I work on creative games and mods to bring joy to others. My adapted symbol is the spotted hyena, which I chose for its misunderstood perception, dangerous nature, and intelligence.
I've known about your website for a long time and I know you to be experienced in life. Do you have experience in dealing with narcissists online?
I used to not be aware of their existence until recently and this experience involved three at once. I created a mod for a video game and entered its community. It turned out I had walked into a war of sexual assailants. They deserve to not be named - that would only validate them. Therefore, I will call them N1-3. All three are known in a different related community. N1 was expanding into the community I entered. He used me as a stepping stone. He exploited that I had been betrayed by friends to paint himself to be in similar shoes and filled that void in my life for 2 years. Through his manipulation and the manipulative actions of his former right-hand man, N3 - who had forsaken him and was dragging this new community into the conflict - I believed N1 to be a victim and involuntarily became his defender. N1 slipped up, allowing me to recognize what he is and I broke free. He was not the only one to slip up. N3 personally involved me and my project in a public call out of N1 despite my wishes. When confronted, he tried hard to justify it (mainly to himself) and distracted from the issue by attacking my character. Such an action lead me to gravitate more toward N1. It also had me feel like I was walking on eggshells. As a result, I uncovered the full story. One constant question I had was how did these people become friends in the first place? I found the answer: They're all narcissist manipulators.
Here's what they did:
N1 built a harem of ride-or-die fans. He abused many women online (and some offline) and painted himself as the victim or downplayed his actions. I'll list the main incidents. He coerced a woman younger than him (W1) with future faking and special rewards into sending sexual cosplay photos then blackmailed her with the possibility of reposting them. N1 rewrote history that it was W1 who initiated. He also made her feel she was in a competition with another woman (W2). He underpaid a co-worker (W3) and visited her to have sex with her despite her clearly saying no beforehand. (W3 was in a relationship too.) He confessed to W3 about getting W4 drunk to sleep with him and cry to her boyfriend afterward. W3 was able to resist him. After the unsuccessful endeavor, he would berate W3 until she stopped working for him. He was ultimately exposed by another co-worker - let's call her Ocarina - when she accused him of sexual assault at a con. N1's key lie is that Ocarina wanted to share a bed with him - the resulting argument being they were both in the wrong (did I mention Ocarina was in a relationship with another person too?), but in reality, she only wanted to share costs on the room and expressed she was very uncomfortable about sharing a bed when it turned out the room didn't have separate beds. They both got drunk and N1 took Ocarina back to their room despite her friends' protests. They both stated that bodily contact happened. Their stories differ on the details, intentions, and states of consciousness.
N2 guilt-tripped a fan into a date - let's call her C. The date took place near her city but far enough for her to feel isolated from her family. C expressed discomfort multiple times, but was successfully coerced into spending the night at N2's hotel room. N2 pressed for sex and a condom broke. Their stories differ on what happened afterward. N2 tried to rewrite history that C never clearly communicated what she wanted.
N3 was N1's righthand man. He defended N1 until Ocarina then switched to defending N2. He makes everything about himself and used the stories of N1's victims to prove to himself that he did nothing wrong. He made a video targeting newcomers. He didn't show anything of the victims' stories that did not pertain to himself, thereby leaving doubt about the validity of the accusations against N1. N3 is also ignorant of N2's actions and paints him in a positive light with lies by omission.
The complication here is that all of these were friends. N2 championed for Ocarina, leading the call out of N1. C reappeared at that time to accuse N2 of rape for the second time. N2 remained silent and let Ocarina and her friends who attended the con to defend him from C. They involuntarily became N2's apologists. One of the friends made an anonymous account to help expose N1 and this account was used to defend N2 as well. Ocarina got hacked and the burner account got exposed. All this allowed N1 to return, arguing that these are hypocrites who tried to cancel him.
As you can see, this is a complicated story. Untangling it with no prior knowledge of narcissist manipulation tactics was an ordeal, but I believe everything in life happens for a reason. I got through it and emerged stronger.
The problem is that these two communities are filled with teens and young adults who are not mature enough to understand the weight of the situation. They interpreted it as drama and picked their favorite creator to defend.
