I have been in the furry fandom for about 6 or 7 years, give or take, and have been making fursuits for about two. i don't post about my fursuits to online forums, but I do distribute to friends and family. Recently, I came under some drama because of one.
I had made a black wolf suit a while ago and gave it to a friend, who sold it last year as they no longer wanted the suit or the character the suit was based of off. Recently, adult content featuring this suit has popped up, and most people don't care, but my friend group, and people who know me personally/know my friends and work, have been harassing me and the person who originally owned the suit.
I believe the person who owns the suit now converted it into a murrsuit, as I made repairs to the suit before it was sold because of a popped seam in the armpits, and on the neck of the head, and there weren't any naughty holes in it then.
I have tried to explain the situation to others, but I can't seem to get it through to them. Any advice?
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I've come across many similar situations from my readers in my inbox. While the specifics are different, the results are the same. A furry gets accused of something they didn't do and no one will believe them when they deny it, even when they present evidence to the contrary.
When this happens, the letter writer always asks me for advice on what they can do to convince their friends and family they are innocent. Wrong question. You did nothing wrong. The real question is this: WHY don't they believe you? There could be a couple of reasons for this. Are you an untrustworthy person who has lied before? If so, like the boy who cried wolf, you are unlikely to be believed.
I don't think this is usually the case, however, with the people who write to me, including you. Far more likely is that these other people don't like who you are or don't agree with what you are doing. Therefore, when they find some "evidence" that justifies their point of view, they believe it and will not change their minds about it because it validates their opinions. This is the same reason we have Trump voters. Despite all the evidence to the contrary that he is a horrible person and an incompetent leader, people voted for him because he validates their worldview concerning white superiority and the fear of people who are different. In your case, the idea that you make murrsuits validates their worldview that all furries are perverts, so they stick with that interpretation.
Another possible reason is that they are looking for people to put down so that they feel superior themselves. This is the trolling syndrome and is also true of bullies. Many people who have low self-esteem become bullies or trolls and look for signs of weakness in others in their community. Whether or not that "weakness" is true or not, they will glom onto it and begin a campaign of trashing you so that they can say, "Hey, look, that person is a loser. They aren't like me. I'm awesome and superior to them." (They don't talk like that, but you get what I mean.)
So, my advice? Since you can't argue with stupid people and hateful people, all you can say is this: "Well, I have told you my side of the story, which is true. If you refuse to believe me, that's on you, not me." The burden is on them to fix the relationship, not you. The good news, if you want to put a positive spin on things, is that now you know which of your friends are derps and should be avoided.
Then look for better people to befriend. They are out there. I know a lot of them. Fortunately, sounds like not all of your friends believe this lie, so that's a great thing!
I've always had this bitter feeling between me and my parents. It's not hate or spite. It's just a unpleasant. I feel like it has to do with differences in political views. I hate this feeling. I feel unwanted in this world in I'm around my parents or any authority figure. The only people that make me feel whole and wanted are my friends. I love my friends, they make me feel wanted, like I deserve love. However, there's this fear in my head. I'm afraid of that bitter feeling and I'm afraid of that bitter feeling spreading. I mean, I've had friends with different political views but I never had any feeling of bitterness with those select friends. All of my friends, and I mean; ALL OF MY FRIENDS make me feel whole and wanted. What I'm afraid of is that the bitterness would spread in some friendships. I absolutely don't want that. I don't think I can bare such an oppressive feeling. I have a good feeling that it will NEVER happen. But I still fear it. So what do you think is the deal? Why is it that my parents and authority give me that bitter feeling? It confuses the hell out of me.
Maxi (age 18)
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It is quite natural for teenagers to resent, disagree with, and even sometimes hate their parents. I would, however, be hesitant to believe that you "always" felt that way. I'm sure that when you were a baby and little kid, you loved and looked up to your parents. As you got older and started to form your own opinions and worldview that didn't mesh with your parents' views--and, also, found them to be authority figures who restricted what you wanted to do (i.e., your "freedom")--you began to dislike their company. This pretty much always happens. My theory is that Mother Nature plans it this way because fledglings eventually have to leave the nest, and it is easier for parents to kick their kids out of the house (or to see them go on their own) during a stage in their lives when they become obnoxious, disrespectful, and petulant.
