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Furries In The Media

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Boise furries find acceptance and community within an over-welcoming fandom

Thu 26 Feb 2015 - 18:31

Here is an article, dated February 26, in The Arbiter, the student newspaper of Boise State University:

http://arbiteronline.com/2015/02/26/boise-furries-find-acceptance-community-within-welcoming-fandom/


On most days, Treasure Valley resident A.C. Arment spends his days like any other average human: working, eating and sleeping. On other days, he puts on a green fur suit and becomes Camochi, the anthropomorphic animal hybrid.

“On any given day, I could be hit by a bus or just eat a few slices of pepperoni pizza, just like anyone else,” Arment said. “Camochi is just a little part
of me.”

Arment is part of the ever-growing furry fandom, a group, mainly consisting of Internet and convention interaction, which shares a common love for the anthropomorphic, whether it be dance, graphic design or even prose.

When making a fur suit or any piece of artwork, furries often draw inspiration from their fursonas, idealized, anthropomorphized versions of themselves.

Camochi has a biohazard sign on his back. According to Arment, this represents several years of bullying from his childhood years.

“I thought I was a plague and that I’d be better off dead,” Arment said. “But then I met wonderful people at conventions and made Camochi.”

In an article entitled “Furries and the Limits of Species Identity Disorder,” Fiona Probyn-Rapsey of the University of Sydney cites a survey done at a furry convention, where researchers found that 46 percent of furry participants identified as less than 100 percent human.

Sophomore English major and member of the furry community Nicholas Walker found that, with many furries, identifying with animals is significantly easier than identifying with humans.

“It’s easier to communicate with animals that won’t talk back or scorn you,” Walker said.

Professor of psychology Matthew Genuchi stressed the importance of finding an accepting community of like-minded people when battling negative emotional effects.

“It can provide you with possible avenues to form deep and meaningful relationships based on those shared interests,” Genuchi said.

According to Walker, the furry fandom offers this community and often helps members battle feelings of exclusion or social anxiety.

But, because the community is so accepting of all possible preferences, Walker finds furries garnering disdain from many.

“There are highbrowed types that really get into the art, but there is also that one person that wants to see two dogs getting it on,” Walker said. “The latter brings out the stigma.”

Arment hopes that people can acknowledge the warm community fostered within the furry fandom instead of “those two dark eggs that ruin the whole bunch.”

He continued to describe the ridiculousness of engaging in fur-related sex.

“I don’t want anyone getting their bodily juices on my $1,000 suit,” Arment said.

Categories: News

Fur Real

Thu 12 Feb 2015 - 18:17
Never thought I'd be posting an article like this XP This is from my hometown newspaper and they gave a 2 page spread to a furry article, I'll include some images of the paper itself under the cut!!


http://www.northcoastjournal.com/humboldt/fur-real/Content?oid=2823305


the unfortunate issie this story has to be in, not that it surprises me anymore lol...

first page

second page

Sitting in an armchair at Because Coffee, Michael Genzoli hoists a big, blue fox head out of his bag and combs the turquoise shock of hair between its ears. If the weather holds, he and his roommate, who suits up as a white tiger, are going out for Arts! Alive in Old Town Eureka. "If we do, there'll be lots of hugs. And tail pulling," he adds with a shrug. They hate tail pulling. Once the head is on, along with paws and a fat swoosh of a tail, so is Genzoli, hamming it up in pantomime for the photographer. Two young women in the corner, Alexis Roberts and Marie Profant, ask to take a picture and he obliges. When they hear the word "furries," Profant's face freezes and the women exchange a look. If Genzoli notices, it doesn't show. He cocks his head for the crouching photographer. He knows the drill; he's a furry.

Furries — in suits or otherwise — are tired of being labeled deviants, and they're quick to point out that it's a fandom — a group of like-minded fans — not a fetish. Sensational portrayals of fur-suited sex romps in the media and conflation of the group's love of humanoid animals with bestiality have left many skittish about talking to outsiders and the press about the subculture at all, much less anything beyond a G rating. Sex, as it turns out, is only a part of the picture, and not in the way you might think. In fact, this community of fluffy pariahs may have created a uniquely accepting place to experiment with who they are — or could be — including their sexuality and gender.

Remember how much you loved talking cartoon animals as a kid? What if you still loved them? A lot? Just as Trekkies love Star Trek, furries define themselves as fans of fictional anthropomorphic characters — animals that look or behave like people — the kind you might find in a Disney movie, a folk tale or a comic book. And just as not all Trekkies wear Spock ears or Starfleet uniforms, not all furries dress up as animals. In fact, according to the International Anthropomorphic Research Project (IARP), a team of social scientists who've surveyed thousands of self-identified furries annually over the past five years, fewer than 15 percent of self-proclaimed furries own suits. The vast majority of furries are white males under the age of 30 with some secondary education.