I will continue to be involved with one of the communities through my hobby (for at least a little while), which is already poisoned with a lot of in-fighting due to N1's shift into this community. I am bound to get asked for input about N1 since some of my popularity is due to him. Do you have any advice on how to handle it? I know talking about N1 either positively or negatively validates him, but I do not want these young adults to be left in the dark and falling prey to manipulation from either side. I got rid of my YouTube account kickstarted by N1. I plan to just not talk about him anymore. However, I have already drawn the rage of N1's most religious followers by disassociating. These followers can potentially get other people entangled in such manipulation. I don't know how to handle it. Do you happen to have any advice?
Thank you in advance and stay safe, Papabear.
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You're right, this is complicated. First, let's clear something up: These people are not "narcissists." The appropriate term for all of them is "immature assholes," who are also apparently guilty of sexual assault. In short, these are very bad people, and if you are wise you will disassociate yourself from all of them. I would also argue that saying they are (or were) "friends" is highly inaccurate because friends do not treat each other in this manner.
Secondly, while it is noble of you to think of the young people in these groups who might get sucked into the N1-3 drama, it is really not your job to patrol the groups and act like a police officer. If you try, I guarantee that you will not be successful and will only be dragged farther and farther, deeper and deeper into a pool of disgusting drama.
Kartal, you are not responsible for the way people behave and you will find that trying to change people who are bad actors is a fruitless endeavor best left to professionals in the mental health industry.
One of the greatest skills to acquire in life is how to be a good judge of people. Once you do this, you will live a happier life by surrounding yourself with good, true friends and family and stepping away from the immature, the manipulators, the selfish, the gaslighters, and the cruel. True friends are kind, loving, and supportive. Anything less makes them not friend material.
So, step away from these communities like you were backing away from a minefield.
Does this make sense?
I am a bit new to the fandom (I joined the fandom two years ago but not until recently have I gotten into the community) and I was wondering how I can make a positive impact within the furry community. The fandom is often looked down upon and I want to do something to showcase the friendliness and helpful side that brought me into it. Your articles remind me of this and shed a good light on the community, so do you have any advice on how to highlight the fandom on a community level?
Sol the Naga (age 18, Texas)
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Dear Sol the Naga,
Welcome to the fandom :3 It's nice to see a young furry with a good, positive attitude, and thank you for your question!
The ABSOLUTE NUMBER ONE THING YOU CAN DO to shed a positive light on the fandom is to be a good example to other furries. Don't be a troll. Don't be a drama queen. Definitely do not join the Furry Raiders LOL. Just be a good furry. A great way to do this is to volunteer at furcons. You're in Texas, so perhaps you could attend Texas Furry Fiesta in Dallas next March or Furry Siesta in August and help out. Or, in Houston, there's StratosFur, and in San Antonio, there is the Alamo City Furry Invasion. The people who run cons are just amazing givers of their time and hard work and they are always in need of more paws behind the scenes.
You can also volunteer at charities. Many furries support wildlife and pet charities, for example, as well as other worthy causes such as raising money for ALS research through the Walk to Defeat ALS that many furries have participated in after the death of Tony "Dogbomb" Barrett from this tragic disease. The local chapter for you can be found here (https://alstexas.org/walk-to-defeat-als/). I can ask my friend Joe Bear if there is a furry contact in Texas.
If you haven't already done so, see if you can get involved in your local furry community. There are groups on social media you can join, such as https://discord.me/txfurs on Discord. Start a chat there and find out what Texas furs are up to and raise your paw to help out.
The more you get involved in your local community of furs doing positive things for people--furry or not--the more light you will shed onto the fandom. Be a good furry, think globally, and act locally, and you will be accomplishing a lot toward your praiseworthy goal.
I've been in the fandom for a long time privately but only active in the last 2 years when my kid showed interest. We have never been to a furcon, just anime and popcons close by. My question is about furmeets. I would like to host one and having never been to one wouldn't know where to start. What advice do you have on a successful furmeet that would be inclusive to young furs and grey furs ?
Thank you for your consideration,
Dartumus (43, West Virginia)
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What a lovely question, thanks for asking. I always love to hear about furry parents and their furry children having fun in the fandom together.
There are two types of furmeets: the ones you have at your own home and the ones that are set up at other venues.