You see, Maxi, growing up comes in three phases: 1) infancy and childhood, when you depend on your parents as your sole source of nurturing and comfort and you believe they know everything and they are your world and you crave their attention and love; 2) puberty and the teen years, when you suddenly know everything, you're always right, and your parents become utter morons who should be put in an institution for the sake of public safety; 3) adulthood, when you realize that both you and your parents have good and bad points, know some things and not other things, and you are all basically good but flawed human beings. You are currently in Stage 2.
Stage 2 is also characterized by the forming of close bonds with your peers, who you feel more closely reflect who you are, what you think, and how you feel. All of you are in the phase when you resent your parents as authority figures, and this is often expanded to all authority figures (teachers, bosses, police officers, politicians, etc. etc.)
As your friendships progress, you will lose some friends along the way (they will move or you will stop sharing interests or you will find out they are jerks), but you will also form new friendships. Do not become distressed by this because this is also perfectly normal. Do not be upset if you become "bitter" about some of these lost friendships. That is also normal.
Do you see a theme here? The theme is: You are normal. Everyone goes through this to a greater or lesser degree. You are not suffering from any weird psychological or emotional disorder. You're fine.
Eventually, as you mature, in all likelihood you will realize you are not as smart and cool as you think you are and your parents aren't as despotic and mean as you think they are. I feel quite confident that you are not unwanted and that your parents actually love you quite a lot. Over time, you will also get better at forming true, lasting friendships and recognizing which people are just fair-weather friends or, perhaps, even users. You will form better friendships and your relationship with your family will get better (this, again, is a typical pattern but there are always exceptions, but I see nothing in your letter at this time to indicate it will progress otherwise).
I hope this makes you feel better, Maxi. You are just at the beginning of exploring deep, meaningful relationships because you yourself are becoming a more mature, complex, and interesting person. Roll with it.
I guess I should start at the beginning. I had a friend, I’m not sure I should say his name. Let’s call him Ron. Ron and I were inseparable. I mean, we were only friends online, but we were closer than anyone. Almost like twins.
Ron and I talked all the time, but of course we both had our own lives, so it was normal that he and I didn’t talk for a few days. He had his own friends, and I had mine as well. But we were always there for each other. Best friends.
I noticed that after some time had passed, years I mean, that he started talking to me less and less. Even though I’d message or call him. He’d start to leave me on “read” or even just flat out send me to voice mail. Which didn’t bug me at first. He was probably just busy. Then I noticed it happening more and more. And I saw that even when he was online he still wouldn’t reach out to me. That started to get to me a bit. He started commissioning art that both of us had planned to get together with others. Ideas that I shared with him and we both promised to get.
Over time, I asked him what was going on. Did I say something? Did I do something? And he just flat out said “our friendship has run its course.” That hurt me so hard. Someone I had considered family to me, would just turn their back on me like that. And without a word.
Years later. I have a best friend now, we can call him Jude. Jude and I are the same way Ron and I were. Closer than anyone ever. Actually, we went to high school together. We have known each other for 11 years or so, but only have considered each other best friends for about 5-6 years probably. It feels like forever though. I love this guy to death, and I’d risk my life for him. And he feels the same way, I know it. Mostly because he told me so.
But . . . well again he has his own friends. And sometimes he will be with them instead of me. And...I really hate to say it, I feel paranoid. Almost like he will see a better friend in them instead of me, and leave me for them. Just like Ron did. He’s gotten so close with others. Even artwork with them and it scares me. Wow, typing this out, I feel disgusted with myself. And he’s noticed this. He does say it does bug him that I get like this. I tell him I’m fine but he says he doesn’t believe me when I say that.
Jude guarantees me that we are best friends until the literal end. And that he would never think about turning his back on me as Ron did. But I still get really scared.
No friendship should be like this. How can I even call this a friendship with how selfish I act like this? Am I just a terrible friend to him? I know it’s completely unfair.
