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Even furries are no longer safe from neo-Nazi meddling

Sat 15 Apr 2017 - 14:10
And... another one...
http://www.avclub.com/article/even-furries-are-no-longer-safe-neo-nazi-meddling-253748?utm_content=Main&utm_campaign=SF&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=SocialMarketing



From the A.V. CLUB
Even furries are no longer safe from neo-Nazi meddling
By Alex McLevy @alexm247
Posted yesterday at 12:59 p.m.


Photo: Carston Koall/Stringer/Getty
Photo: Carston Koall/Stringer/Getty

“First they came for the men dressed as giant furry rabbits, and I did nothing.” This is a sentence you may yet see when the future history of the rise of the “alt-right” (read: fascist neo-Nazis) in our contemporary era is written. A recent online conflagration that led to the cancelation of a furry convention in Colorado has shown that even the world of people who enjoy walking around as giant plush animals isn’t safe from incursion by assholes. The Daily Beast reports that Rocky Mountain Fur Con, an annual summit held in Denver for furries, has been shut down due to the activities of a group known as “Furry Raiders,” a name that actually pairs quite well with “Sad Puppies” and other like-minded groups that appear to have a real problem with minorities.

However, Furry Raiders has done its best to distance itself from these reprehensible ideologies. Or at least they’ve tried to make a show of such distancing. It doesn’t help that the group’s leader is named “Foxler” and dresses in a red armband that is identical to a Nazi armband, save for replacing the swastika with a paw print. If you listen to a lengthy YouTube video he posted last month, Foxler (who is quick to assure people it’s a portmanteau of “Fox” and his supposed surname “Miller,” and not a much more obvious play on “Hitler”) does his best to use the language of diversity and inclusion, saying the Furry Raiders welcome all people of all stripes or species, and that personal expression of any kind is very important to them. Unfortunately, it soon becomes apparent that the main kind of free expression Foxler wants to defend is the right to dress like an anthropomorphic Nazi fox. Also, if you’re pleading for respect for diversity in your desire to dress like a Nazi, maybe don’t send an empathetic tweet of that desire to Richard “I’ll always be the white supremacist who got punched in the face” Spencer. It looks bad.

https://twitter.com/starfoxACEFOX/status/823998732601622529/photo/1

Nonetheless, Foxler, who claims to have been ignorant of WWII history and any resemblance to literally one of the most notorious ideologies in world history, says the events that led to Fur Con’s cancelation are a big misunderstanding. It seems the rise of #AltFurry, a hashtag for furries who presumably don’t care much for women or people of color, led to condemnations of the look and ideas behind Furry Raiders, a group with a “very confusing past and a very confusing history,” according to Fur Con chairman Zachary Brooks, who might have a bit of his own confusion about the difference between the past and history. Regardless, in 2016, after it was announced what hotel the convention would be at, Furry Raiders quickly booked a massive block of rooms, preventing others not affiliated with the group from making any reservations. (“I had like a spare 10 extra rooms,” Foxler notes.) It was “seen by many as a malicious act by them to try to control who could and couldn’t attend. So that’s what really began the controversy with them,” Brooks continued.

From there, other furries began to discover overlap between the Fur Con board and Furry Raiders, and when a furry named Deo (who hadn’t even planned to attend Fur Con) made a crack on Twitter about how she “can’t wait to punch these Nazis” (this was right on the heels of Spencer getting clocked for all the world to see) and got the response that someone would “enjoying watching Deo get shot at the convention.” She notified the authorities, the hotel informed Fur Con it would require a security force that would cost more than twenty thousand dollars, and that was pretty much it for the convention. Whether Foxler himself espouses fascist ideology is unknown—Furry Raiders have started making rainbow armbands, among other colors, as a way to show its commitment to diversity—it seems obvious there are some in the #AltFurry community more than happy to wreck other people’s enjoyment of the non-fascist things in life, like being very, very committed to dressing up as cartoonish mammals.

There’s a whole other aspect to the story that involves a member of the Fur Con board being involved with sovereign citizen activities and also a convicted sex offender, which is probably not high on the list of things with which furries want to be associated. Also, other furries discovered Fur Con, which claimed to be run by a nonprofit, had actually had that status revoked back in 2011 for failure to file statements with the IRS. Basically, it’s a whole mess, and a lot of it can be chalked up to a likely small group of guys who start statements with things like, “I’m not a neo-Nazi, but...” This is why we can’t have nice things, or even harmless but slightly unsettling things, depending on your views of the furry community.
Categories: News

Even furries are no longer safe from neo-Nazi meddling

Sat 15 Apr 2017 - 14:10
And... another one...
http://www.avclub.com/article/even-furries-are-no-longer-safe-neo-nazi-meddling-253748?utm_content=Main&utm_campaign=SF&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=SocialMarketing



From the A.V. CLUB
Even furries are no longer safe from neo-Nazi meddling
By Alex McLevy @alexm247
Posted yesterday at 12:59 p.m.


Photo: Carston Koall/Stringer/Getty
Photo: Carston Koall/Stringer/Getty

“First they came for the men dressed as giant furry rabbits, and I did nothing.” This is a sentence you may yet see when the future history of the rise of the “alt-right” (read: fascist neo-Nazis) in our contemporary era is written. A recent online conflagration that led to the cancelation of a furry convention in Colorado has shown that even the world of people who enjoy walking around as giant plush animals isn’t safe from incursion by assholes. The Daily Beast reports that Rocky Mountain Fur Con, an annual summit held in Denver for furries, has been shut down due to the activities of a group known as “Furry Raiders,” a name that actually pairs quite well with “Sad Puppies” and other like-minded groups that appear to have a real problem with minorities.

However, Furry Raiders has done its best to distance itself from these reprehensible ideologies. Or at least they’ve tried to make a show of such distancing. It doesn’t help that the group’s leader is named “Foxler” and dresses in a red armband that is identical to a Nazi armband, save for replacing the swastika with a paw print. If you listen to a lengthy YouTube video he posted last month, Foxler (who is quick to assure people it’s a portmanteau of “Fox” and his supposed surname “Miller,” and not a much more obvious play on “Hitler”) does his best to use the language of diversity and inclusion, saying the Furry Raiders welcome all people of all stripes or species, and that personal expression of any kind is very important to them. Unfortunately, it soon becomes apparent that the main kind of free expression Foxler wants to defend is the right to dress like an anthropomorphic Nazi fox. Also, if you’re pleading for respect for diversity in your desire to dress like a Nazi, maybe don’t send an empathetic tweet of that desire to Richard “I’ll always be the white supremacist who got punched in the face” Spencer. It looks bad.

https://twitter.com/starfoxACEFOX/status/823998732601622529/photo/1

Nonetheless, Foxler, who claims to have been ignorant of WWII history and any resemblance to literally one of the most notorious ideologies in world history, says the events that led to Fur Con’s cancelation are a big misunderstanding. It seems the rise of #AltFurry, a hashtag for furries who presumably don’t care much for women or people of color, led to condemnations of the look and ideas behind Furry Raiders, a group with a “very confusing past and a very confusing history,” according to Fur Con chairman Zachary Brooks, who might have a bit of his own confusion about the difference between the past and history. Regardless, in 2016, after it was announced what hotel the convention would be at, Furry Raiders quickly booked a massive block of rooms, preventing others not affiliated with the group from making any reservations. (“I had like a spare 10 extra rooms,” Foxler notes.) It was “seen by many as a malicious act by them to try to control who could and couldn’t attend. So that’s what really began the controversy with them,” Brooks continued.

From there, other furries began to discover overlap between the Fur Con board and Furry Raiders, and when a furry named Deo (who hadn’t even planned to attend Fur Con) made a crack on Twitter about how she “can’t wait to punch these Nazis” (this was right on the heels of Spencer getting clocked for all the world to see) and got the response that someone would “enjoying watching Deo get shot at the convention.” She notified the authorities, the hotel informed Fur Con it would require a security force that would cost more than twenty thousand dollars, and that was pretty much it for the convention. Whether Foxler himself espouses fascist ideology is unknown—Furry Raiders have started making rainbow armbands, among other colors, as a way to show its commitment to diversity—it seems obvious there are some in the #AltFurry community more than happy to wreck other people’s enjoyment of the non-fascist things in life, like being very, very committed to dressing up as cartoonish mammals.