Their numbers in Humboldt County are tough to estimate, since many keep their interests secret from all but the closest of friends due to the social stigma. Owners of one local fursuit company declined to comment for this story because they didn't want to draw attention to themselves in connection with furries, and most of those who would talk opted not to use their real names. But the Humboldt Furries Facebook page has 18 friends and Humfurs, a local MeetUp group, has 22 members. They're out there.

Kylani is a bobcat. Well, in real life, she's an undergraduate wildlife major at Humboldt State University who got into the furry fandom six years ago through her interest in drawing animals, which she finds far more captivating than humans. "Eh," she says over the phone, "[human] faces all look the same." Kylani isn't her name, either, it's her fursona, an alter ego she created. Like most furries, who typically only have one or two over the years, she chose her fursona for personal reasons, starting with an animal that spoke to her and creating a version of herself as she'd like to be. It's similar to cosplay, in which fans dress as favorite characters, but without a ready-made identity and backstory or, necessarily, a costume. (Kylani doesn't have one.) "For me, personally, it's about expressing an inner personality," she says. Like her, bobcats aren't very large, but "they're very adaptable, often ignored, but pretty fierce, pretty awesome creatures."

For Kylani, being a furry isn't about sex at all. Her fursona is a creative outlet, a stronger self she leans on. "I was heavily bullied, I suffered from depression. In my first year of college, I was sexually assaulted," she says with a quiet, steady voice. Her imagination was "a place of refuge" and, in the aftermath of the assault, it was easier to channel her anger through drawings of Kylani than it was to express it directly. "She's got the claws, she's got the teeth," she says, her voice lifting a little. She still struggles, sometimes turning to Kylani for inspiration. "I did not get justice," she says, but she's turned some of her energies to victim support and rape prevention, which, evidently, is what Kylani would do.

Dr. Courtney Plante is a psychology researcher at the University of Waterloo and a co-founder of the IARP. (He's also the only furry on the five-person research team.) Plante says he's interviewed furries who say the escape and community of furry fandom have saved their lives. Acceptance by other furries is "a source of self-esteem for them, sometimes for the first time in their lives." He also notes that, according to the study, some 25 percent of furries keep their fursonas totally separate from their sex lives. For many furries, he says, "This is an idealized version of themselves and they don't want to taint it. For them it would be like drawing genitals on Mickey Mouse."

While Kylani knows there are furries who are into the sexual aspect of the lifestyle, she doesn't know any, and she's not wild about being accused of bestiality or stereotyped as hypersexual. She's also skeptical about those apocryphal tales of costumed orgies. "I'm very sex positive. As long as it's two or more consenting adults," she says. But, "the last thing people want is to get semen on their very expensive fursuit. ... They get very hot and very sweaty and not in a sexy way ... and they're super hard to wash," she adds, laughing. It's an observation repeated (usually with chuckling) by every furry who agreed to be interviewed. In fact, those suits are damn pricey — upward of $2,000 for a custom model. And they're so cumbersome and stuffy that some furry conventions feature "headless lounges" where participants can take off their foam-packed animal heads and sit in front of a fan.

The bestiality rap is unearned, according to Plante, and abusing animals is reviled among the community, which is largely made up of animal lovers. In fact, he says, "There's been a long history of people missing the point ... they go on the assumption that this is a fetish." He says there is a sexual aspect to the fandom because furries are, after all, only human. Mind you, roughly 38 percent of furries surveyed by the IARP say sex is part of their interest but not a defining element (most cite community as key). Thirty-six percent say the sexual aspect is a major draw. Plante estimates that sexual themes are no more prevalent than among comic book fans, for instance. "If you are a 25-year-old male and you're into comic books ... the natural sex drive is already there," he says. And if superheroes enter your sexual imagination and your eyes linger over those tights, "you're just combining your interests."

Fair enough when it comes to Captain America and Wonder Woman, but what about the animal thing? Plante finds the hand wringing silly and blames a "sex negative" society. "You pop a pair of furry cat ears on somebody instead of lingerie and suddenly it's scandalous. ... A Playboy bunny can put on a pair of ears and nobody bats an eye." The bunnies shaking their tails around Hefner's mansion and people in skimpy animal costumes on Halloween are accentuating their human bodies and hinting at an animal nature. And that's a far cry from bestiality. It's actually pretty cliché.