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This is a good example of my belief that online relationships aren't the same as in-person friendships. Real friendships require a commitment and dedication beyond typing or video chat. They take some sacrifice along with the rewards. When there is no real-life contact with a friend, when you don't go through troubles and tribulations together as well as good times, then no strong connection will form. Oh, sure, you can have friendly chats and if you share hobbies and philosophies you can feel as if there is a strong bond there, but, just like the internet, it's only virtual. "Plans" to meet sound nice, but then reality gets in the way (money, work, school, pandemics) and that "someday we will meet" gets pushed farther and farther into the future until it never happens.
Your friendship with Ron was only virtual. Eventually, he got tired of it and turned his attention to friends he could actually see and do things with in person (my theory). So, he became bored and moved on, tired of waiting for you. Jude, on the other paw, is a friend with whom you have a shared past in high school. This is a totally different ball of wax. It is much more real. It is therefore not the same as your friendship with Ron. You should not compare apples and oranges, Tieg. And you should not allow one bad experience with one person poison your friendship with Jude. If you do, you will find yourself creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. That is, you will become so paranoid that Jude will dump you that he will feel you don't trust him and he will dump you.
Get over Ron. Jude is not comparable. Commit to this relationship; trust Jude, and don't act like Jude is Ron. If you do, you will poison what you have.
You are not a terrible friend. You're allowing fear to control you. The absolute worst thing you can do to yourself is allow fear to rule your behavior. A common human foible. Forget about Ron. Live for today. Today is all you have. Ron is the past; Jude is the future. Enjoy your friendship with Jude and trust him to be there for you. And stop torturing yourself. What happened to you is totally understandable, but now is the time to learn and grow from the experience and don't obsess over it.
Have a good holiday and a blessed New Year.
Hello again, Papabear,
I’ll get to the point. Within my years in the fandom, I realize I sometimes gravitate to furs a bit older than me. I do have plenty of friends my own age, and I’ve made sure not to put myself in a compromising situation (any con or furry meetup I’ve gone to my mom has gone with me, and I of course follow safety rules on the internet). I find that I sort of seek out these older figures; but I don’t quite know why. I have a good relationship with both my parents, and they’ve both been there for me. So why do I want to seek out these relationships? (never romantic mind you).
Galaxy (age 16)
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As you know, much has been going on in the world and it has been affecting my life, so sorry for the slow reply. I have a question or two first: Do you gravitate toward older males, females, or both? Are these furries a LOT older than you or just a little older? Is this attraction physical or more intellectual or emotional?
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Worry not, the virus has affected many, many people including my own family. Hope you’re safe! And to answer those questions, I find I tend to gravitate towards male furs (though that could be partially due to the surplus of male population in this fandom), however I have found some older female friends in the past. These furs tend to be in their early 20s (which I realize is the most common age for furries), though l I’ve met a few who are older mostly online. When I do form a bond, I tend to see them as an older sibling sort of figure in simplest terms.
Hope that clears some stuff, if you have any other questions I’m ready to answer.
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Well, it could just be that you find older furries more interesting (or, at least, just as interesting) as those your age. Older people tend to have more experience, wider interests, more things to say about the world and life in general, and so your being fascinated in them probably is evidence that you have a bigger, more expansive menu of things about the world that you find compelling, too. So, I would say that your attraction for friendship with older people speaks well of who you are and that you have a wide range of things that you like to think about, talk about, and do. Good for you! Nothing wrong with that!
My name is Marco and I have been vocally active in the furry for 3 years. Ever since then, I have learned no so many good things, but have tried to stay strong. It's just that I feel like a lot of the groups I'm interested in really grind against my values as a normal person. For one, I am really into roleplaying and talking about silly cartoon stuff a lot, but I still cannot really find my footing in feeling like I belong. I just feel like all the searching has done has only increased my sin of assuming things about others, and I dunno if I'm necessarily right about being that way. I really just want people that aren't all in crazy about a specific fetish or are not too far gone in themselves. I'm sorry if I am a bit self-centered about this myself, I really just want help that isn't so neutral and just want people see myself as who I actually am.
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So, basically, you want the furry experience sans porn and sans people who are too far into themselves. Well, on the latter, that is more of a society issue than a furry one. In this world, you're going to have a rough time finding people who are not preoccupied with their own needs and concerns. That's just the nature of people. I can't really offer you a good solution there other than to pick your friends carefully. There ARE many good people out there, furries and mundanes alike, but you have to be patient in finding them. Don't lose heart just because you run into a lot of trolls, users, and haters along the way. Eventually, if you keep trying, you'll find good people.
