I was just a tad curious as my letter wasn't responded to, and I'm just trying to be as patient as possible. I'll leave a copy of it here in case it got lost in your inbox.
I live with my mother and sister. We're a little shaken up, but we make it work. My mom has known since 4th grade I was interested in art, and always knew I had something for animals too. She simply shrugged it off as something similar to a 7 year old's phase of adoring horses more than humans.
However, I had known about furries since I was about seven. You could say I stumbled across them and had a good first impression. Years later, here I am, and I adore anthropomorphic animals even more.
I have one finished partial fursuit. I wore it twice in public, and it got a huge positive reception. I passed it off as a "Halloween costume" but she knew I wouldn't spend 80+ dollars on a normal costume. Seems she ignored it.
Not long after, I asked if we could go to this "convention for animal fans" for my birthday. I simply asked, "Can we go to this cartoon animal convention called Midwest Furfest, it's around my birthday, I think it would be really fun." I had a slideshow full of support and information, and much to my surprise, she said we could go. Keep in mind this all took place last year. We would be going to MWFF 2015.
This was a huge deal mainly because I had always been a loner growing up. I have about five really close friends, and none of them hold the intrest of art or animals, which has become a daily staple in my life. The idea of going to a place with over 5,000 people who hold the same specific intrest as me was so great and ideal. I was so excited to mainly make friends, and friends I could continue to talk to.
Shortly after, my mom had to go to a class reunion. I continued to be overly excited. There was only a little less than two months until the convention. We hadn't pre-registered, as a day pass couldn't be pre-registered.
When my mom came back from her reunion, she asked to meet me outside. I knew it was about the convention immediately. My mom knew this was for cartoon animals, but outside of that, she knew nothing. It was the perfect time to take her to a convention and show her that we're all nice people.
However, she told me in the kindest voice she could: "Are you sure you want to go to this convention?" I asked why she'd ask, because she knew how excited I was. She then said: "I don't think this group is really what you think it is."
That was the nail in the coffin. I knew what this was about. She explained: "I was talking to my friend who runs a store who sells things like Dungeons & Dragons and such. When I told her where we were going, she said not to. She said furries are people who just dress up in costume and have sex, and how she has a customer that always wear a tail."
Alright, I can save this yet, I thought. I calmly said: "You know, it's really a minority of people who are interested in that sort of thing, and you shouldn't listen to a minority. And about the tail, wearing that is a form of self expression, it's fine."
She proceeded to make things worse and call off the convention. Saying things like: "NORMAL people don't wear tails!" I was kinda shut down after that. I lost connection with the fandom for a few months, and the name Midwest Furfest sounded bitter.
Present day, only two months ago, I brought up the idea again. She looked at me like I had two heads, and asked why we would go. I once more said: "It'll be fun, and I can meet people." She still refused, until I pulled up the rules and specifically pointed out the one that said "No public affection."
I made sure we pre-registered for a full weekend this year. MWFF 2016 here I come. I'm so excited, but also really nervous. She wants to make anyone other than herself go. Her name is on the badge however, and she's coming along. This is my chance to make things right again.
Whenever I bring it up anymore she ignores it and tries to change the subject. I'm trying to get her used to the idea of it, and still nothing. She asks what we would do. I respond: "We would go to panels, see costumers, browse the dealers..."
Now, I'm almost in a panic. The convention seems far off but I know time flies. I have watched previous dance competitions and fursuit parades from last year on YouTube, as well as panels upon panels.
What I'm nervous about now is how there seem to be slighty sexual jokes frequently. I think she'd like Kage, so I'll be sure to head to one of his panels if possible, and she'll let that slide. What I want to know is how she'll react to a body roll in the dance competition, or a female "themed" fursuit.
I don't want that to ruin the impression. I'm really nervous, and I want to know: "Is there any way I can help my mom experience the very best of MWFF? Or even just avoiding any negative?" This is our first convention, and I need some advice.
Thank you so much,
Ioga DeWolf (age 12)
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I'm so sorry I didn't write back sooner (not that it's an excuse, but my husband died recently and I have fallen behind). I hope the delay does not affect your attendance at the con.
Okay, so, you seem to be worried that your mother will see some misbehavior at the furcon and become turned off by furries, which, in turn, might cause her to restrict your furry activities. Correct?
This is a legitimate concern. A lot of this depends on which furcon you are attending. I have to say, thank goodness you and your mother did not go to the last Rainfurest, which was a disaster. People misbehaved, and the hotel now refuses to have a furcon there ever again.
HOWEVER! Midwest Furfest is one of the best-run furcons in the nation. I have attended it a couple times back when I still lived in Michigan. The con organizers hire a lot of security staff, and everyone is very vigilant about controlling the crowds, something that is very important with larger cons such as MFF or AC. Misbehavior of any kind (violence, drugs, sexual or even sensual activity) is not tolerated. Indeed, if you or your mother witness anything like that, you should report it to the MFF staff. Make sure that your mother reads all the policies of the furcon; this should go a long way toward comforting her.
As you attend the con, I encourage you to go to the forums, which are informative and tame. Feel free to go to the dealers' den and to the art show. You will note at the art show that there is a part that is restricted for adults only. Point it out to your mother and note that you are not allowed in there. Also, in the dealer's den, artists are required to clearly label any art folders that have X-rated stuff in them. In other words, you can note for your mom that although the furry community does have adult art like this, if you go to a responsible furcon you are not going to be exposed to it. MFF takes this very seriously, as do most other furry conventions.
You were honest with your mother that there are aspects of the community that are for adults, and that's good you did so. If you learn about the history of furry, it actually started as a movement to make comic books and cartoons more adult (not just sex, but adult themes in general). The other, more prominent side of the modern fandom, I believe, is the joy of imagination, creativity, and just having fun with these characters in an innocent and playful way. If they have things like "furry games," take your mom. The furry parade is clean fun, too. Take her to the booth where the sponsored charity will be to show her the good stuff furries do, too.
While I cannot guarantee anything, I think you and your mom will have a great time. It's super that she is willing to go with you and, hopefully, the experience will change her mind from what her friend at the store told her. Oh, and you need to explain to her that there is no such thing as "normal people." If you can, try to meet up with and chat with furries there. Many of them will be very happy to see your mom there with you. We think it's cool when parents support their kids (I once saw a whole furry family at a furcon, and it sure warmed my heart).
Hope this helps, and I hope you have a wonderful, memorable time at MFF!
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