Lookie! It’s me! On a FAQ!

‘kay. So people have been asking some questions. And they should have answers. I’ve been avoiding this for some time but here goes:

What is a furry?

A furry is someone who has a fascination with or interest in fictional anthropomorphic animals.

Are you a furry?

Yes.

To be clear, we are talking about the creepy people who put on big, bulky animal costumes and have sex, right?

LOL, yeah they’re furries, too, but only a minority of furries are actually into fursuiting. Of those that are into fursuiting, only a minority of them have any desire to engage in sexual acts while wearing fursuits. The majority of furries aren’t into fursuiting. Though some of us do don ears and tails for some occasions.

Are you into fursuiting?

No. The most I’d consider is ears and a tail but even that’s stretching it a bit for me.

But wait. I’ve seen that episode of CSI! How can you say that isn’t the truth?

Anyone who takes CSI as an authority on anything has issues. But beyond that, CSI was doing what most people would do: take the most visible and vocal parts of the community and use them as a template to paint the rest. To be honest, fursuiters stand out simply because they’re visible. The rest of us cannot be outwardly distinguished from non-furries and so don’t attract attention. Likewise, some furries are very vocal about people making fun of us. They tend to be the ones that the media picks up on, simply because they make the most noise. The rest of us that are content to live and let live and not make a fuss about it don’t get the press attention. (And most of us don’t want the press attention.)

But isn’t there a sexual aspect to this?

For some, yes. For others, no. At the very least, we’re all just interested in fictional human-like animals. Some do have an anthro fetish (meaning they are sexually attracted to fictional human-like animals).

Do you have an anthro fetish?

That’s a personal question I don’t care to answer.

So you guys want to have sex with animals?

No, that’s called zoophilia. The actual practice of engaging in sexual acts with an animal is called bestiality. Furries are not zoophiles (okay, some probably are) and actual zoophilia is generally regarded with contempt in the furry fandom.

Are you a zoophile?

No.

Okay, so is there a governing body or a “head furry?”

No. Like the sci-fi fandom, comic fandom, anime fandom, etc., the furry fandom is a very loose association of people who share a common interest.

So do you think you’re actually animals trapped in human bodies?

For the most part, no. We’re just regular human beings. Some of us enjoy role-playing as fictional humanlike animals. The characters we portray are called “fursonas.” Typically, each furry has his or her own fursona that they develop over many years. Those that do actually believe that they are animal spirits trapped in human bodies are called “otherkin” and represent a small minority of furries.

Do you have a fursona?

Yes. I’ve known the character for quite some time. I had some help from someone more experienced in writing him down in text. The artwork is in progress – I’ve commissioned a very talented artist friend to do a character package for me.

Is it a religion?

No. Otherkin and some other furries have adopted totemic or earth-based systems of spirituality but otherwise, the normal spectrum of religions are represented, with more emphasis on agnosticism and atheism than mainstream culture.

What religion are you, then?

I’m Christian.

Okay, then are all furries secretly gay?

While it is true that the furry fandom has a significiantly higher concentration of homo and bisexual lifestyles, they’re not the majority. Accurate statistics are very hard to come by but around 60% of furries are heterosexual. Of course, furries also tend more toward acceptance of alternative lifestyles.

Are you gay?

No. I’m heterosexual.

So do all of you like furry porn?

Not all of us. Not even most of us. Many artists don’t particularly like drawing anthro erotica but do it because the market is there.

Do you like furry porn?

Again, personal question.

What made you this way?

I’m not a psychologist. I can’t say. What I do know is that I’ve been this way as long as I can remember. My first experience that I can point to as evidence is when I was 8 years old and watching Disney’s Animated Robin Hood. I realized I had a huge crush on Maid Marian, a vixen (fox). I realized I was a furry in November of 2010 when someone sent me a youtube mashup of clips of Minerva Mink from the Animaniacs, set to music. I was spellbound and hypnotized. From the comment threads, I deduced that people who had this sort of reaction to cartoon characters were furries. After reading more about it and talking to lots of folks on furry fandom forums, I determined that I was a furry, too.

So… do you still have a crush on Maid Marian?

LOL – Not really. She’s still awesome, though. I do have a fur crush but I’m not willing to say who it is. *cough*

So do you guys have a problem separating fantasy from reality, like D&D players?

