Heya there, Papa Bear!
My name is Danielle. I’m an 11-year-old furry from California. I'm bi, and I joined the fandom when I was 7. I have a lil' question for you. I easily know way too much, and I know everything about the fandom. But when I’m walking by with my friends, people shout, “Yiff in hell! Furry!” It gets on my nerves, and I have no apparent plans on becoming a yiff. I kindly tell them to stop, but they are major assholes about it and they simply refuse to halt their immature comments. I go up to them and say, “Seriously, would you please stop calling me a yiff?! I'm not harming anyone, and furries are a lot nicer than you are!” I mean, I would’ve totally broke out and cursed, except ... Big Trouble. Oh, and also ... I have a trans friend. He was a girl, and he says he’s bi as well, so I'm not a complete loner. The catch is ... not many people know I'm bi, and I started puberty a long time ago. Even period ... heavy, period.... So I’m easily used to the subject of puberty/body parts/various subjects related to that theme. That would most likely get a shitload of criticism, and much more weird looks. Thank you for your time, Hon.
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Normally, I would say you are asking me two questions in this letter: one about being a furry and one about being bi. Actually, they are related because with both your concern is about being teased, made fun of, socially ostracized, etc., and the answer to this combination question is the same....
When I was a cub, I was teased a lot. I was teased for being smart, for being pale-skinned in the land of sunshine (SoCal), for being unathletic, for being shy, for being part German, for being part Russian, etc. etc. People, in general, get teased and bullied for all kinds or reasons, ranging from ethnic prejudice to issues about not being popular for reasons such as “acceptable” appearance or athleticism.
In the end, the reason for the bullying is not because the object of the teasing has something wrong with him or her, something unacceptable; the TRUE reason is that bullies get off by hurting other people’s feelings and making them upset for any reason at all that they can find. Danielle, what has happened here is that these people have discovered that by shouting “Yiff in hell, furry!” they are getting a reaction out of you. Every time you protest, every time you argue in your defense, every time you so much as flinch, frown, or look upset in any way, you are feeding the wolves the steak they crave.
Therefore, the solution is not to find a clever way to get back at them; the solution is to give them no reaction at all. Don’t talk to them, don’t argue with them, don't report them (unless they get physically violent) don’t give them the satisfaction of knowing they are getting a rise out of you. The less reaction the get, the less fun it will be for these butt munches to tease you.
I know what you’re thinking: “What if I try that and then they come up to me and say something like, ‘Hey, didn’t you hear me, furry? I said yiff in hell”? Yes, it’s possible that their first reaction will be to double-up on the bullying. The answer is to respond to them cooly, without emotion, and to make it clear to them that their words mean nothing to you. You can say such things as, “Yeah, I heard you. Have a nice day” or (very distracted) “Uh huh, that’s nice, I’m really busy right now” (and then walk off, completely ignoring them) or (insincerely) “Yeah, never heard that one before, clever.” Only say such things if they confront you in such a way that it is impossible not to say at least something. While it’s important to show no interest in what they are saying, it is also important not to show any anger or irritation. If they continue to try and engage you, they will eventually show they really have no follow-up for their comments. Example:
Idiot: “Yiff in hell, furry!”
You: “Okay, have a nice day.”
Idiot: “Hey, I said, yiff in hell!”
You: “I heard you.”
Idiot: “Well, don’t you have anything to say?”
Idiot: (insistently) “You furries are all sex freaks.”
You: “That’s your opinion.”
Idiot: “Yeah, well, it’s true.”
You: “I appreciate that everyone has a right to think what they like.”
Idiot: “You don’t deny it?”
You: “I don’t deny that you have an opinion on this. Do you have a point?”
Idiot: “Yeah, er, my point is you’re a, um, a furvert.”
Idiot: (sounding lame) “And, uh, you’re going to hell.”
You: (looking distracted, bored, and checking your watch or iPhone) “Yeah, great, okay, nice talking with you, but I have to go now. Bye.”
See how this works? Now, this might not stop the teasing 100%, but I guarantee it will reduce it significantly. The same strategy would work if the teasing was about your being bi or anything else. The key is to be confident in who and what you are and to not be ashamed of it or feel like you have to defend who you are because who you are requires no defense. This is, I admit, a rather tough lesson to learn when you are a pre-teen, but if you learn it now it will go a long way toward improving your self-esteem and self-image.
Another point: combine this strategy with overt friendliness. That is, always be gracious, kind, and welcoming to everyone you meet—yes, even the bullies. There is nothing like the one-two punch of self-confidence and friendliness to confuse and befuddle bullies. Soon, people will like you too much to bully you :-)
Good luck, hon.
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