Hello, Papa Bear,
I must say, I love going through all the questions and stories you have received and trying to find one that fits my little dilemma here.
You see, I'm generally a little young to be a furry (just turned 13) and I don't know how to tell my family... They know I draw anthropomorphic creatures and animals and whatnot, but I've been secretly hoping to actually BECOME a furry. You know, go to conventions, have a fursuit, make badges, etc... but I don't know what they'll think. They have already seen my google searches on fursuits and furries but I have to put it on strict search and it doesn't make the situation any better.
I have told some close friends about it and they all think its cool too, but word slipped out from a not-so-good friend into school and I was teased for being a freak and for being kinky and whatnot. I'm proud to be a furry, and am on a bunch of websites like FurAffinity and deviantArt, but that's when nobody but my friends know who I am. I just need your opinion, as I have had so many mixed ones before its making my head spin; should I tell my parents and hope for the best or wait till I'm older and then it will make more sense for me to be into the fandom?
Sincerely, a worried furry,
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Welcome to the furry fandom. I hope you enjoy your stay :-) By the way, you don’t BECOME a furry; you either are a furry or you aren’t a furry. It doesn’t matter if you have a fursuit or not or if you go to a furcon or not. Those aren’t qualifications; they are just activities. Being a furry is something you ARE not something you DO.
If you have read my previous columns on coming out furry, you know that telling your family about it has to be addressed on a case-by-case basis. You are the best judge of your own parents and how they might take the news. Are they loving, supportive, open-minded people? Or are they hyper-conservative, controlling, unsupportive people? Depending on your answer, you can be more or less open with your furriness with your parents.
I have talked about coming out furry a number of times, so I would like to take this opportunity to make a broad statement about furries and the fandom that you can use when talking with your parents or friends and, hopefully, anyone else can pick up on as an argument for why furries are great.
“WHY FURRIES ARE GREAT” by Grubbs Grizzly (aka Papabear)
I posted on Facebook a while back asking people what a furry was to them. The best response I got was that furries “combine all that is best in animals and humans.” That is absolutely a spot-on description.
People these days treat furries as if they are a new phenomenon when, in truth, there have been furries since ancient times. The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Indians, Chinese, etc. all created stories with gods, demigods, spirits, and other creatures who combined human and animal forms. Why do this? Because human beings have admired the beauty, strength, and grace of animals for thousands of years. Who, for example, has not dreamed of being able to fly like a bird? How about running as fast as a cheetah? Or having the strength of an elephant? It is a very appealing prospect.
This tradition was continued in fables by Aesop and fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm. More recently, “funny animals” came about in American comic books and then cartoons such as the famous characters created by people like Walter Lantz, Walt Disney, and Osamu Tezuka, to name just a couple. Science fiction and fantasy has addressed the topic many times as well, from “The Island of Dr. Moreau” by H.G. Wells to the lycanthropes in the “Twilight” series by Stephenie Meyer. Movies, TV shows, and comic books featuring what are, essentially, furry characters make billions of dollars for the U.S. and other economies.
So anthro characters are nothing new, by any means. What IS new is that people are now creating their own unique characters, drawing their own art, telling their own stories, making fursuits, and meeting in conventions. The creative energy of the fandom is spectacular, and what is even more fabulous is how anyone can be a furry.
Okay, so why do non-furries treat us so badly in some cases? Mainly, it is because we are out of the ordinary, and society doesn’t like things that are unusual. It is the nature of humans to try to find something that stigmatizes a group of people who are not like them and then use that to accuse them of being inferior or deviant. For example, racists focus on skin color or other physical attributes; people who are prejudiced about Jewish people say they are all money-grubbers; people who don’t like liberals claim they are unpatriotic, and so on. All ridiculous accusations. In the case of furries, what outsiders found was the whole sex thing, so they grabbed onto that and used it as a weapon. If it had not been sex, it would have been something else, but in our case it has been sex because that was something that touches a nerve in many people, especially conservative, uptight people.
What about sex, then? Tell you what: furries are no more sexual than anybody else on the planet, the only difference is we depict sex in our art and literature between characters in furry form because (duh) that is how we see ourselves. What is stupid is that people find this surprising, yet it is no different than what other groups of people do. Fans of Star Wars have fantasies about Princess Leia in her golden bikini; Star Trek fans have also had a long tradition of porn (http://io9.com/5120311/to-boldly-go-there-a-history-of-star-trek-porn-with-clips-[nsfw]), and there is porn for everything from Avatar to Zelda.
Now that the whole sex thing is out of the way, let’s move on to why are furries truly awesome.
Furries are awesome because they are in a fandom that, unlike Star Trek or Star Wars, is not run by a big corporation like Paramount Studios or Lucasfilm Ltd. Therefore, we are not constrained by trademarks (other than not violating existing ones of corporations as in the above) and are free to do as we will.
Furries are awesome because our love for anthro characters makes us a big family. The nature of furry, too, is such that we welcome all species, and this is reflected in our acceptance of all types of people. Since I became active in the community, I have made more friends than I have ever had in my life. Many of them have become like family to me.
Furries are very giving people. If you need some evidence for your parents on how wonderful furries are, here you go:
1. Furries, mostly through convention organizations, have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities: http://en.wikifur.com/wiki/Charity
2. Furries are supportive of their local communities, and furcons are very good for local businesses. A recent story about AnthroCon in Pittsburgh featured a fundraising effort led by Uncle Kage to save a local restaurant from closing: http://www.flayrah.com/3993/furry-fans-give-generously-fernando-over-20000-raised.
3. Furries love to entertain and bring joy to kids and families. Fursuiters, for instance, have appeared at children’s charity events. A friend of mine, Tycho Brahe, in Michigan captures the spirit of furry with his performance work, as seen here: http://youtu.be/Cj5EzCWlp4g.
4. And in case anyone ever doubts how true-of-heart a furry can be, all they have to read about is the heroic furry who sacrificed his own life for his mate: http://www.askpapabear.com/1/post/2012/07/hit-and-run-originally-published-7-18-12.html.
Furries are great! The only argument against furries that people make is that we’re different from them. So What?? If we weren’t different, we wouldn’t be furries! Oh, and just to add some more evidence for the argument that furries are great, here is a short list of people who are NOT furries:
Nothing great about these non-furries! So, being a non-furry doesn’t make you superior to furries, as you can see. To date, I have never heard of a mass-murderer or dictator who was a furry. So there.
You know, I could go on and on about why furries are great and why people should accept them for who they are, but I think you got the point, right, Alcatraz? Be furry proud, and if people give you guff about it, tell them some of the things I have outlined here for you today as evidence that the skeptics and critics need to get a clue that furries rule!
Furry Proud! Say it Out LOUD!
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