There’s a whole other aspect to the story that involves a member of the Fur Con board being involved with sovereign citizen activities and also a convicted sex offender, which is probably not high on the list of things with which furries want to be associated. Also, other furries discovered Fur Con, which claimed to be run by a nonprofit, had actually had that status revoked back in 2011 for failure to file statements with the IRS. Basically, it’s a whole mess, and a lot of it can be chalked up to a likely small group of guys who start statements with things like, “I’m not a neo-Nazi, but...” This is why we can’t have nice things, or even harmless but slightly unsettling things, depending on your views of the furry community.
Categories: News

Does the Furry Community Have a Nazi Problem?

Sat 15 Apr 2017 - 13:22
Yep...even the Rolling Stone mag has it...

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/does-the-furry-community-have-a-nazi-problem-w476466


The Rocky Mountain Fur Con has been hosting huge annual conventions for a decade – but will infighting mean the end? Furry Raiders

Rocky Mountain Fur Con 2017 – a convention for enthusiasts who wear animal costumes ingrained with human characteristics for roleplaying – has been canceled. On Monday, the RMFC board of directors organizing the 10th annual event, set to be held in Denver next August, posted a statement that a "movement has grown into a community that promotes violence" which resulted in a "sudden and drastic increase in security costs" exceeding a third of the event's operating budget.
Related
'Radically Mainstream': Why the Alt-Right Is Celebrating Trump's Win

"We've been legitimized by this election," says movement leader Richard Spencer

The announcement came after the founder of the Furry Raiders, an outlier group within the anthropomorphic subculture, adopted an armband which featured a black paw on a red background that some thought had a striking resemblance to a part of the Nazi uniform. Convention chairman Zachary Brooks did not directly name the Furry Raiders in his account, but convention staff identified the Furry Raiders as being at the center of the controversy after being labeled a neo-Nazi group throughout the community, which largely exists online.

Lee Miller, the 29-year-old Fort Collins furry who wears the armband as his Foxler Nightfire fursona, has in turn been accused of being a neo-Nazi. He denies any connection between his armband and that of the Third Reich. Online forums have characterized the Furry Raiders as a "neo-nazi cult-like group" recruiting members with "gifts, grooming and manipulation," according to Dogpatch Press, a blog covering the furry community. But Miller does not agree with such descriptions. "We have a strong stance about keeping equal rights and personal creativity within the fandom," says Miller, who adds that he has never been banned from a convention contrary to other furry beliefs.

On January 26th, a furry identifying as a Tasmanian Devil named Deo tweeted, "Can't wait to punch Nazis," which led another furry with a now-deleted Twitter handle of @Oliviameles to comment, "Watching you get shot by someone defending themselves from unprovoked assault will be far more entertaining."

The Denver Police eventually investigated the comments and found the threats credible enough that convention host Marriott Tech Center demanded $22,000 to hire off-duty officers for security, according to Flayrah, an online news magazine for furry fandom. "People overreacted," Brooks told the Denver Post. "As it got more and more heated, people started talking about beating up people wearing the symbol. They said, 'We've got a right to protect ourselves and we are going to bring weapons.'"

The RMFC board puts on one of the top-10 attended conventions in the United States, and expected over 2,000 furries to attend this summer, according to David Gonzalez, director of marketing at RMFC in Colorado. Their parent company, Mid-American Anthropomorphic and Arts Corporation (MAAAC), is now focused on issuing refunds for the cancelled convention. "The board of MAAAC has not voted to dissolve the corporation, but the continuation of RMFC beyond 2017 does not look very likely," says Gonzalez. Turns out the in-fighting has been an ongoing situation for at least the past year and a half. "The casual threats they were tossing at one another were the final straw," says Gonzalez. "It may be the end for RMFC, but the online threats of violence will crop up again for other conventions." To shed light on the recent cancellation, Rolling Stone interviewed furries to find out what's happening in their community.

Rocky Mountain Fur Con was created for all persuasions
In 2007, the MAAAC hosted the first RMFC convention for the growing number of furries seeking acceptance in Colorado. The social events have since attracted furries mostly of Millennial age to mingle, dance, listen to guest speakers and attend literary events, as well as hosting informational panels. "It's just like any fan-base conference," says Gonzalez. Furry comedian 2 Gryphon often makes appearances and artists sell paintings of their part-animal, part-human avatars. Last year, the RMFC welcomed about 1,670 furries, 65 vendors and 35 artists.


The Furry Raiders group was started on the website Second Life, and now has roughly 1,000 members. Furry Raiders

The Furry Raiders say they have no political agenda
The year of the RMFC debut, a small group of furries started the "Furry Raiders project" formed in the online virtual world Second Life, with no goals other than to "help furries purchase items in the game," says Miller, the founder. The group grew to 1,000 members over three years and he backed out because he could not afford to give furries real money to buy hairstyles for their characters or gardens and castles for their in-game properties. But in 2014, Miller resurrected the Furry Raiders after seeing media accounts describing their community not as a creative safe zone but as a world for kinky fetishists.

"Our goal became to continue the furry fandom in the way it was founded, where everyone has the chance to express themselves and have the creativity they desired," says Miller, who joined the community as a 12-year-old loner struggling with the death of his father. But after a while, he realized some furries were not as accepting as he thought. "People were governing the image of what furry fandom should be," says Miller, referring to furries who told him to remove his armband. "We realized we can't pick and choose what people do. There are furries that are into bestiality. Others draw younger characters and it gives them a creative outlet in a safe manner. If they continue to stay in a creative community like this they won't harm people or animals. We can't just say we hate you."

Despite Miller's comments, furries like Crummles Upton believe that the Furry Raiders are "notorious for breaking rules under the guise of free speech." In an interview conducted with Rolling Stone via Twitter, the furry mentions examples of how group members troll furries online and spread hate speech at conventions. "The Raiders have an M.O. of publicly saying stuff along the lines of wanting inclusiveness and just getting along with people, but in person or in DMs they act contrary to that," according to Upton.

Foxer Nightfire's arm band is a furry symbol, he says, not a nod to neo-Nazism
Miller discovered the infamous armband in 2007 as a free item in Second Life. The Furry Raiders then spent over $700 to physically make 100 armbands that varied in color. "The red armband became part of my persona, but people started telling me I had to change and I wouldn't do that," says Miller. Five years ago, furries began calling him a neo-Nazi because they felt there were similarities between his armband and those of the Nazis, as well as a resemblance to armbands worn by the "Furzis" on Second Life, a contentious group of furries interested in German history and World War II. Miller, who describes himself as a high school dropout "knowledgeable in computers but uneducated in history and politics," reached out to actual actual neo-Nazis via online forums. "I told them I was a furry and they said, 'What the fuck is this shit?'" says Miller. "They found out 60 percent of furries are gay males and told me, 'Get the fuck out of here.'"

Last year, Miller wore an armband to the RMFC. "It grew into a big problem," says Miller. After the election last November, a group calling themselves Anti-Fascist Furries organized and tried to get Nazi Furs banned from such conventions, and also encouraged furries to "boycott events that didn’t ban the Furry Raiders from attending," according to Vice.


Last Year's RMFC 2016 might have been the last Rocky Mountain Fur Convention, according to an organizer. Furry Raiders

In January, the RMFC board issued a statement announcing that in light of the controversy, they would ban all clothing and accessories showing "offensive messages or symbols." The RMFC board struggled to weigh the balance between total acceptance and having to get a handle on furry in-fighting. "It's kind of difficult for any kind of convention to police anybody's outside behavior," says Gonzalez. "Ostensibly, we would have a lot of people banned." That same month, Miller tweeted a photo as Foxer Nightfire wearing an armband with the hashtag #altfurry. He believes some furries have abandoned their original message of acceptance. "People have given us a lot of shit for the arm band that I wear," says Miller. "If you want to accept everyone else, I should be welcomed, too."

