This evening, I took the opportunity to come out about me being a furry to my dad. As one would expect, he was a bit confused about it at first, but then the dreaded light bulb turned on. Luckily, he took it quite well initially. I was surprised at either how well he took it or how wrong I was about him. I honestly haven't decided which one.
But now we've got a problem. Remember that light bulb? That light bulb is a jerk, nobody likes when it turns on. As I feared, he knows about the sexual side of furries. I assured him that, though that does exist, it's not who I am, it's not what I'm into, it's against what I believe, and, frankly, it disgusts me. I'm pretty sure he believes that's not who I am, but he had another issue, based on my age.
To him, it's not acceptable for me to be a furry at age 15. You can guess why. I tried to remind him that, though the community is a big part of my furryness, the art is what I'm really into. Unfortunately, that didn't work very well, and he used his age old assumption that every furry is "a 20 year old male sitting in his mother's basement, naked, with his bunny suit hanging on the wall." How touching.
I tried to bring up some of the best examples of good furs I know of (at the time, the one that came to mind was Bucktown Tiger. Might not have been the absolute best example, but he's definitely on the list). But he still wasn't convinced.
And I'm not saying that he's not being very reasonable. The sexual stuff is there. I've seen it (though I wouldn't dare tell him that detail), but it's still not me.
I think his perception of furries is quite clouded, because he asked whether my friends know about it, as if it's something horrible. On top of that, he watches Comedy Central, Fox News, Howard Stern and all of those places that classify the fandom as a "fetish".
On top of that, he believes that at some point in my life, I will get the desire to dress up as a furry and do some things with another furry that I, again, am not into and don't believe are right.
Speaking of, both he and myself are Christians, but that hardly seemed to play a role in anything.
And on that note, I'm sure he now questions whether or not I'm gay. I'm not, but I wouldn't blame him for thinking that I am, since I defend homosexuals often, which is because I'm a furry and I have so many friends here who are gay.
I think he trusts me not to be actively searching out that stuff, but he still doesn't want me associating with furries because that stuff exists.
Onto my question: How can I show him that not every furry is a 20 year old perv with a bunny suit, and that the furry fandom is nothing to be ashamed of, or even hide?
Thanks for all your help thus far,
(also, if you have time, what would you consider the "right" age to be a furry?)
* * *
It’s great that your dad is fairly understanding, and I certainly do sympathize with his being nervous about his son being associated with any potentially dangerous people. You are both right that there are a lot of furries out there who are mostly into the sexual aspect of the fandom, and there is a LOT of porn out there. There are also a lot of furries like yourself who do not like the kink side at all. There is so much that is fun and cool about the furry fandom that has nothing at all to do with sex. Nothing.
I would put it to your father this way, as an example: “Dad, it’s true that there is a lot of X-rated art out there concerning furries, but there is also a lot that has nothing to do with that. It’s important for you to understand that there are many, many furries who want nothing to do with furry porn, and I am one of them. Think of it this way: there are millions of Muslims in the world, but would you say they are all terrorists? Of course not! Only a small portion of them are, and they give the rest of the Muslim community a very bad name and make other people suspicious of anyone who is a practicing Muslim. Just as terrorists get a lot of media and other attention, giving Muslims a bad name, furry pornography gets a lot of attention from non-furries because it is so sensationalistic. Please don’t condemn all furries as furverts because that is far from the truth. I’m not a furvert.”
To ease his mind further, invite him to go to a furcon or furmeet with you. Allow him to be involved in your furry life, if he wishes. Don’t be secretive about it (just reinforcing here, as you seem like you are not the secretive type), and you will gain his trust. You already have a very good start, and he seems like a pretty cool guy who is just a bit concerned about furry, which means that he loves and cares about you, which is a good thing! Much better than a father who is completely indifferent to his son’s activities.
By taking him to some furry events, he will see (as my mate, Yogi, has seen when I took him to furcons) that they are really very tame. Just a bunch of people with the same interests having fun sharing their hobby together.
As for the question what is the right age for a furry—there is no right or wrong age. You don’t need a furry license, you are not ingesting drugs, you are not enlisting in the army. It is simply an avocational interest many people have. You wouldn’t ask someone, “What is the right age to be a Star Trek fan” would you? Of course not. Same for furries. From 1 to 101, any age is the right age.
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.