We have very active imaginations, if that’s what you mean. And many furries are RPG gamers (games like D&D, Shadowrun, etc…). Some furries (especially Otherkin) adopt a lifestyle that incorporates animal-like behaviors (as an example, someone who roleplays as a wolf might howl at full moons). But most of us just roleplay occasionally and for fun, if we roleplay at all. Some don’t – they just like the art. And, contrary to pop culture, most of us have regular jobs. I can’t see many employers tolerating folks showing up wearing ears and a tail or barking at strangers who walk past their cubicles.

And for the record, I’ve got no problem separating me (Joshua Armstrong, human) from any of my characters (in Shadowrun, D&D, or my fursona). Just as an author has lots of characters running around acting out roles in their mind, we’ve got characters running around acting out roles in ours, too.

Did I miss anything? Post it in the comment threads.

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  1. #1 by Joshua on January 10, 2011 - 9:25 AM

    So my mom read the blog and saw the e-mails from the Lake Area Furry Friends listserv, and from Sean on the fursona art commission. The surprising part is that she knew what furries are and what a fursona is.

    My mom and grandmother are surprisingly cool with me being a furry. They think it’s weird as hell but then everything about me is weird as hell.

    One thing I can say is the stereotype of the fat, hairy guy sitting in his basement (as most of the ‘net and Phillip M. Jackson picture furries) is definitely NOT truth in television. In fact, I’ve found some very nice hidden enclaves of the Fandom where people are not only civil, but social! Things like bowling leagues, fishing trips, Six Flags trips, etc., as well as weekly coffee and chats are all organized on the furry forums and LAFF mailing lists.

    I know my mom wanted me to make *normal* friends. But so far every fur I’ve met is polite, nice, social, and fun to be around. If it weren’t for the fandom, I never would’ve met such excellent people. Okay, so we put on fake ears and tails and pretend to be fictional talking animals. That’s no weirder than vampire LARPers. In fact, I think it’s less weird but I won’t begrudge another fandom their fun.

    • #2 by Chadwick on January 11, 2011 - 8:26 AM

      It’s very true. So you’ve been out and about, then? Or just exploring the groups a bit via cyberspace?

      • #3 by Joshua on January 11, 2011 - 8:31 AM

        Yup. My non-Lodge thursdays are spent at Denny’s out by mayfair. We drink coffee, talk, play games, etc. We’re all in plain clothes except for some special occasions or if someone’s asking for fursuit construction advice.

  2. #4 by Joshua on January 11, 2011 - 8:40 AM

    … And I’m still waiting for the other fur in our little circle to admit his or her interest. You know who you are. Show up at Denny’s by Mayfair Mall on Thursday nights at 7:00 PM. We don’t bite (actually some of us probably do) 🙂

    • #5 by Joshua on January 11, 2011 - 8:40 AM

      Or better yet, join the LAFF mailing list. They plan events there.

    • #6 by Joshua on January 11, 2011 - 8:54 AM

      Oh, and like the bald man who thinks nobody knows about his toupee, we all aready know you’re a furry. We’re all open-minded folks after all.

      • #7 by Chadwick on January 11, 2011 - 12:55 PM

        Are we talking about me or someone else?

        • #8 by Joshua on January 11, 2011 - 12:59 PM

          Well possibly nobody. I could just be playing a massive mind game with everyone. I do get bored at work.

          • #9 by Chadwick on January 11, 2011 - 1:31 PM

            I suppose that is possible.

        • #10 by Joshua on January 11, 2011 - 1:35 PM

          And by “we all” I probably mean all the characters in my head. And as far as referring to any specific person: Ask yourself “Am I a furry?” If not, then I’m not referring (re-furring?) to you. ^_^

        • #11 by Joshua on January 11, 2011 - 1:36 PM

          BTW, when does school start again and what does everyone’s schedule look like?

          • #12 by Chadwick on January 11, 2011 - 4:39 PM

            The 24th, and I was just kind of wondering that myself.

          • #13 by Joshua on January 11, 2011 - 5:05 PM

            I intend to be there if at all possible.

  3. #14 by Joshua on January 11, 2011 - 8:46 AM

    Interestingly, there’s a fur where I work. He keeps it under wraps tho. But I knew instantly by his halloween costume (which was actually a well-made coyote fursuit). I talk with him sometimes in the break room when nobody else is around.

    Also, one of my coworker’s daughters is a furry and got into it in college. She sounds like the kind of girl I wish I’d known in college (but she’s 5 years older than me so we wouldn’t have met anyway).

  4. #15 by Joshua on January 23, 2011 - 7:24 PM

    I met another straight male fur today. I was beginning to think I was the only one.

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