My enemy heard that I am a furry and now he is going to tell my friends that I am a weirdo. My enemy hates and thinks furries are stupid because he says that they are sex addicts (but I know they're not). Please, can you help me out? I need it, please.
Kit the Wolf (age 12, U.K.)
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Okay, the issue here is gossip. Whether it is gossip about being a furry or anything else for that matter, you can deal with it in the same way. Usually. What is unique here is that this gossip—that you are a furry—is actually true. It's the details that are incorrect. Kind of like if people at the workplace outed you for being homosexual. Here are some things you can do....
I hope that helps. Good luck! Write again if you need more help.
First I want to say how much I have enjoyed reading through your past letters and responses. The advice you give helped me answer a lot of questions that were arising inside of me.
Well, recently I came to the conclusion that I wanted to be part of the furry community. I'd always had a touch of furry inside of me, knowing about the top webcomics like Kevin and Kell, Fur Will Fly, and The Class Menagerie. I've always loved anthros, coming more from the Disney and Sci-Fi school of thought like the OG generation, and my favorite novel series are Brian Jacques "Redwall" books, which were a huge influence on me wanting to be a writer.
I didn't keep up with pursuing the fandom in high school sadly. It wasn't the perceived social stigma, so much as I was not aware of anyone else I could talk with about the fandom and my interest laid dormant from graduation, through college, and through post collegiate life. I did encounter furs in college, but they were more ... exclusive, we will say ... about who they accepted and once again my interest retreated back inside.
Well, a couple months ago I befriended several people with ties to a different fandom who happen to be furries and I found myself remembering my old interest and fun at the anthro art and comics. I started diving a little deeper than I had since I was a kid, and learned about many top people in the community, and even for the first time discovering there is a literary side to it that is as healthy as the art. This intrigued me a lot...I've always fashioned myself as a writer, and even though I have a degree in photography too writing was my first love but it fell away, as no new ideas came to me and I fell into a creative funk that became mild depression. Couple that with anxiety disorder in a high-stress work place, the depressive nature of the news, and other factors in my personal life, and I consider my furry friends lifesavers for my sanity and creativity. I found that spark again to write and currently am having my first go at an anthro story. I have a novel outlined I'd like to attempt to but I'm digressing from the main point.
My question is that I'm ready to accept my furriness and embrace it, but will I be thought of as another "wannabe" trying to be something they're not? I'm still terrified after the snub I got in college that coming into the community after being an outsider for so long I'll be looked at as some sort of poseur (no fursona to speak of and not yet a member of any furry social media). The fandom is something I want to involve myself in and be part of the community and bring what talents I have to help keep it alive. The friends I do have have been accepting, which gives me hope that once I make myself known more, that those fears will fall away. But in the back of my mind, I still have those self-sabotaging doubts.
Thank you in advance for reading this and I hope I was not a rambling bore.
Best regards and best of health,
Rakkety Tam (age 29)
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Hi, Rakkety Tam (love that name—how’d you come up with it?),
I completely understand this letter in many ways. As a writer myself, for example, I get what you are going through in attempting your first novel. I also understand the fear of not being accepted by the furry community, especially as an older furry. The times I’ve been to the Prancing Skiltaire party, for example, I felt like the complete outsider because it was nothing but young people (well, couple of older ones, including the hosts, of course) and they already had their cliques and all that. I stopped going for that reason. It’s also why I started the Facebook Greymuzzle Group for furries 30 and older (contact us on your next birthday) so that older furries could chat with each other more comfortably.
That said, two things are true here (in my experience): as a whole, the fandom is accepting of pretty much anyone, regardless of age, sexual preference, nationality, race, religion, etc. etc. However, it is also true that local groups of furries form, and each group can have its own microculture. Sometimes that culture is open and accepting, sometimes it is elitist and cliquish. A lot of this depends on who becomes the “leader” of the group. Their character as people will generally define the nature of the group they run. I’ve had people write to me at this column singing the praises of their local furry groups, while others feel completely ostracized by theirs. That group you met in college was not one of the better ones, apparently.
Just because you had a bad experience there, though, doesn’t mean it’s like that everywhere in the fandom. Indeed, I would say the bad groups are in the minority. You yourself note that while that college furry group was not so inviting your other furry friends have been “life savers.” You just need to keep socializing with more furries and establishing your furiends network, which will evolve over time.