So, is Miller a neo-Nazi? "I don't know politics," says Miller, who notes that he voted for Foxer Nightlife in last year's presidential election. "I'm not in a position to make any decision on Nazis, Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians. I stick with the furry concept. Some ideas in America need to be protected." Furzis, Nazi Furs and Soviet Furs have asked him about the armband, and he believes they are questioning him because they are "non-political, history buffs, nothing more."

"I do not see my armband as National Socialism," says Miller, who makes a point to say that he has German and Thai lineage and is now dating a man who identifies as African-and Asian-American. "I see the armband as a symbol of furriness. It's not a tool or device to promote Nazism. It's a roleplaying tool. Anything in the furry community is just created out of fantasy and taking it seriously is just asinine. Given my background, Hitler would be rolling in his grave."

A MAAAC board member sent a cease and desist letter to a furry
In January, Deo reached out to the RMFC board via Twitter and sent an email to their security team to report the threats, she tells Rolling Stone through Twitter. There was no response until April 3rd when she received a letter from Kendal Emery aka Kahuki, a board member of MAAAC and RMFC, who personally sent a cease and desist letter to Deo's house. Emery, who stepped down as RMFC chair after a 1993 felony conviction for Criminal Sexual Contact with a Minor was revealed in 2008, wrote that Deo's "false statements" caused "substantial commercial injury damage" and mentioned the possibility of a class-action lawsuit. He ended the letter with a red ink thumbprint, according to Deo. The FBI views such seals and content as representative of the Sovereign Citizens Movement, a lethal subculture whose followers "hold truly bizarre, complex antigovernment beliefs" that are "rooted in racism and anti-Semitism," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, he denied any association with that group, noting that the fingerprint "just means it's me that wrote it."

After receiving the letter, Deo contacted police in her home state, along with a Colorado lawyer. "I do not take lightly to convicted felons mailing me threatening things," says Deo. On April 10th, she went public with the letter to "warn my furry community of these unstable individuals." Later that day, Brooks announced that the RMFC was cancelled. Deo maintains that her tweeting about punching Nazis was a "joke I said to my friend" referring to a meme of Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer.

The RMFC board became aware of Emery's letter after it was made public. "We're not pursuing it," says Gonzalez, speaking as a member of the organizing committee for RMFC. "We deeply regret it was ever sent and contacted the recipient." (Emery told the Daily Beast that he had the full approval of the board to send the letter.) Today, the furry community is heartbroken, angry and confused. "We try to be as inclusive as possible," says Gonzalez. "But furries have become far more politically polarized and there's a greater willingness to call someone out publicly and try to force them to act. That's what happened here. It's fair to say that we're not prepared for that."

Miller, who remains perhaps one of the most polarizing of figures in the furry community, claims that he has been "trolled, slandered, harassed and threatened" over the past year. From his computer, Miller watches the online bickering and he is filled with shame to see the MAAAC and RMFC crumble. "For me, being a furry is a personal outlet to understand the real world," says Miller. "Others find it fun. Others find it spiritual. And others go for sexual purposes. People take on completely different characteristics and sometimes I can't even tell who's in the suit. I'm the same person in and out of the suit."
Categories: News

Does the Furry Community Have a Nazi Problem?

Sat 15 Apr 2017 - 13:22
Yep...even the Rolling Stone mag has it...

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/does-the-furry-community-have-a-nazi-problem-w476466


The Rocky Mountain Fur Con has been hosting huge annual conventions for a decade – but will infighting mean the end? Furry Raiders

Rocky Mountain Fur Con 2017 – a convention for enthusiasts who wear animal costumes ingrained with human characteristics for roleplaying – has been canceled. On Monday, the RMFC board of directors organizing the 10th annual event, set to be held in Denver next August, posted a statement that a "movement has grown into a community that promotes violence" which resulted in a "sudden and drastic increase in security costs" exceeding a third of the event's operating budget.
Related
'Radically Mainstream': Why the Alt-Right Is Celebrating Trump's Win

"We've been legitimized by this election," says movement leader Richard Spencer

The announcement came after the founder of the Furry Raiders, an outlier group within the anthropomorphic subculture, adopted an armband which featured a black paw on a red background that some thought had a striking resemblance to a part of the Nazi uniform. Convention chairman Zachary Brooks did not directly name the Furry Raiders in his account, but convention staff identified the Furry Raiders as being at the center of the controversy after being labeled a neo-Nazi group throughout the community, which largely exists online.

Lee Miller, the 29-year-old Fort Collins furry who wears the armband as his Foxler Nightfire fursona, has in turn been accused of being a neo-Nazi. He denies any connection between his armband and that of the Third Reich. Online forums have characterized the Furry Raiders as a "neo-nazi cult-like group" recruiting members with "gifts, grooming and manipulation," according to Dogpatch Press, a blog covering the furry community. But Miller does not agree with such descriptions. "We have a strong stance about keeping equal rights and personal creativity within the fandom," says Miller, who adds that he has never been banned from a convention contrary to other furry beliefs.

On January 26th, a furry identifying as a Tasmanian Devil named Deo tweeted, "Can't wait to punch Nazis," which led another furry with a now-deleted Twitter handle of @Oliviameles to comment, "Watching you get shot by someone defending themselves from unprovoked assault will be far more entertaining."

The Denver Police eventually investigated the comments and found the threats credible enough that convention host Marriott Tech Center demanded $22,000 to hire off-duty officers for security, according to Flayrah, an online news magazine for furry fandom. "People overreacted," Brooks told the Denver Post. "As it got more and more heated, people started talking about beating up people wearing the symbol. They said, 'We've got a right to protect ourselves and we are going to bring weapons.'"

The RMFC board puts on one of the top-10 attended conventions in the United States, and expected over 2,000 furries to attend this summer, according to David Gonzalez, director of marketing at RMFC in Colorado. Their parent company, Mid-American Anthropomorphic and Arts Corporation (MAAAC), is now focused on issuing refunds for the cancelled convention. "The board of MAAAC has not voted to dissolve the corporation, but the continuation of RMFC beyond 2017 does not look very likely," says Gonzalez. Turns out the in-fighting has been an ongoing situation for at least the past year and a half. "The casual threats they were tossing at one another were the final straw," says Gonzalez. "It may be the end for RMFC, but the online threats of violence will crop up again for other conventions." To shed light on the recent cancellation, Rolling Stone interviewed furries to find out what's happening in their community.

Rocky Mountain Fur Con was created for all persuasions
In 2007, the MAAAC hosted the first RMFC convention for the growing number of furries seeking acceptance in Colorado. The social events have since attracted furries mostly of Millennial age to mingle, dance, listen to guest speakers and attend literary events, as well as hosting informational panels. "It's just like any fan-base conference," says Gonzalez. Furry comedian 2 Gryphon often makes appearances and artists sell paintings of their part-animal, part-human avatars. Last year, the RMFC welcomed about 1,670 furries, 65 vendors and 35 artists.


The Furry Raiders group was started on the website Second Life, and now has roughly 1,000 members. Furry Raiders

The Furry Raiders say they have no political agenda
The year of the RMFC debut, a small group of furries started the "Furry Raiders project" formed in the online virtual world Second Life, with no goals other than to "help furries purchase items in the game," says Miller, the founder. The group grew to 1,000 members over three years and he backed out because he could not afford to give furries real money to buy hairstyles for their characters or gardens and castles for their in-game properties. But in 2014, Miller resurrected the Furry Raiders after seeing media accounts describing their community not as a creative safe zone but as a world for kinky fetishists.

"Our goal became to continue the furry fandom in the way it was founded, where everyone has the chance to express themselves and have the creativity they desired," says Miller, who joined the community as a 12-year-old loner struggling with the death of his father. But after a while, he realized some furries were not as accepting as he thought. "People were governing the image of what furry fandom should be," says Miller, referring to furries who told him to remove his armband. "We realized we can't pick and choose what people do. There are furries that are into bestiality. Others draw younger characters and it gives them a creative outlet in a safe manner. If they continue to stay in a creative community like this they won't harm people or animals. We can't just say we hate you."

