I've recently made a friend on FA that told me about your column. He said you have amazing advice on all things furry/non-furry related. After reading about 30 questions and answers I agree entirely! Now, having said that, I thought that maybe you'll be able to help me with a little predicament of my own... Sorry in advance if I'm all over the place...
I've been a furry for about 5ish years now and, like many others, have yet to feel like I belong in the fandom. I draw realistic drawings of wolves, foxes, cats etc. etc., and post them to FA. I talk to people and interact with other furries, but no matter how hard I try I feel like I'm out of the loop and nobody cares about me. What am I doing wrong?
Anyways, that's the least of my worries right now. Don't get me wrong, I still worry I'll never be in the fandom, but what I have to say next is what concerns me the most.
I've been a closet fur for the whole 5 years. Nobody knows I'm a furry except my mate who I love so very much. Although she is not a furry, she still accepts me and my furriness in every way shape and form :). But the problem at hand is the fact that nobody knows I'm a furry... and its killing me to hold it in any longer. You maybe thinking to yourself at this point, "why don't you just tell people then?" Well... This is why. I live in a family of 5 with a sister and a brother. I'm the middle child, my brothers the eldest, sister the youngest. We all grew up in a Catholic house hold that had very strict rules on "Normality". My parents HATE different. They don't let us see our gay uncle... because he's gay. So how in the world do I tell them? or should I not tell them at all?
I am 19 years old, and I'm currently extremely dependent on my family. My parents are paying for my education and my shelter... They provide me with food to eat and a bed to sleep. And besides my one uncle, my entire family is VERY close. There are always family get-togethers at least once a month. So what I’m trying to say is if I said I was a furry to my parents... My entire family would know.
Oh and if you think that's bad... I have a couple close friends who I know for a fact HATE furries... They look at them as (excuse my language) animal fornicators. The only close friend I have that doesn't hate furries doesn't even know what they are. You see, my friends are /b/tards if you know what that is. It's basically a forum board dedicated to random stuff. And sometimes the stuff happens to be furries, and they HATE that. So tell me, how do you think I should break it to them or if not at all?
I've been dying to be apart and to feel apart of the furry fandom. But I have so much on my plate I just don't know what to do. I have parents that don't accept me, friends that don't accept me, and I live in an area that seems to lack any furries at all... So please what should I do? I would greatly appreciate your advice, thanks.
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Thank you for your kind words. Papabear will try and help as best he can. Yes, you are a bit all-over-the-place with your letter, but let’s see what can be done here. Also, you say you’ve read 30 of my columns, so I would have to guess you came across some of my readers who have similar problems to yours.
In one column I advised a furry who was closeted and financially dependent on a narrow-minded family that he keep his love of furries hidden until he was in a position to fend for himself; then, once that happened, he could be himself in front of his family and, if they rejected him, still manage on his own. In another column, I advised a furry to go with what I call the “furry light strategy.” That is, to ease his mother and father into the idea of his interest in the fandom by making his life an open book: leaving furry books around the house and making his browser history easily accessible to his parents, making sure all the while that NONE of this material contained anything prurient. He was not interested in furporn, so none of this was dishonest. The idea was to let his parents figure out for themselves that his hobby was not dangerous or offensive.
While some similarities can be found in the lives of every furry who is dealing with a family that has a bad opinion of furries—and some of the above might apply to you, Wolfkins—everyone is different, every situation unique. Some parents and family members might “hate” furries because they don’t understand what furries really are, but others may dislike them because they have a very narrow view of the world and insist that everyone around them should conform to their personal standards of “right and wrong.”
Reading your letter, it sounds to Papabear as if your parents fall into the narrow-minded category, while your friends fit the uninformed category. The good news is that your friends can be educated and learn that furry does not equal zoophile. You can explain to them what a zoophile is and further explain to them that furries are simply people who like anthro characters, such as in Brian Jacques’ “Redwall” series, which is definitely PG, or “My Little Pony,” which is a hard G.