You’re not a “wannabe” at all, Rakkety. Indeed, in my experience it is more common to see younger furs who are poseurs and who later drop out of the fandom because they just did it to try something different. It’s the same reason many young people do things like coloring their hair purple or getting a nose piercing. They are trying to find themselves and their creativity, but this period ends for many people who become “adults” and drop their furry pursuits because they are “childish.” Probably way over half of the under-20 furries you see now will not be involved in the fandom after they get regular jobs and start raising families and paying taxes and worrying about their mortgages or rent.
If you are still a furry in your late 20s, 30s, 40s and onward, you are hardcore in my book. You are furry for life, not just because it’s cool or outrageous, but because you have a furry soul. Papabear considers you a furry in my book. And, even if I didn’t, who cares? You aren’t a furry to please other people but to please yourself. So, enjoy the art, the comics, the books, and good luck with your writing! (I’d love to see it!)
You’ll make friends, don’t worry.
How do I become a furry? And where can I go?
Anonymous (Cape Town, SA)
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How do you "become a furry"? Well, it is a very long and arduous process. You have to find someone who belongs to our secret furry organization to sponsor you. Once you've paid the $100 to join, you must go through a grueling period of training on how to be a "true furry." This is followed by an initiation that can be quite physical and painful (I cannot divulge the details lest I be punished). When you have been trained, you go into your apprenticeship during which you must find 20 furries to be your benefactors/owners. You will be their servant for the next year and you will have to do all they ask. Next, you are in your journeyman period for another year. This is when you must learn to make your own fursuit and you must wear it all the times, day and night. When that is completed, you are taken to the Super-Secret Furry Den, where you will be given a special ring you must always wear and swear your oath of fealty. If you ever break it or try to leave the fandom, you will be hunted down and eaten.
I'm kidding, of course. Please forgive a silly ol' bear. We all tend to make things much more complicated than they need to be.
Want to be a furry? Then be a furry. If you like furries, you're a furry. Ain't hard, hon.
As for "Where can I go?" That's all up to you. Easiest thing to do is simply search online for furry groups in social networks etc. and start chatting with furries. These days, you can't shake a proverbial stick online without hitting a furry.
Since you kindly provided your location, however, I can point you to a couple places in your area.
Good luck! Have fun!
I'm a 14-year-old boy that is a major furry. I love the whole fandom. I was worried to tell my friends; when I told them they were okay with it, but they didn't get it. When I was riding with one of my friends in her car, I told her about being a furry. This was the first thing she asked me: "Are u gonna yiff when you get older?" I told her no.
When I told my mom, she knew the bad stuff about the fandom. My dad didn't know what furries are, and he is gonna research it. My question is, "What should I do to help them get the furry community?"
With Many Love,
Just turned 14
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I've explained furries many times on my website, of course. Sometimes, though, pictures work better than words. Here are some furry videos that really show the heart of furry. Feel free to share; perhaps they will help:
The above emphasize fursuiting too much, of course. There is a LOT more about furries than that, including art, writing, and music:
The problem with mundanes is that they only have one view of the fandom. Try and give them a more well-rounded perspective of what we are about and feel free to share these links and others with them.
Dear Papa Bear,
Hello! I’ll get right to the point, I have very recently discovered the furry fandom and it seems like something I would like to get into, but not a super hard core furry. I wouldn’t want an account on any furry related websites, and I’d probably post any furry art I make on my deviant art account (I’d continue to post non-furry art as well). I would design my fursona and draw her a lot but probably not make a full fursuit.
So all this considered, would I still be considered a furry or would I just be someone who likes anthropomorphic art? Also, would I still be considered a furry if I continued posting non-furry art?
Thanks for taking the time to read!
Lot’s of love
P.S Sorry if this is a weird question, I couldn't find what I was looking for anywhere else.
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No worries. Papabear enjoys “weird questions.” This isn’t weird, though, believe me; not by a long shot.
The fundamental question you are addressing here is “What exactly makes a furry a furry?” The problem arises out of a fundamental human need to categorize, label, and file everything in specific, neat little categories. We do this because we have a desperate desire to understand our world and it makes it easier to do so when we can say “This is This and That is That.”