Despite Miller's comments, furries like Crummles Upton believe that the Furry Raiders are "notorious for breaking rules under the guise of free speech." In an interview conducted with Rolling Stone via Twitter, the furry mentions examples of how group members troll furries online and spread hate speech at conventions. "The Raiders have an M.O. of publicly saying stuff along the lines of wanting inclusiveness and just getting along with people, but in person or in DMs they act contrary to that," according to Upton.

Foxer Nightfire's arm band is a furry symbol, he says, not a nod to neo-Nazism
Miller discovered the infamous armband in 2007 as a free item in Second Life. The Furry Raiders then spent over $700 to physically make 100 armbands that varied in color. "The red armband became part of my persona, but people started telling me I had to change and I wouldn't do that," says Miller. Five years ago, furries began calling him a neo-Nazi because they felt there were similarities between his armband and those of the Nazis, as well as a resemblance to armbands worn by the "Furzis" on Second Life, a contentious group of furries interested in German history and World War II. Miller, who describes himself as a high school dropout "knowledgeable in computers but uneducated in history and politics," reached out to actual actual neo-Nazis via online forums. "I told them I was a furry and they said, 'What the fuck is this shit?'" says Miller. "They found out 60 percent of furries are gay males and told me, 'Get the fuck out of here.'"

Last year, Miller wore an armband to the RMFC. "It grew into a big problem," says Miller. After the election last November, a group calling themselves Anti-Fascist Furries organized and tried to get Nazi Furs banned from such conventions, and also encouraged furries to "boycott events that didn’t ban the Furry Raiders from attending," according to Vice.


Last Year's RMFC 2016 might have been the last Rocky Mountain Fur Convention, according to an organizer. Furry Raiders

In January, the RMFC board issued a statement announcing that in light of the controversy, they would ban all clothing and accessories showing "offensive messages or symbols." The RMFC board struggled to weigh the balance between total acceptance and having to get a handle on furry in-fighting. "It's kind of difficult for any kind of convention to police anybody's outside behavior," says Gonzalez. "Ostensibly, we would have a lot of people banned." That same month, Miller tweeted a photo as Foxer Nightfire wearing an armband with the hashtag #altfurry. He believes some furries have abandoned their original message of acceptance. "People have given us a lot of shit for the arm band that I wear," says Miller. "If you want to accept everyone else, I should be welcomed, too."

So, is Miller a neo-Nazi? "I don't know politics," says Miller, who notes that he voted for Foxer Nightlife in last year's presidential election. "I'm not in a position to make any decision on Nazis, Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians. I stick with the furry concept. Some ideas in America need to be protected." Furzis, Nazi Furs and Soviet Furs have asked him about the armband, and he believes they are questioning him because they are "non-political, history buffs, nothing more."

"I do not see my armband as National Socialism," says Miller, who makes a point to say that he has German and Thai lineage and is now dating a man who identifies as African-and Asian-American. "I see the armband as a symbol of furriness. It's not a tool or device to promote Nazism. It's a roleplaying tool. Anything in the furry community is just created out of fantasy and taking it seriously is just asinine. Given my background, Hitler would be rolling in his grave."

A MAAAC board member sent a cease and desist letter to a furry
In January, Deo reached out to the RMFC board via Twitter and sent an email to their security team to report the threats, she tells Rolling Stone through Twitter. There was no response until April 3rd when she received a letter from Kendal Emery aka Kahuki, a board member of MAAAC and RMFC, who personally sent a cease and desist letter to Deo's house. Emery, who stepped down as RMFC chair after a 1993 felony conviction for Criminal Sexual Contact with a Minor was revealed in 2008, wrote that Deo's "false statements" caused "substantial commercial injury damage" and mentioned the possibility of a class-action lawsuit. He ended the letter with a red ink thumbprint, according to Deo. The FBI views such seals and content as representative of the Sovereign Citizens Movement, a lethal subculture whose followers "hold truly bizarre, complex antigovernment beliefs" that are "rooted in racism and anti-Semitism," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, he denied any association with that group, noting that the fingerprint "just means it's me that wrote it."

After receiving the letter, Deo contacted police in her home state, along with a Colorado lawyer. "I do not take lightly to convicted felons mailing me threatening things," says Deo. On April 10th, she went public with the letter to "warn my furry community of these unstable individuals." Later that day, Brooks announced that the RMFC was cancelled. Deo maintains that her tweeting about punching Nazis was a "joke I said to my friend" referring to a meme of Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer.

The RMFC board became aware of Emery's letter after it was made public. "We're not pursuing it," says Gonzalez, speaking as a member of the organizing committee for RMFC. "We deeply regret it was ever sent and contacted the recipient." (Emery told the Daily Beast that he had the full approval of the board to send the letter.) Today, the furry community is heartbroken, angry and confused. "We try to be as inclusive as possible," says Gonzalez. "But furries have become far more politically polarized and there's a greater willingness to call someone out publicly and try to force them to act. That's what happened here. It's fair to say that we're not prepared for that."

Miller, who remains perhaps one of the most polarizing of figures in the furry community, claims that he has been "trolled, slandered, harassed and threatened" over the past year. From his computer, Miller watches the online bickering and he is filled with shame to see the MAAAC and RMFC crumble. "For me, being a furry is a personal outlet to understand the real world," says Miller. "Others find it fun. Others find it spiritual. And others go for sexual purposes. People take on completely different characteristics and sometimes I can't even tell who's in the suit. I'm the same person in and out of the suit."
Categories: News

The Bizarre Fall of Rocky Mountain Fur Con

Fri 14 Apr 2017 - 15:47
I find this very disturbing. Please read the original:

http://www.nerdandtie.com/2017/04/12/the-bizarre-fall-of-rocky-mountain-fur-con/



April 12, 2017 Trae Dorn

When most conventions end their run, it’s usually for pretty simple reasons. Either the con has run out of money, the organizers’ personal lives have gotten in the way, there isn’t enough staff to keep going, or they have unsolvable venue issues. For good or bad, it’s usually straightforward.

Well, this time it’s not.

Earlier this week, Rocky Mountain Fur Con (originally scheduled for this August) was officially cancelled. The con ended its decade long run in a bizarre set of circumstances involving a faction of Nazi Furries, the Sovereign Citizen movement, and a staff member on the sex offender registry.

Strap in. It’s going to be quite the ride.

Problems in Rocky Mountain Fur Con’s management aren’t anything new. Kendal Ray Emery stepped down as Convention Chair in 2008 after it became publicly known that he was a registered sex offender. We don’t know a lot of details about Emery’s offense, though searching the Colorado Sex Offender Registry tells us that he was convicted of sexual contact with a minor in 1993.

He was thirty at the time of the incident.

While Emery hasn’t re-offended or been accused of anything in the decades since, it wasn’t exactly good PR for a Furry convention trying to promote a safe image to have a registered sex offender in charge. Emery would also later sign over ownership of Mid America Anthropomorphic and Art Corporation (which operates Rocky Mountain Fur Con) to Zachary “Sorin” Brooks in 2011. This was most likely due to the same pressures that caused him to step down as chair.


Kendal Ray Emery’s Photo From the Colorado Sex Offender Registry
Furry news website Flayrah also discovered that in 2011 MAAAC and Rocky Mountain Fur Con had lost their non-profit and tax exempt status, even though the event continued to advertise themselves as such on their about page and official Twitter account’s bio. The Flayrah article also alleges that organizers have not paid the necessary taxes since this happened, though when talking to the Denver Post Brooks denied this. Brooks stated that while the con did lose their 501(c)(3) status in 2011, the organization had started properly filing taxes after that occurred.

Regardless of whether or not MAAAC is compliant with what the IRS requires, claiming to be a 501(c)(3) when you’re not is fairly sketchy.

The amazing thing is, all of this is just a small factor in the failure of Rocky Mountain Fur Con. The larger issue (and what’s referred to in the statements actually released by the convention) have to do with backlash associated with a group called the “Furry Raiders.” For those of you outside of furry fandom, the “Furry Raiders” are a Colorado based group of furries founded by “Foxler Nightfire” who are, effectively, Nazis.

