What is a furry anyway?

The definition of furry generally falls into two camps:

All-encompassing: This definition doesn’t concern itself with self-identification. If you’ve ever watched a Saturday morning cartoon or played Star Fox without thinking it’s icky, you’re a furry. This is an unpopular definition since it takes agency away from people and makes furries look like jerks.

Self-identification: Most people seem to agree with this one, and it’s the one I think is best. You can’t make someone accept a label without forcing all the connotations that come with it. Trying to force a label only breeds resentment.

I consider myself a furry, and with good reason.

Most furries can be stuffed into a category:

1. Fursuiter. A lot of people have an odd idea of what one does with a fursuit. The thing people imagine happening would void the warranty and put them on the builder’s blacklist. A basic fursuit costs thousands of dollars. It’s a big investment, and no one would want to be shunned by the person who knows how to fix normal wear and tear.

Many people get in to fursuiting to entertain:

Others get in to it to do crazy things like skydiving:

Most just do normal stuff:

2. Artist. Art is the biggest part of the furry subculture. Most of the art isn’t all that good. Some of it is, and it’s worth checking out. The easiest way to find it, if you don’t know where to look, is on deviantART with the all-time popular sorting.

3. Porn fiend. Now to the sticky…I mean tricky subject of porn. Yes, there’s a lot of it. And it’s so abundant that you have trouble avoiding it if you spend any time looking for anthro art. Most furry art sites have a filter for it, but some will slip past. Either people forgot to tag it or they do it on purpose.

Whether or not furry porn is bad is one of those personal philisophical things, and I try not to judge people for their preferences. I just wish they’d tag it better so it wouldn’t pop up in unexpected places.

Myths and misconceptions

Let’s not kid ourselves: most of the bad stuff exists. There’s a lot of drama. Some really do believe in “fursecution,” and there’s all kinds of hilarious, lengthy posts about people “coming out” as a furry when no one really cares enough for it to matter. There are people who make a career out of drawing furry porn.

But the furry subculture is a big, diverse thing. Rule 34 is in full effect, but that’s true of anything. And like everything, the worst parts of it are the most obvious if you don’t look past what you hear second hand.

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30,000 words that changed my life

I have over 30,000 words of scenes, but only about 5000 words words of story. But it’s one hell of a story, and it’s just begun. I nudged myself to get a final draft out of the first episode after reading Gold Standard by Kyell Gold. I’m already 2000 words into the next episode and 1000 into a spinoff set in the distant future.

There’s a funny story about why it took so long to get here. 12 months ago, back when I started working on this world, I thought I was straight. Despite never being attracted to women or having any interest in them. But I had a lot of gay friends, and they always complained about the dearth of good gay characters in fiction. I was lucky to grow up in an accepting home, so I never had to worry about expressing pro-gay sentiments.

I started work on a story.

The main character was a straight guy who had a woman as a love interest. Typical hetero fantasy fiction trope. So I wrote a gay character. He was going to meet up with the protagonist in the second act and help save the world in the third. If you’ve read the story, which I’ll link here again in case you missed it, you’ll know the character as Rex.

The trouble is, I kept finding myself drawn to his subplots. I was obsessed.

I’m sure a lot of you know where this is headed.

I kept having dreams and fantasies. One scene had him hitting on a cute guy in the corner while the main character prodded the bartender for information. I was much more interested in the prodding that went on after the sun went down.

The truth is, I didn’t really know what it was to feel attraction. I see all the times it happened in retrospect, but I had no sense of it…until I tried writing this character. I felt things for him, in my imagination, that I’d attributed to my anxiety problems before since it always happened around guys, and a lot of my growing up involved abuse and insults from them. But why was I feeling it for a character I made? One I liked. As a person. Platonic, you see.

Right.

I finally realized it wasn’t anxiety. It was attraction. That burning that radiates from your gut to your head and toes and makes you feel good in all the right ways. That makes you obsess over a crush. That makes you want to adjust your life to be around someone, hoping they’ll give you a shot. And, once you reach a certain level of emotional maturity, you drop the last part because it’s a bit creepy.

So here I am, an average gay furry writing gay furry fiction, reasonably comfortable with myself for the first time in 30 years of living. Furries were a big part of it. They gave me a safe space to explore my sexuality and learn exactly who I am.

I know a lot of people are squicked out by furries, but the community is a friendly, safe, and open-minded space to think about things you wouldn’t normally feel comfortable thinking about. No one has shunned me after they find out I like anthropomorphic art and fiction, so I don’t think there’s as much hostility toward furries as many furries believe. Most of it seems to come from isolated internet communities that favor and enforce groupthink. Fursecution is not a thing. Except where it’s acting as a proxy for homophobia. But that’s for another post.

Star Trek: The Original Series – Episode 2, The Man Trap

1. And we get the instant transition to Captain Kirk, bringing us the full suite of familiar characters.

2. Mysterious shapeshifting woman going off to get Bob. Boldly going where several men have gone before.

3. Bob (??) is not happy to see the doctor and captain. Blueshirt, redshirt. Something is not right here. Bones is an idiot.

4. Who mourns for the buffalo? Yes, I’ve seen the whole series before. But I’m still rewatching it.

Star Trek: The Original Series – Episode 1, The Cage

1. These brain dudes are so rude. I bet everyone at the country club hates them.

2. It took a while, but all the cheap special effects started to grow on me. The transporter was a brilliant way to save budget on shuttle scenes.

3. In the future, they still use clipboards and paper.