
* * *
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.
His Parents Are Bad Christians
Okie, why do Christians hate gay furry people? They have always been hating them, but they claim that they do "love" them. (Especially where I live. If you are gay, don't expect to be treated like a human, just hide it for your safety). My parents found out I was gay by guessing (they are good at it). Now they see me walk feminine, they make me walk again till they see I "walk like a man." They call me names ("sissy," it's annoying), and they just stress me a lot. Can you please help me?
Possible Snow (age 13, Alabama)
* * *
Dear Possible Snow,
Christians do not hate gay or furry people. True Christians who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ follow His command to love ALL humankind. There are dozens and dozens of passages in the Bible that tell us to love one another. For example, in John 15:12, Jesus says, "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you." Jesus doesn't say to love only fellow Christians or only straight people or white people or to hate gay people. Therefore, those who say they are Christians and then say they hate you for being gay (or for anything) are not true Christians. They are a sadly common breed of fake Christians that have overwhelmed the Church in America and around the world.
Fake Christians get around the Word of God by saying things like: "Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner." This is just a convenient way of trying to get around what God (according to their own religion!) says so that they can pretend to love you but, in truth, they look down at you with contempt. I experienced a horrific example of this two years ago when I got married to Michael. We invited his only sister--a classic fake Christian--to join us at the ceremony. But she told us she preferred to go to her minister's retirement party than to be there for her only sibling. The reason, obviously, is that we are gay and the marriage makes her uncomfortable. Now, when I confronted her on this, she protested, saying, "But I LOVE you Kevin!" I call bullshit. Actions speak louder than words. She hurt me and Michael deeply because she is a bad sister and a bad Christian. Oh, the pièce de résistance was when she surprised me at the front door around Christmas time to hand me a Christmas card with a $20 Starbucks card in it. Good Lord! Oh, yeah, $20! That makes it ALL better!
Pardon my digression, but I think you see my point. You're asking the wrong question. Your question should be this: "How do I convert my parents from being fake Christians to being loving parents who are good Christians?" This is where the Bible comes in. Know your Bible. Read it. Find all the passages in which Jesus commands us to love others. If you need help, see whether you can find a minister who is not a homophobe (this might take some research, but they are out there). Also, I have a link on my website for Rainbow Ark, a resource for gay furry Christians. Check it out.
Good parents love their children unconditionally. Apparently, you need to teach them how to be good parents. This is hard to do living in a state like Alabama, which is the heart of Homophobe Country, but if you talk to them in a way they understand by using the Bible, there is a chance they might listen.
I have a question... So as I've been growing up I have always liked animals and yeah I would make my first fur suit at the age of 4! (Plastic and cardboard materials) as when I was 10 I discovered the furry fandom but I was to afraid to tell my parents... After a while I went to Amazon to buy myself some paws but ofc I needed my mother's and fathers permission to buy it (with my money) my mother when I told her she looked at me awkward and she said, "Well, if you want it buy it is your money and is your liking" somehow I found a way to take it bad and the whole night I thought that I was just weird- the next day I told my father he said, "Well... I think it's a little pricy." I didn't get a straight answer so now I'm thinking if I should tell them. But I don't know how or is just that I don't have the courage too so I found this website a day after that and now I'm here typing! So I would love some tips.
Clover (age 11)
* * *
That is so neat that you built your own fursuit when you were 4! You and I have something in common: we were both furry before we even heard of the furry fandom. This means that we always loved imaginative play about being an anthropomorphic animal of some kind. With me, it had to do with my love of The Jungle Book. Was there some show or movie or book that made you interested in furries?
The point I want to make here is this: being a furry and being active in the furry fandom are two different things. You do not have to be in the fandom (for example, going to conventions, role-playing online, participating in social media websites) to be a furry. A lot of young people like yourself who are into things like Zootopia and Sonic the Hedgehog or anime cartoons stumble upon the fandom and think to themselves, "Cool! There are people like me who enjoy these things, too! How can I meet them?" But what you may not be aware of is that the fandom was originally created by fans who are quite a bit older than you, and the intent was to take cartoon characters and put them in more adult situations. This does not necessarily mean sex. It could mean stories about violence, prejudice, serious adult relationships, drugs, and so on, but it sometimes DOES mean sex and pornography.