Tucking a lock of wavy brown hair behind her ear, Crysta (fursona name) leafs through sketches — some naturalistic, some humanoid — from the wolf comic she's working on. She wears a tie-dyed T-shirt emblazoned with a phoenix. She's in her 20s but came up with her fursona as a child. It morphs into a new creature every year — a dog, a horse, a snake and once even a human. It wasn't until an old boyfriend introduced her to furry culture that she put a name to the role-play she'd kept going in her imagination into adulthood.

Her alter ego, a strong and adventurous heroine, goes into every part of her life. Among friends, she'll use animal gestures here and there and do a little "skritching," or affectionate scratching similar to grooming. "Gonna say it: Having someone scratch your head is the best thing ever," she proclaims. Like Kylani, she studied wildlife and loves furry art, but some of her drawings and the ones she enjoys looking at are a whole lot friskier.

Plante says the term for furry-themed erotic art, "yiff" (what the mating fox says, apparently), is used ironically and is as uncool as "nookie." But it still pulls up quite an inventory on Google — cartoon images (not actual animals, folks) of wildly varying artistic skill, that skew more Jessica Rabbit than Bugs Bunny.

"Sometimes I'm like, 'That's a really nice piece of art,' and sometimes it's like, 'That's hot," says Crysta. She laughs and turns her large, hazel eyes to the ceiling. "It's porn!"

According to the IARP's numbers, among furries, 96 percent of fellas and 78 percent of ladies view porn with anthropomorphic animal themes, though it seems to be mixed in with PG furry art. Crysta says it's all good fun; nobody gets hurt and it's a little more creative than typical pornography. "And there's a curiosity about what that would be like and feel like," she says, and she sees nothing wrong with exploring that kind of fantasy. She recalls a Christian friend confiding in her that he was worried about some of the images he'd been enjoying online. Crysta rolls her eyes at the memory. She told him to forward them to her for an opinion. "I was like, 'Dude, you might be a furry.'"

Crysta sees Puritanism and a warring obsession with sex as the reason the media and the general public freak out and zoom in on the sexual element of the furry life, ignoring the camaraderie of shared interests. She shrugs. "Because something is different, we're against it. We're horrified, but we're kind of curious." She says she's a sexual person, adding with a laugh, "even though I don't get any right now." She personally can't handle gory images and "vore," in which anthropomorphic characters engulf one another in a puzzling sexual way. "Sometimes I feel like, why is this a thing?" she asks, smiling and covering her face. But she's not judging anybody.

The nonjudgmental nature of the furry community is a big part of its draw. With the exception of things that are illegal, not too much will get you kicked out of the club. Still, Plante says the vast majority of furries "don't want to hear about sex in fursuits, and while they might not reject you, they don't want to know." The same goes for vore, enthusiasts of which he calls a "minuscule" part of the fandom. What will raise the hackles of fellow furries is making the community look pervy to outsiders. In March 2001, Vanity Fair ran an article, "Pleasures of the Fur," that lumped the fandom in with bestiality, animal cruelty and "plushies," people who have sex with stuffed animals. Then a 2003 episode of CSI titled "Fur and Loathing" depicted outlandish fursuited orgies. Those depictions caused many furries to tire of being portrayed as sex nuts in the media and they muzzled up.

Buster is not sure about talking. He leans into the table on his elbows and looks around the café. His backward hat tops a rounded face and soft, sleepy eyes. He's worried the article will reflect badly on the fandom and other furries will hold him responsible. He also doesn't want to use his real name, because neither his family nor his coworkers know he's a furry, and he's not confident they would understand.

While he's not a small guy, his fursona, Buster, is a brown shepherd-lab puppy who's all about play and joy. He doesn't own a suit but he lets the character come out through running, jumping and being "in the moment." He says his alter ego gives him freedom to return to childlike play and express his "authentic self," even if it's one he only shares with his closest friends or at conventions.

Buster draws a hard line between his fursona and his sexuality. He's homosexual, but he's not out to his family about that, either. He'd always been "animalistic in the bedroom," scratching and biting here and there, so pet play was a natural fit. During pet play — a branch of submission/domination role play that is outside the furry fandom — he explains he's not a fully formed anthropomorphic character like Buster, just a dog with collar and a master who gives commands, expects obedience and might use a rolled up newspaper now and then. When you consider the mainstream success of E.L. James' books, it's not that wild — sort of Fifty Shades of Greyhound. The scene gives him some of the same respite from societal expectations that his fursona does — he references the famous Samuel Johnson quote, "He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man." Buster is about bringing out his true personality, but pet play is about vanishing into a role and becoming something he's not. And he doesn't expect all furries to understand. Even in the typically accepting fetish community, he says people who don't get what being a furry means are put off.