As for staying away from fetish stuff, it depends on where you go. You can avoid FurAffinity, or just press the Safe For Work (SFW) link to clean up the site automatically. Stay away from Tumblr and e621.net. SoFurry.com is a pretty clean site. You might also, if you're a Christian, try Christian furry groups. Furry Amino (for your phone) also seems like a fairly safe place when it comes to art, although I have heard complaints about drama and such there. On Facebook, you can try joining Clean Furries (https://www.facebook.com/Clean-furries-162730203792649/).
In short, there really is no simple answer to your question. As with life, you have to sort the wheat from the chaff; you can't just buy a handy bag of wheat off the shelf, unfortunately. This takes time, patience, and understanding on your part. Keep putting yourself out there, keep reaching out. When you run into someone unpleasant, don't be afraid to just block them and avoid them. Then continue on in your quest.
Where can I find myself a mate that is a furry and is around my age? I broke up with my boyfriend months ago and I've been craving to have another mate ever since. I feel so alone at times without a mate. I can't stand it.
Codes the Fox (Illinois, age 16)
I just joined a furry online community and I don’t know where to start. I wonder if you have any tips on how to make friends. This website is all local furries in my state, and I have a few friends who don’t mind furries but I want to make friends who are in the fandom. Can you help?
Sahara Fox (age 15)
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Dear Codes and Sahara,
I grouped your two letters together as they are related, so I might as well answer you both with one reply.
There are two ways to meet furries your age: 1) in person, and 2) virtually. In person means getting together with people at furcons and furmeets, or, sometimes, on a one-on-one basis, but that last one is more typical after you’ve already met them at a social function. Now, Codes, you are in Illinois, which means you are not too far from the biggest con currently running in the United States: Midwest Furfest in Rosemont just outside of Chicago. You might also be interested in Indy Furcon in Indianapolis. Sahara, you didn’t tell me whereabouts you live, so you might check out FurryCons.com, which is a great way of finding conventions that are active near you.
If you are looking for something smaller than a convention, then we’re talking about furmeets. There are a couple ways to find meets. One is the website MeetUp.com. Go to the website, set up a free account, and search on subjects of interest. For example, you can type in “Illinois furries” and see what comes up. If you don’t find a group near you, you might make bold and start your own furgroup!
Also, at your age, when you are still in high school, you might even locate some furries at school. There used to be a great site called FurryMap that posted locations of furries all over the world, but, unfortunately, it recently ceased operation. You might also check out cosplay, sci-fi, anime, manga, animation, comic books, and fantasy groups as members of those groups sometimes are also furries.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Amino sites offer lots of furgroups to join and make friends on. Amino has several specific groups; for example, I am on the Bear Furries Amino group. Facebook also has a lot of specialized furry groups, such as furries who like gaming, Christian furries, furry bara groups, furries who are car or train enthusiasts, and so on.
Search social media but narrow your focus not just to furries but to furries who share some of your special interests. Then join discussion groups and chat up the members there. If you do that, you are bound to make some connections with people with whom you have things in common.
Once you have made contact with some people like yourself, the best way to make friends is to make sure it is a two-way street. Show an interest in their lives and don’t just make it about yourself.
If you are looking for more than just friends but mates, my advice is to always start with a good friend and, if the chemistry is right, that friend will become a wonderful mate. Don’t plunge into a relationship with sex and matehood expectations. That usually ends in disaster as one discovers that the person you had some great sex with turns out to be an unpleasant person as a companion. Friends first, then mate.
I have been in the fandom for almost a year now. The problem is, I have not made any friends.
I have an account on twitter where I post artwork that I make (that is my main interest in the fandom). People comment on my art, and I comment back. I also follow accounts that post artwork, commenting on their work. Sometimes they reply back. There are some people I am mutuals with, and we are both interested in each others art, commenting on each new piece that we make. That has been the extent of my interactions in the fandom.