Your parents, sadly, are not so easy to deal with. Papabear is about to say something that many might find offensive, so if you are a strongly religious person, you might want to stop reading now.... There are two types of religious people: those who are intolerant and ignorant of other belief systems, and those who have the true spirit of a loving God in their hearts. Papabear has met both in his lifetime. For instance, he has a very very dear friend living in Michigan, an elderly woman of Japanese descent who is a devout Christian. When I came out as gay to her, she opened her arms to me and told me she still loved me as I am. She did not say that being a homosexual was evil and that God and Jesus now hated me. She knew I was a good person and a good friend. She is, to me, the epitome of what a good Christian should be.
Sadly, many of the religious are not like her at all. They are indoctrinated at a very young age to hate other people who are not like them, and they spread their hatred to others as much as possible. Here is a case in point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8r7SoLdKd8.
That your family has cut your uncle out of their lives because he is gay tells Papabear that they belong to those who cling to the underbelly of a distorted and twisted faith. Indeed, such people have a corrupted view of life, and they become that way because of their fear and ignorance. This is a shame, because they limit themselves to a very dull and colorless view of the world and are unlikely to become truly enlightened people.
The ugly truth of the matter, Wolfkins, is that Papabear does not believe you will be able to undo the learned behavior of a lifetime and convince your parents that being a furry is okay. Looking at your letter, I see the word HATE in capital letters three times. There is a lot of hatred in your household just beneath a veneer of religious piety. Few things are more abhorrent.
So.... how do you deal with this? You have already started on the right track by finding a wonderful girlfriend. That she is not a furry and accepts you totally as you are is, in its way, even better than finding a furry girlfriend, and Papabear would urge you to treat this woman right because she is exactly what you need in your life: someone who loves you for you. A person like her, too, may even lead you to more friends who will accept you. Papabear is willing to bet she comes from a loving, non-judgmental family, and he hopes you will try and meet them if you haven’t already. Spend as much time as you possibly can with your girlfriend and, hopefully, if things go well, her family can become yours and her friends can become yours as well. Papabear has a good feeling about her, if you can’t tell already.
In the meantime, try and see if, through education, you might correct your friends’ warped viewpoint of furries. Those with whom you have success you can keep as friends; those who still think furries are perverts and zoophiles, you would do well to dump them.
As for your family, you will need to keep things on the furry light side. Get your furry fix around them by watching Disney movies or other films they would likely find inoffensive. You might try something else, too. Have you talked to your priest? If not, you might talk to him about your furry side. Be honest and note that you are aware that there is furporn out there but that is not your interest. See how he reacts. Tell him it is merely an interest of yours. Perhaps he even knows something about furries. See if you can get him on your side. If so, then you might take the chance and see if he can serve as a kind of moderator between you and your family. Your parents are not too likely to take your arguments to heart, but I bet they will listen to your priest. If, on the other hand, he agrees with your parents, then you’ll just have to keep quiet about your furriness a bit longer.
Papabear hopes that you will not remain dependent on your parents much longer. The best way to handle such disagreements is when you can argue your viewpoint from a position of strength—that is, when they can’t control you with purse strings.
And as for gaining acceptance among other furries, well, sometimes that takes time. Papabear was a furry for years before he started feeling some acceptance. Even then, that acceptance is with a limited number of furries. Try and find one or two furries you can get close to as good friends, and slowly work your way up from there. You are not going to win over the entire fandom in one fell swoop, but don’t worry about it. You can’t interact with thousands of people at once anyway. Start with small steps.
Whew! Papabear hopes HE didn’t ramble too much for you. I hope this helps. Yours is not an easy situation, and there are no easy or simple answers to it. Life is a process, not a Q&A. Like anything that is worthwhile, it takes a long time to hit your stride.
Good Luck. Bear Hugs. Godspeed.
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.