Plante says staying in the furry closet is not uncommon given the stigma surrounding the community, and there's even some nerd-on-nerd hate. According to the IARP's research, furries perceive hostility from outsiders keenly. And not for nothing. The group surveyed sports fans, whose response was "overwhelmingly negative" toward furries, and despite some overlap in membership, even anime fans' perception of furries was "generally negative." Et tu, Sailor Moon? Isn't that the pot calling the kettle freaky? Plante says it's not such a shock, just one stigmatized group throwing another one under the bus to avoid an embarrassing association.

The furry community may not have many allies outside, but inside it's created what Plante sees as a safe space to experiment with one's identity. He observes, "It's hard to judge someone if you're wearing a pair of cat ears." That applies to sexual orientation, too. A recent IARP study found that while 90 percent of Americans say they are heterosexual or mostly so, that number is down to 35 percent among furries, with 25 percent checking off mostly or exclusively homosexual and another 25 percent seeing themselves as bisexual. Nearly 2 percent of furries identify as transgender, which is twice the percentage of anime fans and four times that of fantasy sport fans.

When it comes to fursonas, things get, well, fuzzier. Let's say you identify as a heterosexual male. When it comes to your alter ego, it ain't necessarily so. Crysta says, "I identify as bi but lean toward straight. For my fursona, she's also bi, but I might express her a little more equal opportunity." Other fursonas may differ more strongly. In a 2011 IARP survey, the percentage of fursonas that were exclusively heterosexual was almost 10 percent lower than that of their real-life counterparts. There was a similar gap in the middle of the spectrum, with more fursonas than their furry owners marking off equally heterosexual and homosexual. "Our hypothesis," says Plante, emphasizing that more research and data are needed, "is that a fursona may be a way of compartmentalizing and testing the waters," saying, in effect, "'I'm not gay but my fursona is,'" and seeing how it goes. A fair amount of gender swapping goes on, too. The survey found that while 84 percent of furries at a convention were male and 16 percent were female, only 66 percent of fursonas were "entirely male," and 10 percent were "entirely female." The rest fell somewhere in between. "I would wager," Plante continues, "that there's nothing systematic about the fandom. ... More than anything, the fandom is a safe place for people to be who they want to be."

Michael Genzoli is 25, and he's been a furry since he was 12. He leans back in his chair, spiky black hair peeking out from a black ball cap with a fox logo. And he's fine using his real name instead of his fursona, Tokala. "It's never been anything I've ever felt I should be ashamed of," he says. He knows how lucky he is to be accepted by his family — his grandmother helped him find his first suit. He knows people who haven't had it so easy. His ex's mother, for example, "immediately got on the animal-fucker train" and refused to hear any more.

Tokala is blue — a Fennec fox and red fox hybrid — who's a bit more outgoing and playful than Genzoli is in daily life, though watching him chat up a woman about her boots, it's hard to imagine him as shy. His suit is partial — head, paws and a tail — but he's working on a full one, considering both the design and the maker as carefully as one might plan a serious tattoo. Since he was a kid, Genzoli has connected with animal characters in cartoons, and he wondered if it was normal that he was more interested in them than in fictional humans. Then he found his tribe. He's just gotten back from the Further Confusion conference in San Jose, where 3,560 attendees (some 700 in fursuits) showed up for panels, vendors, socializing and dance-offs. Genzoli especially loves watching people cut loose and get down in their animal get-ups, which is both physically impressive and hilarious. (Treat yourself to a video search — let's just say Lou Seal needs to step it up.) The conference was definitely not a den of faux fur lust. Neither are the furry hangouts with friends in town. Mostly they watch movies, drink, do some drawing and maybe scritch. "Who doesn't want to get their head scratched?" he asks. "It's great!" If somebody shows up with a suit, there's a lot of platonic hugging and petting, but not for too long, he says with a laugh, "those things are hot."

Which isn't to say he doesn't enjoy the sexual aspect of furry culture. "Something that arouses me is furry characters, so it kind of plays a part," he says. While Genzoli hasn't brought his fursona (or his suit) into the bedroom, his partners know about his interests before they start dating, since he and Tokala are more or less "inseparable." He does some online role play which can get steamy. Asked if he means an online game or chatting, he grins and taps his fingers on the table like a keyboard. His fursona is always male, and he prefers role play with women, but he's "not a stickler." In fact, he says of his online furry identity, "I am bisexual, but when it comes to me and other people [in daily life], I'm straight." As far as men in real life, "I've tried it and it just wasn't for me," but there are male characters that he finds "appealing."