Your parents are correct to be careful. You're their daughter and they want you to be safe. Good parents! Also, if they go online at all and type in "furry fandom" or something similar, they are going to see furporn. And then they might ban you from any ambitions of being in the fandom.
Deep breath! I have been to several conventions and seen children your age or younger, sometimes in partial fursuits, with their parents having a blast. I have gone to panels and workshops to which parents were invited and heard their questions and concerns. All of this is valid and important.
The key here is communication. Openness. Tell your parents honestly how you enjoy furry characters. This is not at all a bizarre thing. Many people (even adults) enjoy animated cartoons and movies. But tell them also of your interest in the fandom and ask for their help. They should always have free access to what you do on your computer and on your phone. Ask them to learn about the fandom. Ask them if they will go to a furcon with you (they may even have a good time!) or a furmeet. Never hide anything that you are doing. Ask them to teach you (if you don't already know) how to avoid trolls and dangerous people online (this is useful information whether or not you are a furry because the internet is full of scummy people).
And do me a favor, Clover. Show them this email. And tell them to send me an email if they have any questions. I'd be happy to answer them. If they like, I will send you my phone number and they can call me.
There is absolutely nothing wrong about being a furry. It exercises your imagination, which is something we need more of in this world of machines and cubicle jobs and people who can't seem to think outside the box. Imagination and creativity are beneficial to our emotional and mental health. Whether you are a furry or an artist or a musician or an architectural designer, these are things that help enrich our lives. So, I hope you will continue to talk to your parents about furries.
Thank you for your letter.
Big Bear Hugs,
So, I'm an aspiring furry and I want to make a head for my fursuit! But, my mom thinks that the furry fandom is sexual and keeps telling me to stop being one because its "GROSS!" and "bad." I keep trying to explain to her that the fandom isn't sexual and that we are actually donating to charities and stuff but she won't listen. What should I do?
Grazer (age 11)
* * *
Both you and your mother are correct. The fandom can be a lot of good, clean fun, and yes, a lot of charity work has been done by furries. But your mother is also correct in that there is a lot of adult art in the fandom, and you need to be careful you don't associate with the wrong crowd. There are a lot of good furries, but there are also some very bad ones. You, being 11, can be an easy target for bad furries. Your mother is trying to protect you, which is not only her right but also her duty as a parent.
That said, your mother needs to not go the easy route of just saying, "No, you can't be a furry." This is what I call "lazy parenting." Also, it is ineffective. When a parent tells a kid, "You can't do that because I said so," the kid just wants to do the forbidden activity all the more and thinks the parent is not listening to them or sympathizing with them. This can create resentment, secretive behavior, and misbehavior on the part of the child.
What Mom needs to do is become more involved in your life. The two of you should explore furry together. First, understand that the furry fandom was created for adults, not children. The entire establishment of the furry fandom was meant to create anthro characters in adult situations (not just sex, but everything from scenes about violence to other mature situations and themes). But since it began, the fandom has evolved, too. It used to be mostly for people in their teens and twenties (and still largely is), but now more and more you see furries who are a lot older (I'm 55, for example) as well as kids as young as 10. The fandom needs to accommodate this changing membership, and in a lot of ways it does. For example, if you go to a furry convention, there will often be an art gallery. Most of the art is clean, but there is some mature art, which is kept in a separate section and only adults are allowed in. Also, minors such as yourself must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at any furcon, and panels and workshops that address adult topics are restricted to mature members.
You should not argue with Mom. Instead, explain why you are interested in furries. Have a discussion with her. Also, tell her you understand her concerns and tell her that she is right to be worried, and also you should thank her for caring! Then, invite her to explore furry with you. Tell her that she can freely monitor what you view on the computer and on your phone to make sure you don't see anything bad. Ask her for her help in navigating the online world. Ask her to watch the movies and TV shows you enjoy with you. Maybe, with enough communication, you can even ask her to take you to a furcon someday.
In short, don't argue with Mom. Communicate with her. Listen to her concerns and ask her to listen to your feelings as well.
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.