The easiest thing to do is to invite a bunch of friends you already know who are furries and just have a party at your house. This way, you aren't dealing with any unknown factors such as a stranger coming to your house who might not be entirely trustworthy. Furry home activities can include playing board and video games and watching furry movies and, of course, lots of noms and fursuiting. Tip: if you DO have a home meet with strangers attending, make sure your valuables and prescription drugs (if any) are stowed away safely. Also, have a room where people can change into their fursuits and keep all their furry stuff and keep an eye on that room. Usually, everyone is cool, but there have been times when I have heard of people stealing stuff from furmeet houses. Finally, keep the party booze- and drug-free.
If you wish to broaden the attendance some to include allowing furries you don't personally know to attend, then I suggest organizing something away from the house. There are all kinds of options for this. You can organize a trip to the theater to see a new movie, you can go to a park and have a picnic, go bowling, or go to a state fair or other event (the best types of these events include Halloween parties and Renaissance Faires--there's a Ren Faire every June in Lewisburg, WV, if that is close to you). All of these activities are appropriate for younger and older furries alike.
If you wish to set up a regular furmeet, I suggest you create a Meetup.com account, then announce it on various social media websites that your local furries would use..
I have been following the fandom since my early teens. I WANT so badly to belong, but the few times I've reached out to locals or joined any group, I've found it to be a nightmare. The people I meet are either not great people, or I just don't fit in. The one con I went to was a terribly lonely experience.
I regretfully say that the fandom has left a bitter taste in mouth. I however, also find it hard to just "walk away." I am now a sad, lonely, semi-furry. My mental illness also makes it hard to fit in as few seem to understand. I am wondering what your advice is for fitting into the fandom or going it alone.
Anonymous (age 33, Texas)
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Yours is not an uncommon problem. The difficulty with joining local meetup groups is often that they are already an established group of friends with a hierarchy, etc., embedded into their system. The best way to enter such a group is if you are already friends with one of the members and they invite you to join. If you don't know anyfur in the group, then yes, it is hard to introduce yourself and gain acceptance. Imagine if there were a house party somewhere and you lived in the neighborhood but didn't know anyone at the party, but you decided to invite yourself in and go anyway. As you likely know, this is called being a "party crasher" or "gate crasher," so it's kind of the same thing. Of course, with a furry meetup, you need to tell the host you're coming, so it's not exactly the same as crashing the party, but I think you know what I mean. Still, people seem to think that just because we are all furries that it is okay to just show up at a meet and everyone will welcome you as a friend. Nope. The same dynamics are in play at a furmeet as they are in a normie party. This problem is compounded by the fact that many furries are quite shy, so it can be tough to break the ice.
Similarly, if you show up at a furcon all by yourself, not knowing anyone, you're going to have a lonely time. Many furries will already be grouped with friends there, and they also converge into cliques, such as gamers and fursuiters. The best con experiences I have had is when I go with (or meet up with) friends who are also attending. Have you seen the movie Coco? In it, the boy Miguel thinks his grandfather is the famous Ernesto de la Cruz, and he goes to meet him in the afterlife. Ernesto throws huuuuuge parties, and when Miguel manages to enter the giant villa party, no one pays him any attention, even though everyone there shares a love of music (just like furries share a love of anthros). But then, Ernesto introduces Miguel as his grandson; suddenly, everyone is welcoming (also, there is the fact he is a skilled guitarist LOL). In comparison, one might say that if you are friends with a popufur, you're going to get some attention pretty quickly. Same holds true, though, if you are connected with a respectable furry who might not necessarily be furry famous, or with a furry who is in an established subgroup.
Now, once you have a few friends already with you, it can be a bit easier to make new friends by just participating in various activities and sharing some experiences. For example, I met a couple of furries while going to an escape room at IndyCon. This is a particularly good activity as you have to work together to find the puzzle solutions. Another good way can be if you like gaming and can perhaps find a group that needs an extra player. Some cons also have a video game room set up, and you might be able to find someone who wants an opponent to play with.
(Side note: my furiend Michael Crisci [Dineegla Moose] is trying to organize a kind of "Welcome Wagon" at the next Midwest FurFest. The idea is to have a kind of welcoming committee at the con to provide those who are new to the experience or who are having trouble connecting with information and friendship to make their con experience more enjoyable. I think it's a great idea, and I hope the MFF organizers allow him to do it, and then maybe other cons will follow suit.)