Yes, there are Nazi furries out there, and no it doesn’t make a damn lick of sense to me either.
Foxler


Now, in all fairness, if you asked the Furry Raiders if they were Nazis, they’d say no. I mean, sure — they wear arm bands based around the design of the Nazi party, replacing the swastika with a paw. And yes, their Fur Affinity page used to list their birthday as Adolph Hitler’s. And yes, the Nazi imagery is just plain everywhere with their stuff. And yes, their founder has said some pretty racist things. And yes, Foxler has… oh god, I could go on for hours.

So yeah, they say they’re not Nazis, but they’re totally Nazis.

The group doesn’t always get the warmest reception at events (due to the whole pseudo-Nazi paraphernalia thing), but one place they’ve found a home at is Rocky Mountain Fur Con. This doesn’t always sit well with the rest of the community needless to say. As the Dog Patch reports, one furry who wasn’t too fond of them goes by the name Deo. Deo made a joke on Twitter about punching Nazis (regarding the Furry Raiders), and that’s when the following exchange happened:


We had to include that as a screenshot since some of the tweets have been deleted. If you’re wondering why a random Twitter conversation is important, it’s because this (at least as far was we can tell) is the main reason the convention was cancelled.

If your brain has started hurting, I’m sorry.

Deo reported the incident to Rocky Mountain Fur Con. I mean, this “Olivia” person had said it would be entertaining to see Deo get shot and talked about bringing a gun to the con. The convention eventually responded, but not in a way Deo expected. You see, Deo received a very bizarre “cease and desist” letter in the mail:

The letter, signed by Emery (who bizarrely identifies himself as “Chief Executive Contract Law Officer”) is full of legal sounding yet completely nonsensical text. They accuse Deo of “encouraging” the person who said it would be nice to see her get shot (which is a special kind of irony), and say that Deo has made “threats of violence against a class of people through a wire service across national boarders.”

I mean, besides the fact that Nazis aren’t a “class of people,” Deo (at least according to Dogpatch Press) is located in the United States. The word Emery was looking for is “borders” too (assuming he isn’t talking about people making threats over folks just trying to rent a room), and it’s kind of my favorite sentence of all time. He ends the letter saying that if there are any objections, Deo must respond to the letter or else she’s agreeing to its contents — which isn’t how cease and desist letters work even remotely.

You’ll also notice that Emery signed the letter in red with a red fingerprint. This is indicative of a whole other bit of weirdness – the Sovereign Citizen movement. Sovereign Citizens believe that they are not subject to the government or laws of the United States, and the FBI considers them a growing domestic threat. One of the more harmless things they’re known to do is insist on signing in red ink instead of blue or black (as they think red represents the blood of the people) and insist that a red fingerprint is the highest form of ID. If you don’t know how insane this stuff can get, here’s a hilarious example.

As Sovereign Citizens believe the States are meant to be separate nations, this may explain the bizarre “national boarders [sic]” line in the letter. As it’s also not uncommon for them to ignore tax law, it adds an interesting context to Flayrah’s allegations and Brooks’s subsequent denial. One of the favorite weapons of Sovereign Citizens is to try and send fake documents and make frivolous legal filings against those they believe to be their enemies.

Which Emery clearly sees Deo as here.

So, while taking the side of a bunch of Furry Nazis, the con decided that the only way they could keep operating was to increase security. You know, to stop the person who joked about punching people and not, say, the person who talked about people getting shot and implied they might bring a gun to the con. This cost must have been too much, because they then announced they were cancelling the con over these concerns.

I’ve embedded the official message from the con above, and you should click through and read the whole thing. Honestly, the irony is amazingly thick – as the “hate and intolerance” they refer to is hatred of Nazis. I mean, the con is saying that it’s wrong to hate a literal hate group. I cannot even begin to fathom the cognitive dissonance of this statement. The con has said they will refund as many people as they can, but that they may not have the money to do so.

I honestly wouldn’t hold my breath if you’re expecting your money back.

In the end, the con’s actual cancellation makes very little sense. Any real “security” threats really seem like they’d come from the people the con is actually defending, and I can’t see the financials suddenly going in the red because of it. Something else is happening here, but I’m not exactly sure what it is.

If I ever find out, I’m sure it will be depressingly hilarious.

Via Dogpatch Press, Flayrah, Denver Post, Reddit
Categories: News

The Bizarre Fall of Rocky Mountain Fur Con

Fri 14 Apr 2017 - 15:47
I find this very disturbing. Please read the original:

http://www.nerdandtie.com/2017/04/12/the-bizarre-fall-of-rocky-mountain-fur-con/



April 12, 2017 Trae Dorn

When most conventions end their run, it’s usually for pretty simple reasons. Either the con has run out of money, the organizers’ personal lives have gotten in the way, there isn’t enough staff to keep going, or they have unsolvable venue issues. For good or bad, it’s usually straightforward.

Well, this time it’s not.

Earlier this week, Rocky Mountain Fur Con (originally scheduled for this August) was officially cancelled. The con ended its decade long run in a bizarre set of circumstances involving a faction of Nazi Furries, the Sovereign Citizen movement, and a staff member on the sex offender registry.

Strap in. It’s going to be quite the ride.

Problems in Rocky Mountain Fur Con’s management aren’t anything new. Kendal Ray Emery stepped down as Convention Chair in 2008 after it became publicly known that he was a registered sex offender. We don’t know a lot of details about Emery’s offense, though searching the Colorado Sex Offender Registry tells us that he was convicted of sexual contact with a minor in 1993.

He was thirty at the time of the incident.

While Emery hasn’t re-offended or been accused of anything in the decades since, it wasn’t exactly good PR for a Furry convention trying to promote a safe image to have a registered sex offender in charge. Emery would also later sign over ownership of Mid America Anthropomorphic and Art Corporation (which operates Rocky Mountain Fur Con) to Zachary “Sorin” Brooks in 2011. This was most likely due to the same pressures that caused him to step down as chair.


Kendal Ray Emery’s Photo From the Colorado Sex Offender Registry
Furry news website Flayrah also discovered that in 2011 MAAAC and Rocky Mountain Fur Con had lost their non-profit and tax exempt status, even though the event continued to advertise themselves as such on their about page and official Twitter account’s bio. The Flayrah article also alleges that organizers have not paid the necessary taxes since this happened, though when talking to the Denver Post Brooks denied this. Brooks stated that while the con did lose their 501(c)(3) status in 2011, the organization had started properly filing taxes after that occurred.

Regardless of whether or not MAAAC is compliant with what the IRS requires, claiming to be a 501(c)(3) when you’re not is fairly sketchy.

The amazing thing is, all of this is just a small factor in the failure of Rocky Mountain Fur Con. The larger issue (and what’s referred to in the statements actually released by the convention) have to do with backlash associated with a group called the “Furry Raiders.” For those of you outside of furry fandom, the “Furry Raiders” are a Colorado based group of furries founded by “Foxler Nightfire” who are, effectively, Nazis.

Yes, there are Nazi furries out there, and no it doesn’t make a damn lick of sense to me either.
Foxler


Now, in all fairness, if you asked the Furry Raiders if they were Nazis, they’d say no. I mean, sure — they wear arm bands based around the design of the Nazi party, replacing the swastika with a paw. And yes, their Fur Affinity page used to list their birthday as Adolph Hitler’s. And yes, the Nazi imagery is just plain everywhere with their stuff. And yes, their founder has said some pretty racist things. And yes, Foxler has… oh god, I could go on for hours.

So yeah, they say they’re not Nazis, but they’re totally Nazis.

The group doesn’t always get the warmest reception at events (due to the whole pseudo-Nazi paraphernalia thing), but one place they’ve found a home at is Rocky Mountain Fur Con. This doesn’t always sit well with the rest of the community needless to say. As the Dog Patch reports, one furry who wasn’t too fond of them goes by the name Deo. Deo made a joke on Twitter about punching Nazis (regarding the Furry Raiders), and that’s when the following exchange happened:


We had to include that as a screenshot since some of the tweets have been deleted. If you’re wondering why a random Twitter conversation is important, it’s because this (at least as far was we can tell) is the main reason the convention was cancelled.

If your brain has started hurting, I’m sorry.