Real life is much more complicated than that, and that includes furry life! Most of the “definitions” you hear about who is a “real furry” and who is not are utter and complete baloney. “All furries wear fursuits” (only about 20% do); “All furries have to have a fursona” (nope, many do not); “All furries are obsessed with sex” (most definitely not); “Furries are all gay boys” (statistics prove otherwise); “Bronies are not furries” (who made you God of furries to tell someone he or she isn’t one?); “Furries all think they have an animal spirit inside them” (again, no, not at all; some do, some don’t).
The only thing that ties us together is our love of anthropomorphic animal characters. There is no club to join, no secret handshake, no clandestine meetings where we all don ears and tails and chant while dancing around an effigy of Nick Fox.
As to your specific question regarding whether you’re a furry if you also draw human characters. Sure, you can be a furry if you draw non-furry characters. If you want to be considered a furry, then you are a furry. If it will help, Papabear will get out his magic wand, wave it over your head, and announce “I dub thee furry!”
Don’t be silly, sweetie. Be furry if you like. Don’t be furry if you don’t like. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, be and do what you want to be and do.
So here is my question
I have been in the fandom for 5 yrs now and I am currently with a relationship who doesn't understand my fascination with it and I did explain it to him (he was very understanding) however when we got to the NSFW side. He kinda hit me with a block in the road and here it is.
Does being aroused by the anthropomorphic characters in erotic situation count as Zoophilia?. As I am and he is in no way attracted to animals in any way or connection but this had stumbled me as although they are in humanoid bodies and 99% percent of the time with human "junk" as well as sentient and is supposed to be considered humanoid in setting, they also have animalistic facial and physical characteristic so it left me wondering does it or does it not count as such since I have had other thoughts about it with similar beings like Minotaurs or Argonians. So in a nutshell , Is being aroused to erotic anthropomorphic/furry pictures considered a sign of/or Zoophilia?
It would be most helpful to pls lend us your expertise to help settle a question and help bring a couple closer together. Thank you in advance
(Here is an example of what I am talking about: Note it is the Man like and a print from Blacksad to help yuo understand my question:
link 1 http://s.hswstatic.com/gif/werewolf-comparison.jpg
link2http://www.granitassocies.com/images/photos/jazz-n-fun-s-club-est-une-affiche-de-la-serie-blacksad-realisee-par-juanjo-guarnido-et-diaz-canales_6686.jpg http://bd-erotique.askell.com/Guarnido/05.jpg- this one is a little tasteful but is not meant to be NSFW)
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No, being a furry and being sexually aroused, even a little, by anthro characters is not the same as being a zoophile. Zoophilia is sexual attraction to actual animals, especially in the sense of actually have sex with them. Only a tiny percentage or fraction of a percent of furries would describe themselves as being into zoophilia.
There are many reasons for the attraction to anthros, which I will be discussing in detail in my upcoming book. It’s important to note that the sexuality of such pictures as you shared has to do with a significant amount of human characteristics. Furries are, basically, humans with animal features, and that’s not the same as animals by any stretch of the mind.
Hope that makes you feel better.
First, let me say how sorry I am for your loss. It hurts a lot to lose someone you love (trust me, I know). Please accept my deepest condolences.
So here it goes…..
I have recently discovered the fandom, and it looks awesome! I see a lot of things that I would like to become involved with (fursuiting, volunteering, making new friends, etc.), within the fandom. However, I am a little unsure if I would fit in with all of it though, due to my age (I’m 36). Is there in age limit on this? What is the furry view of age within the fandom? Would I be the oldest guy at Anthrocon?!?! Any advice you give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Dear Spirit Bear,
Thank you for your well wishes. As to your question, no, there is no limit on age. While it’s true that the majority of furries are in their teens and twenties, there are quite a few of us (including yours truly who is 50) who are older.
At 36, you’re what is known as a “greymuzzle,” or, as some of the overly sensitive types prefer, “elder fur.” Because the fandom tends to be so chronologically challenged, anyone 30 and over is considered “mature” by furry standards. I like greymuzzle because I have grey on my muzzle and because I believe it makes me look distinguished and shows that I’ve been around the block a few times.