Anyway, the best way is to meet someone beforehand and then go to the meet or con with them. You can find friends or acquaintances in a lot of social media groups ranging from Facebook to Discord. I see you are 33, for example, and could join the Greymuzzle group I run on Facebook. It's easy to meet people there and then try to see who might be going to a con you attend and see if you can meet them there.
An alternative to joining an established meetup is to create one for yourself and invite people you have met online locally. Since you are running the meetup, you can have it focus on things that interest you--whether that is board or video games or going to a movie or bowling outing or whatever.
As for your "mental illness" (autism spectrum disorder, perhaps?), many furries have such issues, so that shouldn't stop you from furry activities. Most furries I know are sympathetic or may have the same issues you do.
Finally, an excellent way to overcome feeling alone is to go to meets or cons as your fursona. One of the cool things about the fandom is that we can fantasize we are someone else, and these fursonas, you will find, can provide a way to gain entrance into the social world of furry, whether that is online or in real life (online RPGs are an excellent way to meet furries). So, when you go to a meet, try going as your fursona. I find that this really loosens me up, and I bet it will for you, too.
Hope this helps!
I've been seeing a lot of furry hate recently on the internet, and to be honest, I am tired of people hating on us, thinking that we are all zoophiles or thermals [I think he means therians, or maybe ferals], and to see that even though we hate them (zoophiles/therians) as well, people still don't see that! I feel like the fandom is dying, and you know what? We should destroy the furry community to make a new community like it, except with thermals or zoophiles, and to not have inappropriate things like murrsuits. It should be child friendly!
Do you think we should recreate the furry fandom and have a set of rules with it? To keep everyone more safe and to stop furry hate all together?
Anonymous (age 15)
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Wow, there's a lot of stuff in this letter to address. Let me see if I can do so in an organized and logical fashion.
If you're looking for a subculture or fandom with rules and structure in it, the furry fandom is not where you want to be (try a Star Trek convention, maybe). It's chaotic, creative, explosive, turbulent, wild, manic, and totally counterculture. That's what makes it fun, frustrating, and amazing.
The people who hate furries hate us because we don't go by their rules. I love it. Don't let it bother you, because they only hate us because they can't control us. Kind of like Darth Vader hating the Old Republic because it didn't conform to his ideas of control.
There is a lot of pressure and hate against people who are trying to be free. Yes, it can be hard, and I understand you're upset about it, but that's a part of what being a furry is.
I wanna ask how to deal with gatekeeping within the fandom and how to improve despite their differences?
For context, I have a friend who's in college and we started to chat and sharing everything since the pandemic. The problem my friend has is that he doesn't live in one of the biggest cities in Colombia but in a tourist one. That's why most of the fandom have (not everyone) start to mocking some regions, including my friend's city, with terrible jokes.
Despite I lived in the capital city (Bogotá) where concentrates the most part of the fandom, I can't believe the hipocrisy of some people, causing a lot of drama and splits to show which side of the furry fandom is the best; including the popfurs and meetups. And this bothers me when I read what happened in the past.
The funny part is I open the conversation in a group where I'm part of by typing "Hey, Divas! What's up?" to see what are the reactions.
At first, I thought that the Colombian furry fandom was open and welcomed, until I realized the live in their own bubbles. And maybe it can happen in other countries as well.
What do you think?
Gabbo the Fox (Colombia; age 30)
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Sorry for the late reply. What you're experiencing in Colombia is something that happens in fandom groups across the world. It is human nature, sadly, for hierarchies to form in social groups. While in the broad, big-picture view of the fandom, it is true that the furry fandom will accept anyone regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, or nationality, but it is also true that this is often not the case in small meetup groups.
Why does this happen?
Simply put, it's because certain people are not happy unless they are dominating others. There are a number of reasons for this such as overcompensating for low self-esteem or because the only way they feel safe in a group is if they can control all the other members. And the best way to dominate others is to put those other people down. You can do this by mocking certain attributes (it doesn't matter what attribute so long as it can be labeled as "other" or "unacceptable.") or by gatekeeping in which the dominant person declares that certain people do not meet the requirements to be "true" to their type, whether that means you are a muggle or not a true furry.
