There is a group silently suffering, blind to the eye of society. Begging to be accepted, begging to end the hate. A group that commits no violence, yet gets the most backlash, that gets the most hate. All they want is to be loved, all they want is to be accepted, and I’m here convince you why you should accept these fuzzy friends. I’m here to change your views on furries.
For those unfamiliar to the term “furry,” a furry is a person who interests in enthusiastic anthropomorphic animals, or animals with human characteristics. Often times they dress up in suits. They also have fursonas. A fursona is the often original character a person identifies with. Some people even have multiple fursonas. To furries worldwide, these fursonas can be their escape from the stresses and pressures of everyday life; it is their outlet. Some people use art or music as their getaway, others have their fursona.
Most furries are peaceful, they do not harm, they do not kill, they just carry out their lifestyle as anyone else, but they still get hate due to common misconceptions about the furry community, or furry fandom as most know it. Although some furries do identify with common stereotypes, such as yiffing and fursuits, not all furries are like this. Furries are all around you, living side by side with us, forced to remain closeted due to shame or hate. You never know who could be a closet furry: Tim from work, Sarah from bible study, your own relatives. Studies show that two-fifths of the American population are furries. So be careful on who you discriminate against.
Contrary to popular belief, there are many different types of furry. There are fursuiters, those who simply dress up as their original furry characters, Lifestylers, those who live as their furry characters, and otherkin, those who believe that they are animals or mythical creatures trapped in a human body. Sadly, many people confuse the different types with each other and come off as ignorant, or close minded. Please educate yourself before you decide to be discriminative towards furries or otherkin.
For furries though, there are strength in numbers. Coffee shops, the school library, or conventions all serve as safe spaces for furry and kin alike. Here, they are free to be themselves without the worry of outside discrimination. To them, the second they step into the world of their fursona, they leave their worries behind. Their fursonas serve as their escape from the real world; it’s their outlet. Some people read or write to get away, others dive into the world of furries. Some people take to cons dressed as their favorite character, and others come armed in their fursuits. The furry fandom is like a second family to many, a place of support and comfort, so why should we be so quick to judge them?
Sadly, hate crimes against our furry friends are very real and very relevant. On December 7, 2014, the fifteenth-annual Midwest FurFest (which is the second most popular furry-based convention in the country) was subject to an attack where someone leaked chlorine gas on the ninth floor stairwell. Chlorine gas is a toxin that can affect the eyes, nose, throat and lungs and in higher concentrations and long enough exposure, it can even cause asphyxiation and death. 19 people were hospitalized and the entire hotel (which has over a thousand rooms) had to be evacuated.
So I say it’s about time. Time we leave behind the hate, the discrimination, the stereotypes and start seeing furries for who they really are. In the end they are just like any other fandom. So the next time you witness the harassment of a fur, step up. Don’t just be bystander, make a difference, and maybe we can change the world, one paw at a time.