Some things to know about me is that I am autistic. In real life I only have around 5 friends, a small group that I play DnD with. I don't know how exactly I managed to become friends with them, but I think it had to do with having common interests and being around each other a lot. I really like them, but none of them are furries, which is why I am looking for more friends.
So my question is, how do I make furry friends?
A Confused Bird (Colorado)
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You make furry friends the same way you make mundane friends. As with your DnD buddies, the best way to make friends is to share common interests. It is also easier to make friends if you do so in person. You can make friends online, but they tend not to be as deep a friendship as you can make when you know someone in person. My first suggestion, therefore, is to try and start meeting furries in Colorado. Fortunately for you, there is quite a vital furry community in your home state. The main organization is called, unsurprisingly, the Colorado Furries, which has about 2,000 members. They don't seem to have a website, but they do have a Meetup page that you can check out, as well as a Facebook page. Finally, of course, there is DenFur in August, which, if possible, I would recommend you attend. I have heard good things about it, and going to cons is a great way to make friends, provided you are not so shy that you can't introduce yourself to people.
Before you go out making furiends, you might need to brush up on your friend-making skills. First, define what a friend is for yourself. A friend is someone who treats you nicely and with respect, shares some common interests of yours, and, if you are having a tough time with something, is willing to be there for you, give you a hug, and listen. The other half of friendship is you should do the same for your friend. Next, and this might sound silly, write out a practice script of what you might say to someone you are meeting for the first time and practice in front of a mirror. Personally, I find a terrific way to break the ice at, say, a furcon or furmeet, is to give someone a compliment. For example, you might notice they are wearing some cool jewelry. Go up to them and tell them you think it looks terrific, then ask if they made it themselves or, if they bought it, where they got it. This can break the ice and lead to further dialog. Remember to take an interest in the other person and not just talk about yourself unless they ask you. Find out if you share some interests (e.g. you both like anime or Star Trek: Discovery) and talk about that.
So, in summary, to make new friends find people who share your interests (furries, natch), make contact with them in person if possible, show an interest in them and be kind to them.
I hope this helps!
Ever since starting college, I've been lucky enough to make some quality friends. The people I've met, including one furry who connected me to the local fur scene, really seem to be a good match for me. When we're together, the chemistry is good and I have a good rapport with them.
The problem lately is that the time for quality interpersonal interactions with my friends has been limited, and it's making me doubt some of my friendships. In community college, people are often on different schedules and have jobs. One key friend of mine is always super busy. He runs one of the school clubs (where we met), has two jobs, is a full time student, and is currently planning his wedding (he's 21). Because we're in the club together, and we have a weekly D&D game, we see each other a lot. But the quality of these interactions rarely goes deep enough as I really want because he doesn't really have time (or doesn't like me quite enough to make the time) to just hang out casually and have conversations. Our friendship feels stuck. And sometimes, if I catch him in the library or something, I'll approach him and he'll say, "Well, I have class soon so I can't stay." Recently, he said this when his class didn't start for 25 more minutes. It's just frustrating because I thought we had something good, but it's either not able to go anywhere or he doesn't like me as much as I thought. He's a very kind person, very supportive of me being gay and furry and all that. He'll even hug me too. But I fear that his tolerance has fooled me into thinking that we're closer than we really are.
I'm just wondering: how do I know when a friendship isn't worth pursuing anymore? It's difficult because I haven't had a friend like this in a long time, so I'd hate to let it die on the vine. But at this rate, I'm wondering if it's worth it.
Murray the Rat
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Based on what you have written here, your friend is sincerely, incredibly busy! I mean, my gosh, he has school, a job, runs a club, and is planning a wedding! If I were him, I wouldn't have time, either, and would be seriously stressed out. And it sounds like the time he does give you is as good as he can do at this time in his life.
I believe you are reading far too much into his reactions that he doesn't have time. (And 25 minutes is NOT a lot of time, as you seem to believe). Don't be offended, but in my opinion, you are being rather selfish expecting more from him just to focus on you and your need for a long chat.
Do not dismiss the friendship you have with him lightly. Just enjoy what time you have, such as playing D&D and participating in the club, and don't worry about it. Most friendships made at college dissipate, anyway, as people get jobs in different cities and lose touch. I don't have any friends from college today, and only one friend from my childhood keeps in touch. All my friends were made from my first real job and thereafter.
