Last week, in my blog about VRChat, I wrote towards the end that I am a furry. To some people, that term might not ring a bell, while to others, it might make their eyes roll in cringe. Furries have been subject to much flaming and hate online and offline, though most of that comes from a lack of understanding of the community. As such, today I would like to explain what exactly the furry community is, and my experience as a part of that community.
First, a Fuzzy Idea
For those that don’t know what I’m even talking about, furries refer to people who have a profound interest, usually sexual interest, in anthropomorphic animals. By “anthropomorphic”, I mean animals that look and act like humans. Think of the movie Zootopia, those characters are anthropomorphic animals. Generally speaking, furries will have a character that they identify with as themself, their fursona (stay tuned, I’ll show my own later). Usually, furries refer to each other by the names of their sonas. For example, many of my friends call me Laeroba because of this. All of this is the basic idea of what furries are.
Now that we’ve discussed what furries are, next we can talk about the community. Probably the biggest community of furries is on Twitter. This is where we talk about our sonas, interact with each other, and the like. Often furries pay furry artists to draw their characters for various purposes (yes, often porn). Furry conventions exist around the world as well. Think of Comic-Con or E3, but just a bunch of people walking around in fursuits, artists selling and promoting their work, dance parties, and more.
Next, Avoiding a Hairy Misunderstanding
I want to clear up two of the biggest misconceptions people have about our community.
Q: Is it true that furries genuinely believe that they’re animals, or act the same as animals?
A: Faaaaar from always. This is an incredibly uncommon thing in the community. Most people “play pretend”, simply joking to friends and others that they are their character. The realization that it is fantasy is pretty much always there, and of course, we rub this in people’s faces. This is a thing for fun, a lifestyle yes, but far from something akin to a cult.
Q: Are all furries sexually/romantically attracted to real animals?
A: This question annoys me like nothing else, so let me be perfectly clear: ABSOLUTELY NOT. 99.99% of furries find the idea of bestiality/zoophilia revolting like pretty much everyone else. Yes, there are the occasional bad apples, but they equally exist outside of the furry community. Being in the furry community doesn’t magically increase the chance of being attracted to your neighbor’s cat either.
And I want to be clear: yes, the furry community is irrevocably about sex. As much as one might want to deny that, the core of the furry community lies with a shared interest that is inherently, at least partly, sexual. But this attraction is to anthropomorphic animals and specifically anthropomorphic animals, not actual animals.
Lastly, a Fluffy Fox’s Experience
Who is this fluffy fox you might ask? Me! Well, my character Laeroba, to be specific. Though from a philosophical perspective, I created my character and act like him a lot, therefore in a way I am Laeroba. Anyway, semantics aside, when I refer to myself here, I mean both me, Casper, and me, Laeroba.
The reason I explain this is because this is what generally goes on in my head. To most non-furry friends, I am just Casper. But to my friends in the furry community, or even to friends who are not themselves in the community but know about me being a furry, I am both Casper and Laeroba. It’s an interesting thought to me. If I ever got the chance, would I like to become my sona? Absolutely! I think I speak for a lot of furries when I say that we would love that. While all of this is fantasy and meant for fun, we make these characters because we identify with them, they are our simulacra as it were. It’s a form we feel mentally comfortable with.
An interesting thing I learned not long after becoming a part of this community, I learned about just how much of this community is also part of the LGBTQ+ community. By far the majority of the furry community, much like myself, identifies as gay, bisexual, trans, or other parts of the LGBTQ+ community. Moreover, because the furry community is inherently sexual, sex is a much more comfortable topic among furries. I very regularly talk about sex with my furry friends, be it imagining our sonas going at it or recounting sexual stories.
I’ve been a proper part of the community for close to two years now. I see this community as my home. I have made so many friends here and learned to become comfortable with who I am and who and what I like. I fully believe I will be a part of this community for the rest of my life, as I’ve come to accept this is where I belong. It’s no exaggeration to see that the friends I’ve made here are like a second family to me, not just friends.
If you’re interested in seeing more, have a look at my Twitter account @LaerobaOfAzure (warning: VERY NSFW). Or if you have any questions, feel free to ask! 😀
Hi Casper! Would you consider that being a member of the furry community is a means of escapism? It reminded me of the concept introduced by Johan Huizinga. Do you think that a life as a furry is the same as living in a magic circle?
Hey Luka! In a way, I suppose you could say that, yes. I know a lot of furries do indulge in these fantasies, and if I’m honest with myself that’s probably true for me as well. In a big and multi-faceted community like this though, it’s hard to say everyone thinks that way.
This was a really insightful read! I’ve definitely heard of the furry community but I’ve never made an effort to learn more, so I think your blog really answers some questions people might have. I’m really curious about how exactly this community has been able to thrive in digital society. You touched on that briefly about how some of the interaction and communication occurs online but I’d be really curious to find out about the history of it before the digital (since my perception of it exists mainly online). Maybe you’d have some insight on that?