While there is such a thing as a true leader, one who assumes the post because they are smarter or stronger or more experienced and wish to use these skills to lead their group to success and happiness, such people are typically found in times of crisis (for example, FDR during the Depression and World War II, or, closer to your home, Simón Bolívar). But when there is no crisis and the only purpose of a group is to socialize, then true leaders are not really required and what you get instead are popufurs and prima donnas. This is true whether you are in the United States, the United Kingdom, or Colombia.
You are 100% correct that these furry social groups "live in their own bubbles." This is the reason for the social dynamic you have witnessed and why the leaders of such groups are typically jackasses (often--not always, but often). I hear stories like yours all the time. It's very petty and small. And it can definitely turn one off being a furry.
Don't you let it. You're furry, I assume, because you love anthro animal characters in stories and art. Don't let others take that love away from you just because they're derps. Recognize that the ones treating you like this are most likely furries with very low confidence levels who are, basically, bullies trying to gain undeserved attention and admiration.
How do you deal with it? Once you recognize these people for what they are, I have found that their personal attacks bounce right off me like bullets off of Superman's chest. Personal attacks on your character don't sting at all if you do not respect the people who are dishing it out. (My usual response to people trying to hurt my feelings is, "Ooh, ouch! That would really hurt if I cared about your opinion.")
Once people realize you cannot be hurt by their attacks, they, like all bullies, usually get bored and stop attacking you.
In short, be cool. Be calm. Be Zen. Be Bear. Bears don't take no shit from nobody, and neither should you. And they look cute doing it, too.
Hope this helps.
Hey, I've recently been consumed by the idea of getting a fursuit and as an extension of this, the subsequent idea of starting a more online presence making videos in websites like OnlyFans in order to make some money. I think it is fair to say that people with nice fursuits get more attention in the fandom.
My main question is this, do you think doing that kind of sex related stuff is something one will regret later down the line? I'm still relatively young but i worry if this is the sort of a thing that i wont realize i'll end up regretting in 20 years or not.
Anonymous (age 29)
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That's a terrific question, thanks for asking. I'm sure there are people who will disagree with me on this one, but I would advise you NOT to make sex vids online on OnlyFans or anywhere else. And here's why....
Once you have a video or photo uploaded to the internet, it is there pretty much forever. Oh, you might THINK you have deleted it, but if you make something like that available (and OnlyFans videos ARE downloadable), it will be copied and stored all over the place in servers all over the planet. You might believe you have control over the availability of a video, but, in fact, if you want something deleted, not only do you have to do so from whatever online service you are using, but you also have to ask the hosting company to remove it from their servers and you have to figure out where it has been indexed in search engines and have those instances removed as well. Finally (and this is getting to be a bit more than you likely need to know), even if you do all that, skilled computer gurus working for, say, police or government agencies might still be able to reconstruct the video data (at least in part) if it is involved in something criminal.
Now, if you're okay with all kinds of people having access to you in a naughty video (and since you're considering it, I would guess you are), this might not bother you right now. But you're only 29. As you noted, you might feel very differently a few years from now.
On the other paw! If you simply want to be more active and noticeable in the fandom by getting a fursuit and making videos, you certainly DO NOT have to make them adult-oriented. Plenty of furries have HUGELY popular YouTube channels that are totally G-rated. A good example is Kite's Windswept Wanderings who just won the 2023 Good Furry Award for their excellent videos covering conventions and other furry events.
So, this would be my recommendation to you: Go ahead and get a fursuit; go ahead and make G-rated videos. Do it for fun and to make connections in the fandom. Have a good time with it. Avoid being X-rated ;-)
Is there a regular club for Furries vs. conventions? A regular place to meet, say weekly, here in San Antonio!
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San Antonio is a great city, and it is a pawsome town in which to be a furry, too! For one thing, you have a fur con right there. It's called the Alamo City Furry Invasion (www.furryinvasion.org) and is held in October at the Marriott Airport Hotel. There are many other ways to connect to furries in your area. Thanks to user SAFurry on Reddit, who saved me a lot of research, here is a list of links that will prove helpful to you:
Good luck and have fun!
How do I stop the oncoming flow of hate towards the furry fandom? I hate how I'm persecuted for wanting to wear a costume. I understand that yes, there is a bad side to the fandom, but that's not the whole thing. Take Indigo_Raptor, for instance. They were so young, and yet they supposedly killed themselves because of hate. I really don't like how everyone stereotypes furries as 'The fandom that f*ks cheese graters and dogs for fun." And the people who bark at me in the school hallways--my fursona isn't even a dog; Neon's a cat! And if I'm a furry, and I don't go around barking at people, how come they do? We as furries have given the rest of the world more than enough reason to at least accept us if not love us.