Anyway, I founded a group on Facebook for greymuzzles that you are most welcome to join. I believe that people who are greymuzzles are hardcore furries. Many young furries are joiners and posers. They join the fandom because they think it’s outrageous and cool (which it is), but then when they get into the “real world,” finish school, get a job, etc., they consider furries childish and drop out of doing furry stuff. These are the “furry lights.” They don’t have true furry hearts. If you are a real furry, you are ALWAYS a furry until the day you die, is what this bear says!
So, welcome welcome, Spirit Bear! Love having another bear in the fandom! And your name says to me you see furry as something deeper than the fur. Good for you!
My advice: have fun with it. Avoid drama, whenever possible. Also, if you are financially secure, watch out for moochers and users (there are some of these around, sad to say). Attend furmeets and furcons (you will NOT be the oldest fur at Anthrocon, believe me), get involved with any special interest groups within the fandom (e.g., I also have a FB group just for bears), And just enjoy it as much as possible.
Life is waaaaay too short not to be enjoyed. Remember, the only real time you have is right now, so make the most of it.
So I have been a furry for a while but I haven't told my parents! The reason is because when I was first learning about the furry community I clicked on a website without knowing what it was and it was a 18+ website with all kinds of unholy horrors. And unluckily for me my mom was standing right behind me! Now because of my mistake that's what they think of the furry community! So how do I tell them that I'm into furry stuff but I'm not into all of that adult stuff?
Anonymous (age 15)
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Dear Young Furiend,
Papabear realizes there are many furries like you who are under 18 and wish to do fun furry stuff without the X-rated and other adult things in the fandom. I would like to say that the furry fandom is a sweet, childlike, and innocent hobby for the entire family.
The truth is, it isn’t.
You see, young one, the furry fandom began when some artists and writers (back around 1980 or so), who enjoyed the cartoons and comics made for children, decided that they wanted to create some art and stories with animal-like characters but that these would have more adult themes (Omaha the Cat Dancer is the best early example of this). Some themes dealt with violence, some with sex and sexuality, and they often had very adult language, gay themes, and drug references and criminal behavior. The best stories have also dealt with serious themes, including war, racism, slavery, and more.
Over time, this idea grew and grew and became more and more diverse. Some very good writing that is nonsexual has come out of it (check out the story collection Furry! edited by Fred Patten, for example); some graphic tales that have violence and adult themes, but don’t emphasize sex, have also come out that are great (I was introduced recently to the Blacksad tales by Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido about a detective in a furry world that has a lot of violence, but the stories are very well written and illustrated), and even some first attempts at movies (Bitter Lake in 2013) have been made. But, really, much of the stuff in the furry world is for adults and there is a lot of graphically sexual material. You simply can’t avoid it. Even people who are not interested in it, like you, will still stumble upon it (you can hit the SFW button on FurAffinity, but not all sites have this feature).
On the other side, there are Christian furs and cartoony furs and fursuiters who do charity work and raise money for animals and all kinds of nice things. Going to furcons can be a blast! But, again, it’s all about the company you keep.
A couple things you can do, hon.
For one thing, you can still enjoy a lot of the movies and cartoons that furries enjoy featuring talking animals and produced by such companies as Disney and Pixar etc. I’m sure your parents won’t object to G-rated cartoons made for the general public.
As for the other, you can tell your parents you like some of the creative furry things that some people are doing out there, but you realize that there is adult stuff to avoid and you understand they don’t want you to look at it and neither do you! Therefore, encourage them to monitor your Internet use. Welcome them to check out furry communities that are safe and to help you to avoid those that are not.
Here are a couple sites Papabear can recommend:
That’s enough to get you started. You can also subscribe to clean furry art pages on Tumblr and join discussion groups on Facebook or other social sites.
The key is to allow—even encourage—your parents to be involved so they don’t think you’re doing anything they would not approve of. The modern furry fandom really is for adults, and you should therefore tread lightly, but it can be made fun for young furs if you surf carefully.
Good luck and hope you have fun!
I must be honest I only found out about you today, but seeing some of the things fellow furries have asked you and seeing your responses, I immediately have huge respect for you and I'd like to say that I appreciate what you are doing. (especially to the recent suicide note, I am extremely sorry for the experience you had to go through Jean, I am here for you if you need any help because I'm also from South Africa :3)
In South Africa, the furry population isn't the largest so I personally have only chatted to furries over the internet and not in person.. Anyways I was wondering a couple of things about the furry fandom you can clear up for me.