If I’m entirely honest, I’m not all that knowledgeable about the history of our community! I’ve been a part of it for a little under two years, and as such I’m most familiar with the state of the community during Covid times. As such, most interactions I have done online. Also, due to furries often getting to know each other via social media, friendships are often made between people in completely different countries, often even completely different continents! I’d say the furry community probably achieved the form it has now indeed because of the digital society that has been created around it.
Very interesting read indeed, I have to admit I was always on the side of the internet where furries were indeed seen as cringe and just as a bit of a confusing community in general. It’s refreshing to read something on the topic, coming from someone who is actually part of the community. I think this is often an issue online, where lots of content is written by people who are not involved in the community, and hence contribute to the misrepresentation of a specific community and their interests. What I noticed on your twitter is that a big part of the furry community appears to be your fursona and the specific aesthetics of it. I could tell different people portray their fursona in different art styles, which changes the vibe the furry gives off. As I said, I don’t know much about the furry community, but would you say a big part of the community is digital art and that this enables/helps the creation of an online persona?
Absolutely it does! The art we get or make of our fursonas and what we have them do, be it a cozy piece of them enjoying a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning, or two fursonas going at it with each other, all helps shape the persona (or well, fursona, hence the name) we strive to be. Many furries use the art they make specifically for the purposes of interacting with others or shaping and fleshing out their characters for other people (as well as themselves!) to enjoy.
hello! interesting read 🙂 i think i have been aware of the furry community for a long time, however, i think that the so-called ‘furry – gamer war’ on titkok a few years back really amplified the hate that the community already previously endured. have you heard/seen/ been a part of it and has it affected you in any way?
This is actually my first time hearing about this! I haven’t been an active member of the community for terribly long, only about two years, so I think this probably flew over my head. So no, I have not been part of or directly affected by it! Though hate against furries is still an everyday occurrence of course, which is something I simply try to move past as best I can.
Really interesting topic! Firstly, thanks for explaining all this to me and the other people who have never heard of the furry community. I can imagine it is pretty hard to clarify exactly what ‘anthropomorphic’ means to an outsider of the community. But I think I sort of get the concept now, even though personally, I probably won’t become a part of the furries. However, this doesn’t mean I am not interested and curious! I read Luka’s comment, and I thought a bit the same thing about the escapism. This applies to many other online communities as well though. One thing that is on my mind are the prejudices that come with such… special (at least to outsiders) communities. I think, the people who don’t understand what being a furry means, often criticize and judge too quickly before they even try to understand what’s behind the whole community. I guess I was one of those people at first, but your post pretty much made me very curious and with your explanations I can see why people join the furries. 🙂
I don’t blame you honestly, misinformation and misrepresentation spread like wildfire in today’s digital age. But that’s exactly why I thought to make this post, as I wanted to introduce people to what the furry community truly is. I personally don’t deal with hatred for being a furry myself, but I know some of my friends absolutely do, and as such I see it as sort of my duty to help people understand and, hopefully, somewhat lessen the spread of misinformation about us.
And as I told Luka as well, I do agree about the escapism as well. Me imagining myself as a blue fox with music powers is definitely a comforting fantasy, and you could definitely argue furry spaces such as chatrooms or conventions heavily benefit from the magic circle effect. That is, at the end of the day, what our community is, an open and welcoming place where people can be whoever and whatever they want to be!
Great post! I think it’s brave that you publicly talk about this, especially since it’s so misunderstood. Although I have no further knowledge about the community, do you think it intrinsically differs from other digital personas people create for themselves online? Although it might be a more closed-off community, I feel like lip-filler trends and the narrow aesthetics of e-girl/e-boyhood, are not very different. What are your thoughts on this?
First of all, thank you for reading!
And I do agree the two seem pretty similar. While I cannot say this with any degree of certainty, I think one difference might be that furries tend to “be” their sonas more than e-girls/e-boys do outside of their platform, if that makes sense. I notice for myself that I act as Laeroba a lot regardless of if it’s on Twitter, with my furry friends, or just by myself. Do keep in mind though, this is just my perspective, I have very little insight on e-girls/-boys, and no two furries are the same.
Very interesting read! Over the past years, I have unfortunately heard a lot of misunderstandings and disrespectful comments from other people about the furry community. Very sadly, these comments’ voices are heard louder than the explanations of people from the community itself. As an outsider, I feel like the biggest issue in people’s perspective on this concept is that it is labeled as zoophilia, which is a highly sensitive topic and misleads to sensitive zones of discussion. I really appreciate your blog post on this, I am very glad to have read the words of an insider! It is super quick for us the platform users to judge and have prejudice towards such subjects and communities. Not about furries, but even I myself can act very biased on social media. It is very sad that people from the community have to explain themselves and the outsiders cannot be as accepting, but I hope that more and more people will be enlightened about the subject!
It’s such an interesting topic! Thanks for sharing it with us! I haven’t really known much about the furry community up until this point. I don’t know if I can say that fully get it now but is definitely much clearer now. And even tho I don’t think I’ll become a part of this community I found this really interesting, and I have to admit I’m really curious about it.