Deo reported the incident to Rocky Mountain Fur Con. I mean, this “Olivia” person had said it would be entertaining to see Deo get shot and talked about bringing a gun to the con. The convention eventually responded, but not in a way Deo expected. You see, Deo received a very bizarre “cease and desist” letter in the mail:

The letter, signed by Emery (who bizarrely identifies himself as “Chief Executive Contract Law Officer”) is full of legal sounding yet completely nonsensical text. They accuse Deo of “encouraging” the person who said it would be nice to see her get shot (which is a special kind of irony), and say that Deo has made “threats of violence against a class of people through a wire service across national boarders.”

I mean, besides the fact that Nazis aren’t a “class of people,” Deo (at least according to Dogpatch Press) is located in the United States. The word Emery was looking for is “borders” too (assuming he isn’t talking about people making threats over folks just trying to rent a room), and it’s kind of my favorite sentence of all time. He ends the letter saying that if there are any objections, Deo must respond to the letter or else she’s agreeing to its contents — which isn’t how cease and desist letters work even remotely.

You’ll also notice that Emery signed the letter in red with a red fingerprint. This is indicative of a whole other bit of weirdness – the Sovereign Citizen movement. Sovereign Citizens believe that they are not subject to the government or laws of the United States, and the FBI considers them a growing domestic threat. One of the more harmless things they’re known to do is insist on signing in red ink instead of blue or black (as they think red represents the blood of the people) and insist that a red fingerprint is the highest form of ID. If you don’t know how insane this stuff can get, here’s a hilarious example.

As Sovereign Citizens believe the States are meant to be separate nations, this may explain the bizarre “national boarders [sic]” line in the letter. As it’s also not uncommon for them to ignore tax law, it adds an interesting context to Flayrah’s allegations and Brooks’s subsequent denial. One of the favorite weapons of Sovereign Citizens is to try and send fake documents and make frivolous legal filings against those they believe to be their enemies.

Which Emery clearly sees Deo as here.

So, while taking the side of a bunch of Furry Nazis, the con decided that the only way they could keep operating was to increase security. You know, to stop the person who joked about punching people and not, say, the person who talked about people getting shot and implied they might bring a gun to the con. This cost must have been too much, because they then announced they were cancelling the con over these concerns.

I’ve embedded the official message from the con above, and you should click through and read the whole thing. Honestly, the irony is amazingly thick – as the “hate and intolerance” they refer to is hatred of Nazis. I mean, the con is saying that it’s wrong to hate a literal hate group. I cannot even begin to fathom the cognitive dissonance of this statement. The con has said they will refund as many people as they can, but that they may not have the money to do so.

I honestly wouldn’t hold my breath if you’re expecting your money back.

In the end, the con’s actual cancellation makes very little sense. Any real “security” threats really seem like they’d come from the people the con is actually defending, and I can’t see the financials suddenly going in the red because of it. Something else is happening here, but I’m not exactly sure what it is.

If I ever find out, I’m sure it will be depressingly hilarious.

Via Dogpatch Press, Flayrah, Denver Post, Reddit
Categories: News

Unsuspecting Woman Brings Therapy Dog to Local Furry Convention

Fri 14 Apr 2017 - 15:38
http://nymag.com/selectall/2017/04/woman-brings-therapy-dog-to-furry-convention.html

Unsuspecting Woman Brings Therapy Dog to Local Furry Convention
By Madison Malone Kircher


Link the therapy dog and some of his new furry friends.

Before last weekend, Cheryl Wassus had no idea what a “furry” was. So naturally, when the Motor City Furry Convention chose Pets for Vets (a nonprofit that pairs dogs with military veterans) as its charity of choice, she assumed that she and Link, her one-year-old Bernese mountain dog, would be spending the day at an animal event. She wasn’t wrong, necessarily — it’s just that the animals were maybe slightly more anthropomorphized than she had envisioned.

Today, Cheryl Wassus — whose son, Kenny, is a senior producer here at New York Media — definitely knows what a furry is. This is her story.

So what did you think you were walking into on Saturday?
You know, I have been affiliated with Pets for Vets for a while, and what I try to do is promote the program. I’ve got a really nice dog who has been trained with the benchmarks [for being a certified therapy dog] … so it’s nice to take Link and get him out there and have him exposed — because he is a young dog — to lots of different things. I really had no idea what to expect going in on Saturday. This organization had chosen us as their charity. They actually solicited us, and adopted us more or less, as their go-to charity for this big function. This is just a whole subculture I wasn’t even aware existed. When we set up tables and do promos and educate the public and do outreach, I had no idea the outreach was going to be other human … furry people. I guess you’re never too old to learn.

Did you get the chance to talk to many of the furries?
Yes. I learned so much about this whole new culture of people who get together and dress up in furry costumes. I didn’t know that there was this progression — like first, they choose a name, and start off with just a tail and ears. But from there, some of these costumes are amazing, and so elaborate. I was asking a lot of questions. Where do you get these? Where do you come up with something like this? A lot of people design their own, I guess. They decide what character they want to be, and then they spend lots of money having these costumes made. And then, they all get together for these events. Similar people. Similar interests. And they come together [at cons].

Right. Like the one you and Link attended.
Yeah, I had no idea I was walking into Furry Con. It was a little embarrassing at first because Link was just a little curious why people were wearing tails, so he was doing some serious tail-sniffing and checking out people. They weren’t offended, though, they just embraced him. It was all good. Just a real interested community.

So you had never heard of furries before this weekend, I take it?
Never. No. I didn’t know there were furries. The only furry I’d ever seen was at Easter, when somebody might put on one of those gigantic Easter-bunny costumes at a local egg hunt. That was my whole background with furries. That was it for me.

The photos your son tweeted are so funny; Link’s eyes seem to bug out of his head more and more with every new furry he meets.
You know, you can’t replicate that. I train puppies and do training with Canine Good Citizen and do trip training, and you cannot replicate what that one afternoon of walking him through every imaginable costume and scenario, with all of these different people and being in a new place. I was talking to one of the moms [of a furry], while I was sitting at our [Pets for Vets] booth, and she said a lot of these kids just aren’t understood. Her son got into it, and she said sometimes they don’t have the confidence to move around comfortably — socially, in groups — but they put on these costumes, and they’re transformed.

Did the furries and Link get along?
Yeah! We actually did a panel discussion about our charity and what we do, and these people, these furries, were very taken by what we do. Laurie [another volunteer] did a really nice presentation about the brain, when it comes to PTSD and vets, and they took off their furry costumes, or just the heads. Those things have to get incredibly warm. I can’t fathom wearing one of those all day. But, yes, they were absolutely tuned in … I saw some tears, people were definitely listening and paying attention. I don’t know what the final toll will be, but I imagine Pets for Vets is going to do quite well.

[Editor’s Note: The Motor City Furry Con raised $10,000 for Pets for Vets.]

Did you have a favorite furry costume?
The one, and I thought he might really put off my Link, was the big guy in the black wolf costume. He looked so awesome. He even has a different tint on the eyes, the degree of workmanship is amazing. It’s like Hollywood level. That guy’s costume was probably my favorite, and he seemed to really enjoy Link, too.

After spending the day with them, how do you feel about furries now?
To each his own. This seems pretty harmless. It seemed like there were lots of people around the same age. I saw little pieces of humanity I’d never seen before.

Is it safe to say you won’t be buying yourself a furry costume anytime soon?
No, I don’t think so. No. You know, you get a little older, a little menopausal, and being in that many layers and layers of fur. No need to be overheating. I’m good.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Categories: News

Unsuspecting Woman Brings Therapy Dog to Local Furry Convention

Fri 14 Apr 2017 - 15:38
http://nymag.com/selectall/2017/04/woman-brings-therapy-dog-to-furry-convention.html

Unsuspecting Woman Brings Therapy Dog to Local Furry Convention
By Madison Malone Kircher


Link the therapy dog and some of his new furry friends.

Before last weekend, Cheryl Wassus had no idea what a “furry” was. So naturally, when the Motor City Furry Convention chose Pets for Vets (a nonprofit that pairs dogs with military veterans) as its charity of choice, she assumed that she and Link, her one-year-old Bernese mountain dog, would be spending the day at an animal event. She wasn’t wrong, necessarily — it’s just that the animals were maybe slightly more anthropomorphized than she had envisioned.