How do I stop this? Is it even possible?
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(Note: I could not reply to you via email because you used a school email server, which blocks emails from unknown sources like this one, so I hope you see this on my website.)
Furries such as yourself all make the same mistake in thinking that normies are specifically targeting the furry fandom with their behavior towards its members. Actually, what you and others are experiencing is one facet of a phenomenon with humans: social predation. This is the characteristic in society in which those at the top of a hierarchy (the "top dogs," shall we say) and other members below who follow said hierarchy attack those at the bottom or outside the accepted norms in order to keep the status quo intact.
You see this kind of behavior in other animals, too, not just humans. Wolves, as most know, have their alphas and betas keeping the omegas in line; monkey troops actually go to war with other troops they feel are impinging on their territory; animals ranging from pronghorn sheep to elephants have been seen expressing bullying behavior, too. The higher an animal is in the hierarchy, the more aggressive it tends to be.
Humans behave just like the "lower animals" in this respect. In areas such as business and politics, of course, there is a clear hierarchy involving job titles and salaries and power. In the school, titles might not be formalized and complete with a salary, but they are still there in loose terms such as "that lunch table belongs to the popular kids, that one is for the jocks, nerds and geeks over there, and the losers sit outside on a bench."
Groups that adhere to social norms and that gain status through achievements (real or imagined) such as winning a championship game or wearing expensive and stylish clothes rise to the top of the hierarchy. Those who challenge the status quo by being different are filtered to the bottom of the glass. Such is the fate of furries because we aren't "normal."
But targeting furries per se is just an excuse. Anyone outside the "normal" range will be subject to violence and bullying. In the recent past, for example, such violence was directed at African Americans (and still is in many ways, but somewhat less so in schools now). People will also be targeted for their religion or nationality, as is seen in all the violence still going on today against Jews, Muslims (labeled as terrorists), Sikhs (often mistaken as Muslims because haters are stupid), LGBTQIA people, the handicapable, and more.
Bullies and haters are violent and nasty not just to keep the outsiders out, but also because this behavior reinforces the status quo hierarchy and creates a social bond (however unpleasant) with a group's leaders and all their toadies.
So, when you ask, "How do I stop furry haters?" you are asking the wrong question because you don't stop them. They are a part of social behavior in humans that will always be there, and you will be attacked for anything you might be or do that is considered "not normal."
Before I continue, it is important to note that if bullying becomes violent or dangerous in any way, you need to report it to your school administration and, possibly, local authorities if it gets really bad. There are laws against bullying (go to https://www.stopbullying.gov/ for more information on that).
When it comes to annoying teasing behavior, there are a couple of strategies you can pursue:
Whatever strategy you try--or maybe you have one of your own--the important thing is to not show any weakness. As Nick Wilde explained to Judy Hopps, you should never let them see that they got to you. Don't give them that power.
Will this stop the bullying? Maybe, maybe not. As noted above, you can't really completely stop it, but you can sure keep it from bothering you.
Remember, it's not about your being a furry; it's about them using bullying to maintain their social status. Is that pathetic? Yes, yes it is. And you don't have to buy into their pathetic displays of insecurity.
Hope that helps,
What age generally do you have to be to go to a furry convention? Is there a set age or what exactly?
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Every convention I know of has an age policy. A typical one would be that if you are under 16 years of age you must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian; if you are 16 or 17, you must have signed approval from a parent or guardian; if you are 18 and older, you're good to go. Sin City Murr Con in Las Vegas is, obviously, for 18 and older ONLY because of its very adult nature.
That is in the United States. Other countries are different. For example, I am led to understand that UK conventions do not allow minors at all. Same with Eurofurence in Germany and Furdu in Australia--you have to be 18. Asia cons can vary, I believe. For example, Furs Upon Malaysa allows furries as young as 13 to attend, but 13 to 17 year old furries must have an adult with them.
Anyway, you're likely only interest in U.S. cons, so short answer is you will need a parent to come with you. If you aren't sure, just visit the furcon's webpage and they will have the age policies posted there.
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.