First and foremost, I'd like to say that I hope you had good holidays and to thank you for your amazing work with this column.
Now, to my situation. In addition to being a furry, I'm also a therian. And while I'm pretty comfortable with that fact myself (except for a bit of species dysphoria, but it's usually pretty mild so it's not hard to live with it), I've never told anyone about that part of me (in “real life” I mean, on FA, dA and twitter I'm open about it). Recently, I've been thinking and realized that it's the kind of thing that I feel my parents have the right to know, so decided I'd tell them about it and also talk about my asexuality and introduce them to the fandom at the same occasion (to be clear, I haven't had this discussion yet). Doing so would also allow me to be a lot more comfortable at being more open about my therian and furry side at home (more specifically, I want to get a tail and be more open about the fact I started to learn how to draw), because right now, while I don't hide anything per say, I'm still pretty discreet about these kind of things.
The main problem here is that I don't really know how I should approach this “coming out.” I tried to search on the internet for advices, but the very few results I found concerning therianthropy in particular were pretty unsatisfactory and the advice for LGBT people I saw doesn’t seem like it would translate well onto my case. I'm open to pretty much any advice you could have, as I feel pretty insecure about all this. I fortunately don’t experience shifts of any kind, so that’s a thing I won't have to explain and I expect my parents to be pretty understanding, but if there's one thing I learned is that sometime it's the least expected thing that happens. I think my main fear about this surely comes from my social anxiety, as I fear my parents might not understand therianthropy and then who knows what happens next (objectively, at worst they’d probably tolerate it even if they somehow disapprove, but for someone who already has a very hard time trusting people that’d still be a hard blow for sure, a blow I’d rather not take).
I think that sum it up pretty well, if you need to know anything else feel free to ask.
Looking forward to your advices,
Wolfennar (age 19, Quebec)
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Thank you, I did have a good holiday, and hope you did, too.
Regarding your quesiton, let’s be clear here that we are not talking about just one “coming out”; we have three: 1) your being a furry; 2) your being asexual; 3) your being a therian. I would suggest, first of all, that if you do talk frankly to your parents about these, you don’t tackle all three at the same time as that might be a bit much for them to handle. Therians and furries are not the same thing, after all, and your asexuality is also a separate issue.
Of the three, being furry is probably the easiest to tackle, because you can simply explain it as a hobby of yours, which, for most, it is. I’ve written many columns on this topic (go to the list of categories on the website under Letters and click on “Coming Out Furry”) that can advise you on how to talk to your parents about your interest in the fandom. You describe your parents as “pretty understanding,” so I imagine they should be fine with it. Remember to make them comfortable with the subject by not hiding your drawings or your Web surfing behavior. Tell them you know there is furporn out there, but you have nothing to hide and they can feel free to ask questions or look at your art and so on.
Your asexuality and therianism are tougher topics. Both of these may indicate to your parents that you are suffering from any number of mental disorders (not saying you are), so you must tread lightly. Asexuality—lack of sexual attraction to anyone—is relatively uncommon. The mental health community is still debating, in fact, as to whether or not it constitutes a mental disorder or merely a sexual orientation just like homo- or bisexuality. My opinion is that it could be either. Sometimes, a childhood trauma or hormonal imbalance could cause asexuality, but it could also simply be your natural state. It varies from person to person. Because of that, I would advise that you speak with a counselor about your sexuality if you have any questions at all about it or are unsure as to why you are asexual (more on this below).
Therians (and otherkin) take us to an even more dicey area of mental health. Looking at this from the viewpoint of people like your parents (mundanes), if you tell them that you have an animal spirit inside you or are otherwise somehow mystically or mentally or spiritually connected to an animal, they may wonder about your mental state. Psychological disorders such as schizophrenia are one possible explanation for the belief that one is a therian. I’m not saying that is the case with you, not at all, but you need to be warned of this possibility.
Hence, this is not a matter of your just confessing to your parents you are an asexual therian furry, after which time and some discussion you will feel free to be open about your furry and other behaviors. Your confession could, rather, instill in them some fears about your psychological state. Therefore, before you confess these two things, you need to figure out exactly why you believe you are both asexual and a therian. Get your thoughts in order and figure out how you will word this to your parents so that they will not think you need psychotherapy.
My recommendation for you would be to look at what your goal is. Based on your letter, I surmise your goal is to be able to draw anthro characters and look at furry sites without the worry of trying to hide it from your parents. If that’s the case, then go ahead and tell them that you are a furry and what that means for you and them, but stay away from the topic of therians (at least for now). That is unneeded information for them and is an unessential disclosure for you to do what you want to in the end (draw furries, go to meets, etc.).
As for your asexuality, that is a topic for a completely separate, unrelated conversation with your parents. It should remain separate so that your parents do not incorrectly associate one subject with another (e.g., i.e., “Getting into furries has damaged our son’s sexual identity!”)
Before you talk to your parents about asexuality, I have a resource for you: The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN at http://www.asexuality.org/home/). I suggest you take a long look at the website, which includes some nice forum conversations.
So, your assignment, Wolfennar, should you choose to accept it, is this: 1) read the columns about coming out furry on the “Ask Papabear” website; 2) read the AVEN site and arm yourself with knowledge; 3) save therian stuff for another day, if at all.
The best way to feel comfortable about doing what you are about to do is to make yourself 100% prepared to answer any and all questions your parents may have, and to do so with logic and honesty.
Hope that helps!
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