1. I know usually the adult or "yiff" part of the furry fandom is frowned upon, but is it "wrong" to enjoy those kind of things within moderation of course?
2. I know that most furries are simply into artwork, but being a furry can entail (excuse the pun_ many different things depending on the person. I believe that my fursona is something which I want to be in real life if possible, and that I kinda am a furry "trapped" inside a human body if that makes sense. I'm wondering if that is common in the fandom or is it "strange". What does being a furry mean to you?
I am still relatively new to the fandom and I am still discovering myself in life, and well.. I'd like to know some more information if possible. Again thanks so much for all of the time, effort and work you have put into helping furries like myself, I appreciate you so much
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I’ve been getting more and more letters like yours asking about the nature of furry, what it entails, and on and on. It makes me realize more how I have to get my tail moving on the book I am writing about the fandom (it’s coming!)
I could go on and on about how the fandom got where it is today and what it means to be furry these days, but that’s what the book’s about! It’s also a guide to the fandom (everything from how to run a furry business to how to perform in a fursuit and more). For now, let’s just focus on your two questions.
1. Whether or not “yiff” is frowned upon depends entirely on whom you ask. Some furries have no problem with it, and others feel offended by it. The fact is that it is part of the fandom and not going anywhere. The whole idea of anthros and furries evolved in the 1980s when certain artists and writers decided that what was then “funny animals” cartoons should have a more adult spin. This gave us everything from “Omaha the Cat Dancer” to “Associated Student Bodies” to the more in-your-face furporn you often see online. The difference between something like Omaha and the gratuitous sex in, say, an issue of Genus, is that the former include sex as part of the story while the latter is basically just a bunch of sexy images to get someone aroused. Is it “wrong” to be aroused by such things. Of course not. Sexuality is a part of human nature. Everyone has sexual fantasies of one sort or another, and if you get excited by an anthro character in the buff, that’s fine. As you say, if it’s in moderation, it’s okay. You only get into problems when sex becomes an addiction that interferes with the rest of your life, a topic I’ve written about before in this column.
2. Quite a few furries, including yours truly, feel like we don’t really belong in human bodies. At one end of this spectrum are therians (people who transform physically or spiritually into other animals—e.g. werewolves) and otherkin (people who feel they are elves, dragons, and other creatures considered by most humans as mythological or simply not human) to the other end of the spectrum where people just long to be other animals but know they (currently) are human. I’m more on the spiritual side of this in that I feel that the grizzly bear is the most prominent of my spiritual guides on my Medicine Wheel.
Furries are a diverse group. Some are artists, some are gamers, some are fursuiters, some are writers, some are more into the spiritual side of it. It has become a very complex group of people. The neat thing is that you can make of furry what you want. Remember: do not let anyone try to tell you “a furry is this and a furry is not that.” Don’t worry about defining it. Just be it.
I stumbled on this website while searching for clarity. I have a 14 year old son who I discovered identifies himself as a Furry. I am not going to lie—it worries me. And I am big enough to admit it is because I can't wrap my head around it.
His father and I are divorced, it has been rough on the kid. So I get the fantasy, the escapism, the role playing side of this. I can understand that. I have found anime furry porn, so it is the possible sexual side that is concerning for me. He isn't a very confident kid, he struggles to fit in, always has. He does have friends and a social life—but what scares the hell out of me is his lack of confidence leading to him being taken advantage of—I am not trying to be disrespectful, I am trying to understand so I can support and protect my kid. I honestly don't care about sexual orientation, I just want to understand this so I don't freak out on him or shame him in any way. I love him dearly and want to be able to parent him without ignorance or being judgmental—I lack the knowledge.
Anonymous (Roanoke VA)
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Thank you so much for your letter! I wish more parents were like you and, instead of blindly telling their children they cannot be furries, carefully investigated the issue as you are doing. You are clearly, also, a kind and loving parent. Bless you for that.
I’m currently working on a book all about the fandom, but it won’t be out until December at the earliest, so let’s try to address this as best as possible right here.