So, is it worth it, this friendship? Yes. Enjoy it for now. Don't "pursue" it like some forlorn lover (or are you smitten by him?), because, frankly, that can get creepy and stalky if you get too insistent. Be cool. Relax, and enjoy the present.
I aspire to become a furry YouTuber later on. I plan on being a well known contributor to the community, but I have a few setbacks: finding new friendships with people who actually desire to be there for me personally (instead of with those who only like me for my "fame"), while not falling into traps of bitter drama that the fandom sadly brews nowadays. How do I fully discern which members of the fandom really do mean me well? Thank you.
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Being a YouTuber and finding quality friends are two different things. Let's start with the former. Your goal is to become well known. That is the wrong goal. You should not do stuff because you want to be popular; you should do stuff because it is something you enjoy and you want to do some good in the world. If you do things just to get noticed, validated, and find fame, that is not an admirable goal.
It's ironic you want to be famous and then disdain people who want to be around you for the very thing you desire: fame. Anyway, you are putting the cart before the horse, assuming you will become famous and then have a bunch of groupies, whom you will then dismiss because they just want to be around you because you're a popufur.
My advice, Luzaster? Get your priorities straight. When you have solid goals based on solid values of being a good person, good friends will follow. If your goals are shallow, your friends will be, too.
I recently discovered that somebody who I follow on FA who I shall not name for their own sakes doesn’t have the best view of the LGBT.
Essentially, he posted a short journal expressing how fed up he was of how much the media hypes up Pride Month, which… fair enough; a month is perhaps a little long and it’s definitely become a lot more commercialised in recent years.
That said, in his journal he stated that he believed marriage should be between a man and a woman because marriage to him was about “producing babies” (which, btw, is a term a little too clinical and unloving for my taste). This is such a weak argument against same-sex marriage for a multitude of reasons, the most obvious ones of which I shall list below:
1. Not all opposite-sex couples have nor want to have children, so why do they get a pass whilst same-sex couples get criticised for it?
2. Being married to your own sex doesn’t render you incapable of having children, and artificial insemination isn’t the only way of going about it either.
3. Marriage is not a legal obligation to have children, and having children is not a legal obligation to marry.
Having not long come out as a gay man myself – started about 8 months ago but been doing it in baby-steps – part of me thinks I should just not follow in on FA anymore, but I’m not sure. Even though his reasonings against same-sex marriage make no sense, he’s not called people discriminatory names or called for Obergefell v. Hodges to be abolished etc. (at least, not from what I’ve seen). He seems to have adopted more of a “live and let live” attitude about this sort of thing.
One one paw, I think to myself that he’s merely expressing an opinion and not being “abusive” as such. But on the other, it’s one thing to have an adverse opinion about, say, whether being vegetarian is healthy or not, it’s another to have an opinion that denies someone their equality because of something against their control.
What do you think, Papabear? Is it fair to unfollow someone on social media for their unjust opinion, even though they’re not being abusive about it?
P.S. Congratulations on your own marriage to Michael, btw! :-)
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Whom you choose as a friend is totally up to you, and you should be friends with people around whom you are comfortable. Being gay myself, I'm not entirely objective here, but I agree with your arguments as to why it makes no sense to say that marriage is for the purpose of procreation. That would mean, using that argument, that he would be against a man and woman marrying if, for some reason, they could not have children. He is, in reality, just trying to come up with a justification for his prejudice, and that is a sign of a lack of empathy and of a big character flaw on his part. You say he is not "abusive" about his prejudice. Hmm, well, you don't have to physically abuse someone, or even be extremely verbally abusive, to be a homophobe, which he clearly is.
My guess is that, unless he changes his attitude, the two of you are eventually going to butt heads and the friendship will end. You can always, of course, try to shine a light on his thin argument and reveal it for what it is. There's a slim chance you might open his eyes. In my experience, that doesn't happen too often, but you can try.
So, is it "fair" to unfriend someone who has such opinions? Certainly. Personally, I am only friends with people I like and who I respect, and I can't respect someone who is not only prejudice but who is also stupid about it.
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.