Today, Cheryl Wassus — whose son, Kenny, is a senior producer here at New York Media — definitely knows what a furry is. This is her story.

So what did you think you were walking into on Saturday?
You know, I have been affiliated with Pets for Vets for a while, and what I try to do is promote the program. I’ve got a really nice dog who has been trained with the benchmarks [for being a certified therapy dog] … so it’s nice to take Link and get him out there and have him exposed — because he is a young dog — to lots of different things. I really had no idea what to expect going in on Saturday. This organization had chosen us as their charity. They actually solicited us, and adopted us more or less, as their go-to charity for this big function. This is just a whole subculture I wasn’t even aware existed. When we set up tables and do promos and educate the public and do outreach, I had no idea the outreach was going to be other human … furry people. I guess you’re never too old to learn.

Did you get the chance to talk to many of the furries?
Yes. I learned so much about this whole new culture of people who get together and dress up in furry costumes. I didn’t know that there was this progression — like first, they choose a name, and start off with just a tail and ears. But from there, some of these costumes are amazing, and so elaborate. I was asking a lot of questions. Where do you get these? Where do you come up with something like this? A lot of people design their own, I guess. They decide what character they want to be, and then they spend lots of money having these costumes made. And then, they all get together for these events. Similar people. Similar interests. And they come together [at cons].

Right. Like the one you and Link attended.
Yeah, I had no idea I was walking into Furry Con. It was a little embarrassing at first because Link was just a little curious why people were wearing tails, so he was doing some serious tail-sniffing and checking out people. They weren’t offended, though, they just embraced him. It was all good. Just a real interested community.

So you had never heard of furries before this weekend, I take it?
Never. No. I didn’t know there were furries. The only furry I’d ever seen was at Easter, when somebody might put on one of those gigantic Easter-bunny costumes at a local egg hunt. That was my whole background with furries. That was it for me.

The photos your son tweeted are so funny; Link’s eyes seem to bug out of his head more and more with every new furry he meets.
You know, you can’t replicate that. I train puppies and do training with Canine Good Citizen and do trip training, and you cannot replicate what that one afternoon of walking him through every imaginable costume and scenario, with all of these different people and being in a new place. I was talking to one of the moms [of a furry], while I was sitting at our [Pets for Vets] booth, and she said a lot of these kids just aren’t understood. Her son got into it, and she said sometimes they don’t have the confidence to move around comfortably — socially, in groups — but they put on these costumes, and they’re transformed.

Did the furries and Link get along?
Yeah! We actually did a panel discussion about our charity and what we do, and these people, these furries, were very taken by what we do. Laurie [another volunteer] did a really nice presentation about the brain, when it comes to PTSD and vets, and they took off their furry costumes, or just the heads. Those things have to get incredibly warm. I can’t fathom wearing one of those all day. But, yes, they were absolutely tuned in … I saw some tears, people were definitely listening and paying attention. I don’t know what the final toll will be, but I imagine Pets for Vets is going to do quite well.

[Editor’s Note: The Motor City Furry Con raised $10,000 for Pets for Vets.]

Did you have a favorite furry costume?
The one, and I thought he might really put off my Link, was the big guy in the black wolf costume. He looked so awesome. He even has a different tint on the eyes, the degree of workmanship is amazing. It’s like Hollywood level. That guy’s costume was probably my favorite, and he seemed to really enjoy Link, too.

After spending the day with them, how do you feel about furries now?
To each his own. This seems pretty harmless. It seemed like there were lots of people around the same age. I saw little pieces of humanity I’d never seen before.

Is it safe to say you won’t be buying yourself a furry costume anytime soon?
No, I don’t think so. No. You know, you get a little older, a little menopausal, and being in that many layers and layers of fur. No need to be overheating. I’m good.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Categories: News

I’m a furry. And I’m finally at home with my wild side

Tue 21 Mar 2017 - 18:20

Dated March 21, here is an article in The Guardian by Brian Switek:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/21/furry-wild-side-fursona-animal-nature


If I could be anything, I’d be a jaguar. And not just any jaguar. One with a dark coat, blue spots, but my general humanoid shape intact along with the feline features. That’s because I’m a furry.

It took me a long time to admit that to anyone. More than 15 years. That’s because I had always heard the word “furry” as a pejorative, a term practically synonymous with fetish. At best, being open about it would open me to ridicule and at worst, well, I didn’t even want to think about the reactions of friends and family. Despite the proliferation of nerdy pop culture – from anime to cosplay – furries have always been pushed out to the fringes.

Even when I decided to tell my wife about my interest in the fandom, I couldn’t hold back the anxiety. I was in a knot for days leading up to purchasing a ticket to my first furry convention at the relatively late age of 33. It was unexpected enough that my wife called me as soon as she saw the charge on our bank account. She thought some pervert had hijacked it. No, I said, I was the one going to Rocky Mountain Fur Con.

Even then, she asked me “You’re not a secret furry, are you?” To her, the term conjured the implication of people dressed up in mascot-like costumes who set about deviantly despoiling convention centre hotel rooms. All I could say was: “Not secret, but not how you think.”

Furry is not a fetish. I know that runs counter to the atrocious CSI episode about the fandom and a long-form 2001 Vanity Fair hatchet job, but furries are not bound together by some predilection for anonymous yiffing. It’s more like someone asking what superhero you’d want to be and saying no, thanks, you’d rather be a hyena or fox or deer. It’s about identity, picking a fursona – like a persona, naturally – that’s a projection of who you are or wish you could be. Instead of going to comic cons dressed up as Captain America or Black Widow, furries define an identity all their own.

Of course there’s a sexuality to the fandom. There is for almost any you can name. But that doesn’t define what brings furries together, and it would be a mistake to let the sneers and jeers of critics define the conversation. If you want to be surprised by who furries are and what they do, there’s an entire scientific profile on the matter for you to peruse. Stigma shouldn’t drive the way furries present themselves, especially during an era where a little escapism feels sorely needed.

Furries are hardly the only fandom to be misunderstood. But during a time when comic book movies are big box office and cosplaying is normal, I don’t understand why furry hate hangs on. If anything, it’s always been on the edges of our experience.

Anthropomorphic animals completely permeate our culture, from the earliest cave drawings to the Oscar-winning Zootopia (Zootropolis in the UK). People dress as animals for Halloween, identify with certain species as personal favourites, and, hell, a popular trashy novel and movie series had duelling fans debate the merits of whether the female lead should marry a blood-sucking corpse or werewolf. Whether you’re rooting for an animal-themed sports team or listening to Top 40 songs about being “hungry like the wolf”, we’re practically obsessed by crossover between the human and animal.

Furries have a culture all their own, formed through internet forums and conventions over decades. But the basic fascination has always been with us. Furries are simply drawing from our animalistic interests and curiosities to create characters for ourselves instead of trying to co-opt something already pre-packed and sold. It just so happens to be animal-shaped, and so much the better. At the heart of it, everyone’s a little bit furry.

Categories: News

I’m a furry. And I’m finally at home with my wild side

Tue 21 Mar 2017 - 18:20

Dated March 21, here is an article in The Guardian by Brian Switek:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/21/furry-wild-side-fursona-animal-nature


If I could be anything, I’d be a jaguar. And not just any jaguar. One with a dark coat, blue spots, but my general humanoid shape intact along with the feline features. That’s because I’m a furry.

It took me a long time to admit that to anyone. More than 15 years. That’s because I had always heard the word “furry” as a pejorative, a term practically synonymous with fetish. At best, being open about it would open me to ridicule and at worst, well, I didn’t even want to think about the reactions of friends and family. Despite the proliferation of nerdy pop culture – from anime to cosplay – furries have always been pushed out to the fringes.

Even when I decided to tell my wife about my interest in the fandom, I couldn’t hold back the anxiety. I was in a knot for days leading up to purchasing a ticket to my first furry convention at the relatively late age of 33. It was unexpected enough that my wife called me as soon as she saw the charge on our bank account. She thought some pervert had hijacked it. No, I said, I was the one going to Rocky Mountain Fur Con.

Even then, she asked me “You’re not a secret furry, are you?” To her, the term conjured the implication of people dressed up in mascot-like costumes who set about deviantly despoiling convention centre hotel rooms. All I could say was: “Not secret, but not how you think.”