Just very quickly, the furry fandom began in the early 1980s when a bunch of science fiction and fantasy fans started meeting at sci-fi conventions to share their mutual interest in books and movies that featured anthropomorphic animal characters (in other words, a subgenre of science fiction). But the story is even older than that. There is a long history of fiction and fables featuring characters who are a mix of animal and human going back to Greek and Roman mythology. Such stories started because of human beings’ desire to connect to the natural world. In many mythologies there was a time when human beings could communicate with animals and were friends with them (the story of Adam in the Garden of Eden would be the Christian example), but we—largely through our own fault—lost that connection. Today, that feeling of loss and disconnectedness in our civilized world where most kids only see wild beasts in a zoo is very tangible. So, I believe that one reason there are furries is because we want to regain that connection.
Another reason is fantasy, of course. A lot of people admire the qualities of animals and wish they had them. For example, having the strength of a lion or to be able to fly like an eagle. Have you ever read the story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber? (They turned it into a horrible Ben Stiller film). It’s wish fulfillment. Some wish fulfillment can be purely escapist, but often it is an exercise of the imagination, and imagination is actually a good thing to encourage.
The other thing about the furry fandom is that it is a community. Indeed, that is probably the most important aspect of it. I am attaching, FYI, a scholarly paper discussing the importance of community and how the furry fandom provides that for many young (and old) people [Papa note: unfortunately, can't attach the paper here on this site]. Also, here is a link to a (long) video these authors presented at a convention that you can watch online https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6zYWmvHnZQ.
Now, when it comes to pornography. I am sure you understand the hazards of the Internet and that furry pornography (furporn) is just one of many types of porn (regular human porn far outweighs the amount of furporn). Sadly, to view this material online, you don’t need to prove your age. My first suggestion to you, therefore, is that you install parental controls onto your child’s computer. At age 14 he should not be viewing such material, I know you’ll agree. Indeed, this isn’t just about porn; there are many other dangers out there on the Internet, ranging from stalkers to gambling sites to sites that will install malware and destroy your computer and more. Really, a parent needs to supervise what a minor is accessing (and you can explain this to him as being about safety in general). Another thing you can do is put his computer in the living room or kitchen and not allow him to have his computer in his bedroom. You have a right as a parent—indeed, an obligation—to know what he is doing online.
The best way to avoid resentment on his part regarding the computer is to take an active interest in his furriness, and be supportive. Go to a furmeet with him, or a furry convention. He will probably adore you if you take him to a furcon. There, you will witness firsthand that furries are very benign and accepting and loving people. They will LOVE it when they find out you are a parent taking your 14-year-old to the convention (and don’t be surprised if you get hugs from people you never met! We’re very huggy).
I am emphasizing here, perhaps a bit ironically given the subject, that the REAL world is very different from the online world. This is true, whether you are a furry or, as we call you, a mundane. You realize the distinction between what is online and what is in the real world, I should hope, so please do not judge furries solely by what you see online. Meet them in person.
You’re in Virginia, so you could attend Fur the 'More, which is in Tysons Corner, VA, near Washington, D.C., and I just found out there is a new furry convention at Virginia Beach, starting next year, called Fursonacon (http://www.fursonacon.com/) that you should check out. For a more extensive list of furry conventions, go here https://en.wikifur.com/wiki/List_of_conventions_by_attendance. That link comes from a website called Wikifur, which I recommend to you as a legitimate source of furry information without all the hype you’ll get from nonfurry websites.
As you become more and more familiar with furries, you will see that a definition of furriness is no simple thing. We are a very diverse group, and this diverse group is very accepting of other people from all walks of life: different races, ages, religions, political beliefs, and so on. The mistake most people make is trying to categorize us, label us neatly, put us in a little box. It can’t be done. Your son can be anything he wants to be in the furry community, and, I believe, a very important symbol of that diversity is how furries adopt different animal species (or even mix of species) as their fursonas (furry personas or alter egos) and you are accepted, whether you are a wolf, a tiger, a bear, a hawk, or even a dragon!
I hope this has helped with an introduction to the fandom. Please check out the links I gave you and continue to educate yourself about your son’s interest. The best parent is the parent who loves a child unconditionally, sharing in his or her life. Be involved, not controlling; there is a huge difference. I sympathize with you that it is a very tough job raising a person (remember, you are not raising a child, you are raising a human being) when you have been divorced, and I applaud you for your efforts!
Your son is very lucky to have you in his life. Please write again if you have any other questions.
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.