I have been a furry for about a couple of months now and I have told some of my friends that I'm a furry, but not my mom or dad. I am kind of afraid to tell my mom or dad. One: My mom would probably think I'm weird and criticize me and two: my dad is a Jehovah’s Witness and might hate me for the rest of my life. My dad is extremely religious. I just want my mom or dad to know so that I don't have to "hide in the shadows," if you know what I mean. I have five furry shirts I wear to school and then I have to quickly change out of them for my mom cannot see. I just feel too embarrassed to reveal myself. Help. Thank you.
Feisty Ferret (age 16)
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Papabear has received quite a few letters like yours over the last year and a half, as you might imagine, and the last few I received about furries and their parents I simply wrote to them offline since my readers have seen these before.
When it comes to Christianity and furries, I have, in the past, referred furries to several Christian furry groups (cf. http://www.askpapabear.com/1/post/2012/06/christian-gay-and-furry.html, for example), but Jehovah’s Witnesses present a challenge because they are quite different from most other types of Christianity. They do not believe in the Holy Trinity, and their concept of Jesus is very different in that they do not see Him as an iteration of God, but, rather, as a being separate from God and also not strictly the Son of God, yet they still believe that salvation is found only through Jesus. So, referring you to other Christian groups might not be helpful in your case.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are strict in their lifestyle, very opposed to anything that might be misconstrued as idolatry and opposed to celebrations such as Christmas and national holidays, which they feel are paganist (actually, they are quite correct on that account).
Why do I bring all this up? Well, because, despite all this, I do not know of any reason for a Jehovah’s Witness to object to someone being a furry. As long as you make it clear that your furriness has nothing to do with paganism and is not a rejection of your faith (I’m assuming you are a Jehovah’s Witness, too? If not, that is an entirely different letter, so let’s just focus on the furry issue). There is certainly nothing in the Bible that says you can’t put on a fursuit or enjoy a Disney film like Bambi just because it has talking animals in it (especially since those things didn’t exist back in biblical days!)
What you need to make crystal clear to your father is that furry has nothing to do with paganism or perversion or anything that might be offensive to his JW sensibilities (again, I’m operating here under certain assumptions, such as that you are not taking furry to a spiritual level but merely to a hobbyist level). Surely your father would be okay with your having a fun hobby? Would he, for instance, object if you wanted to be a mascot for your football team and dress as a bulldog or tiger? Does he object to people who like science fiction or fantasy books? Explain furry in those terms. The fandom, after all, began with a bunch of sci-fi enthusiasts, not fursuiters.
As for your mother, approach her in a similar way: being furry is just a way to have fun and socialize. (Even Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that having fun is okay). As long as you aren’t doing anything shameful, there shouldn’t be anything to be ashamed about, right? Right. When you say that you fear your mom will think you are “weird and criticize me,” is that because you know her views about furries or are you putting words in her mouth based on your personal feelings of embarrassment?
The problem with many young furries is they are apparently being taught from the outset that furry is something to be ashamed of. This is a lesson I have had to unlearn myself, even recently, and it is something that is very difficult to fight. You and I, and all furries, need to not be embarrassed about ourselves. Because, you know what? Many times when we finally admit to friends and family we are furries, they are fine with it! I know, shocking, right? The people who are fine with it are those who either A) don’t know what furry is and so have no bad preconceptions about it, or B) have a rock-solid understanding of furry and realize that there is nothing wrong with it. It is only with the misinformed and partially informed that problems may arise, in which case it is up to the furry to educate and dispel the misconceptions. (Such people are easy to spot, such as one time when I was at a party and asked a guy if he knew what a furry was, and his reply was, “Oh, yeah, you’re one of those furverts.”)
At any rate, let’s go through the possible scenarios here: 1) you can keep doing what you’re doing and, eventually, when you move out of your parents’ house you can live life as you see fit, 2) you can tell your parents you are furry in a way that they can accept and everything will be all right, 3) you can tell your parents you like furry stuff, and if they reject that, you can say, okay, I didn’t realize it would offend you so much so I will stop (and then go back to option 1), or 4) you can tell your parents you are a furry, they decide to be jerks and hate you even though you are their flesh and blood, and you get thrown out of the house and have to fend for yourself (possibly what you are fearing most, no?) Obviously, avoid 4 at all costs.
There’s actually one more option similar to #1: what I call the “It’s No Big Deal” gambit. Don’t tell them you’re a furry, but don’t hide it, either. Don’t make it a big deal (that’s important). Go ahead and wear a furry T-shirt at home, but don’t comment on it. If they ask, just say something like, “Oh, just a fun shirt I thought was kinda cool, no biggie.” Don’t hide furry stuff on your computer (but DON’T have furporn on your computer). Watch movies like Kung Fu Panda and Open Season without hiding those, either, and go ahead and leave out comic books and graphic novels in the open, as long as they are not, again, porn.
This is actually the option I would recommend. If you are not afraid to be yourself, if you don’t behave in an embarrassed or ashamed manner, then your parents won’t pick up on the idea that this might be something to be ashamed of or hide, rather like if you were smoking weed, hiding it in a drawer, and then, after your mother stumbles on it, claiming it is potpourri. Parents aren’t stupid (well, most aren’t), so don’t treat them like they are and don’t treat them like the enemy.
Hope this helps. Good luck!
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