Furry is not a fetish. I know that runs counter to the atrocious CSI episode about the fandom and a long-form 2001 Vanity Fair hatchet job, but furries are not bound together by some predilection for anonymous yiffing. It’s more like someone asking what superhero you’d want to be and saying no, thanks, you’d rather be a hyena or fox or deer. It’s about identity, picking a fursona – like a persona, naturally – that’s a projection of who you are or wish you could be. Instead of going to comic cons dressed up as Captain America or Black Widow, furries define an identity all their own.

Of course there’s a sexuality to the fandom. There is for almost any you can name. But that doesn’t define what brings furries together, and it would be a mistake to let the sneers and jeers of critics define the conversation. If you want to be surprised by who furries are and what they do, there’s an entire scientific profile on the matter for you to peruse. Stigma shouldn’t drive the way furries present themselves, especially during an era where a little escapism feels sorely needed.

Furries are hardly the only fandom to be misunderstood. But during a time when comic book movies are big box office and cosplaying is normal, I don’t understand why furry hate hangs on. If anything, it’s always been on the edges of our experience.

Anthropomorphic animals completely permeate our culture, from the earliest cave drawings to the Oscar-winning Zootopia (Zootropolis in the UK). People dress as animals for Halloween, identify with certain species as personal favourites, and, hell, a popular trashy novel and movie series had duelling fans debate the merits of whether the female lead should marry a blood-sucking corpse or werewolf. Whether you’re rooting for an animal-themed sports team or listening to Top 40 songs about being “hungry like the wolf”, we’re practically obsessed by crossover between the human and animal.

Furries have a culture all their own, formed through internet forums and conventions over decades. But the basic fascination has always been with us. Furries are simply drawing from our animalistic interests and curiosities to create characters for ourselves instead of trying to co-opt something already pre-packed and sold. It just so happens to be animal-shaped, and so much the better. At the heart of it, everyone’s a little bit furry.

Categories: News

Convention for furry fans comes to downtown Toronto

Sun 19 Mar 2017 - 14:02

Dated March 17, here is an article in Canada's The Globe and Mail:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/convention-for-furry-fans-comes-to-downtown-toronto/article34339062/

It describes this weekend's Furnal Equinox convention, through an interview with organizer Isaac Tan.


Some 1,600 fans of humanized animals and cartoon characters are gathering in downtown Toronto this weekend for a convention celebrating the so-called furry fandom.

Isaac Tan, a member of the organizing committee, talks about his love of anthropomorphized animals.

The 22-year-old, who is a martial arts instructor and lives in Markham, has been interested in furry culture for nine years.

For the uninitiated, what is the furry fandom?

The furry fandom is a collective of individuals from all around the world, really. We’re a group of people that essentially celebrate humanized animals, same thing as cartoon animals or [characters] on cereal boxes. It’s sort of like having the same sort of fan base for superheroes, except if superheroes were talking dogs and cats instead.

How did you get interested in furry culture?

As an artist, I’d always found more joy in drawing animals and drawing creatures of fantasy.

When I was drawing one day and looking online, I found an image of an anthropomorphic animal. I saw the artist’s page who had posted it [and] they were involved in this community called the furry fandom and from there I sort of became a little bit more involved, exploring the different types of art that are involved in the furry fandom and suddenly, this entire new culture dawned upon me where it involved not only art, but also involved costuming, it involved literature, a lot of story-writing and a lot of role-playing.

Do you have an alter ego and can you tell me about it?

My alter ego is a Chinese dragon.

I am Chinese by ethnicity so I wanted to sort of pay homage to my culture, which I’m very proud of. So my alter ego is a Chinese dragon and his name is Ronnie.

Do people tend to be open about this part of their lives?

It does vary depending on what parts of the world that you’re from. There are many people who do openly advocate for this community, as they’re very proud of it and what it’s done for them. The furry fandom has done a lot of charitable work for animal organizations. Some people prefer to sort of keep it as part of their personal life.

What happens at furry conventions?

At these conventions we engage in a number of different social and performance events, as well as informative. So people get to costume around in custom-tailored costumes and they perform for each other, whether it’s mascotting or doing skits on stage, sort of like a masquerade.

We also have lots of informative panels that teach you about literature, story-writing, as well as visual arts, the art of business in an artisan world and we also have a lot of vending that goes on as well.

I wanted to ask you about the costumes. Does everyone wear one?

We usually only have about 20 per cent of our attendees that actually wear these costumes. They are very expensive, being custom-tailored, so the private studios which people can commission these costumes from can charge upwards of $2,000 for a full-bodied costume.

What’s the community like? What kind of people get interested in this subculture?

People that attend our convention come from all walks of life, whether they come from the sciences field, whether they come from the financial or business sector, whether they come from technology, whether they’re artists or artisans, from construction.

Basically we have people from all walks of life and all different professions that all share one similar interest, which is essentially their love for these humanized animals or cartoon animals. It’s a really very holistic community feeling where we just celebrate each other’s creativity and this world that we’ve created for ourselves.
Categories: News

Convention for furry fans comes to downtown Toronto

Sun 19 Mar 2017 - 14:02

Dated March 17, here is an article in Canada's The Globe and Mail:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/convention-for-furry-fans-comes-to-downtown-toronto/article34339062/

It describes this weekend's Furnal Equinox convention, through an interview with organizer Isaac Tan.


Some 1,600 fans of humanized animals and cartoon characters are gathering in downtown Toronto this weekend for a convention celebrating the so-called furry fandom.

Isaac Tan, a member of the organizing committee, talks about his love of anthropomorphized animals.

The 22-year-old, who is a martial arts instructor and lives in Markham, has been interested in furry culture for nine years.

For the uninitiated, what is the furry fandom?

The furry fandom is a collective of individuals from all around the world, really. We’re a group of people that essentially celebrate humanized animals, same thing as cartoon animals or [characters] on cereal boxes. It’s sort of like having the same sort of fan base for superheroes, except if superheroes were talking dogs and cats instead.

How did you get interested in furry culture?

As an artist, I’d always found more joy in drawing animals and drawing creatures of fantasy.

When I was drawing one day and looking online, I found an image of an anthropomorphic animal. I saw the artist’s page who had posted it [and] they were involved in this community called the furry fandom and from there I sort of became a little bit more involved, exploring the different types of art that are involved in the furry fandom and suddenly, this entire new culture dawned upon me where it involved not only art, but also involved costuming, it involved literature, a lot of story-writing and a lot of role-playing.

Do you have an alter ego and can you tell me about it?

My alter ego is a Chinese dragon.

I am Chinese by ethnicity so I wanted to sort of pay homage to my culture, which I’m very proud of. So my alter ego is a Chinese dragon and his name is Ronnie.

Do people tend to be open about this part of their lives?

It does vary depending on what parts of the world that you’re from. There are many people who do openly advocate for this community, as they’re very proud of it and what it’s done for them. The furry fandom has done a lot of charitable work for animal organizations. Some people prefer to sort of keep it as part of their personal life.

What happens at furry conventions?

At these conventions we engage in a number of different social and performance events, as well as informative. So people get to costume around in custom-tailored costumes and they perform for each other, whether it’s mascotting or doing skits on stage, sort of like a masquerade.

We also have lots of informative panels that teach you about literature, story-writing, as well as visual arts, the art of business in an artisan world and we also have a lot of vending that goes on as well.

I wanted to ask you about the costumes. Does everyone wear one?

We usually only have about 20 per cent of our attendees that actually wear these costumes. They are very expensive, being custom-tailored, so the private studios which people can commission these costumes from can charge upwards of $2,000 for a full-bodied costume.

What’s the community like? What kind of people get interested in this subculture?

People that attend our convention come from all walks of life, whether they come from the sciences field, whether they come from the financial or business sector, whether they come from technology, whether they’re artists or artisans, from construction.

Basically we have people from all walks of life and all different professions that all share one similar interest, which is essentially their love for these humanized animals or cartoon animals. It’s a really very holistic community feeling where we just celebrate each other’s creativity and this world that we’ve created for ourselves.
Categories: News