He knows that some furries won't be thrilled that he's talking about his sexuality in relation to the fandom. "There are a lot of furries who wish it wasn't so ... denial might fit," he says. He says the hostility toward the community is unfair, noting that other fan groups, such as Trekkies, have adult themes, too, but aren't met with disgust from outside. "Who cares? Who cares if someone else wants to be an animal? Who cares if people want to have sex in their fursuits, or whatever?" Furries, he says, "aren't even the weirdest thing out there by societal standards."

While he gets why so many furries hide, it saddens him. Furries, he feels, need to "stop being ashamed of what we are." And if someone reads this and judges Genzoli, then he or she probably isn't a person he needs in his life. After all, like he says of his fursona, "It's me."


Categories: News

What Really Goes On At a Furries Convention

Thu 12 Feb 2015 - 15:37
(c/o Patch Packrat on Flayrah)



Dated February 11, Inside Edition tells us "What Really Goes On At a Furries Convention" (in this case, Further Confusion 2015):

http://www.insideedition.com/headlines/9697-what-really-goes-on-at-a-furries-convention

(Apparently, Inside Information were denied permission to film by FC's organisers, but went ahead and did it anyway.)


It's a convention for people who are anything but conventional.

They call themselves “furries,” and they gather by the hundreds wearing cartoon-animal costumes.

A photo was taken at a convention in Pittsburgh called “Anthrocon,” and can you believe more than 1,300 people showed up wearing furry costumes.

A YouTube video showed the hot new trend at furry conventions called “The Dance-Off.”

So, what's it like inside a furries convention?

INSIDE EDITION producer Nicole Kumar went in posing as a furry at the gathering in San Jose, California.

She said, “Just now, I was approached by someone who said I had to put a dollar on her antler and the beast would save my soul.”

Many of the furries posed for professional photos, like any family portrait, only a lot weirder.

Hotel guests could hardly believe what was going on around her.

Furries are triggering fierce criticism from some.

"Fur suits creep me out," is one of the milder comments on YouTube.

Others call furries "weird" and "losers."

Morgan Smejkal is a furry. She says, "To be a furry is to be an enthusiast of cartoon comics and art."

At her home in Iowa, she showed us some of her outfits. There was a giant pair of feet, a little padding on the hips and butt, and a zipper up the front. Then came the big finish, the headpiece, to complete a character she created which was a red panda named Katana Rose.

The price tag of her costume was $2,500.

She said, "I can breathe just fine. I can even get a drink of water of I want to, the mouth hole is right there."

It's not for everyone but it suits them.
Categories: News

Watch furries get down on the dance floor at the Furcon Masquerade

Wed 21 Jan 2015 - 08:26

Here is another article in the Silicon Valley Business Journal, about Further Confusion 2015:
http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2015/01/20/watch-furries-get-down-on-the-dance-floor-at-the.html


San Jose was a lot furrier this weekend, as droves of friendly folks dressed up as cuddly animals descended on the city to meet, mingle and dance at Furcon 2015.

Photographer Vicki Thompson was on the ground in the convention, meeting the regulars and attending the Masquerade dance complete with costumes, smoke machines and a DJ.

What does a Furcon dance look like? Click through the slideshow to find out.

Furcon is serious business for San Jose, Further Confusion 2015 is expected to generate $3 million for San Jose merchants as furries occupy 3,200 hotel rooms, said Ben Roschke at Team San Jose, the nonprofit group that promotes the city as a destination and runs the convention center.

Also, as editor-in-chief Greg Baumann wrote last time the convention was in town, it's the best chance of injecting a bit of eccentricity into a city whose culture is overshadowed by San Francisco.
Categories: News

Furries turn downtown San Jose into wild kingdom

Mon 19 Jan 2015 - 16:12

Here is an article, dated January 19, 2015, in the San Jose Mercury News:
http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_27347785/furries-turn-downtown-san-jose-into-wild-kingdom?source=infinite

It concerns Further Confusion 2015.


SAN JOSE -- The green-eyed werewolves, foxes in top hats and spectacle-wearing mice formed a fantastical wild kingdom, searching for camaraderie in one of the most curious celebrations of creative expression in Silicon Valley.

San Jose's annual FurCon kicked off last week and goes through Monday, converting the San Jose McEnery Convention Center and three downtown hotels into a colorful and odd collection of larger-than-life furry characters. The furries, as they call themselves, are people who love animals -- both real and fictional animal characters -- dress up as animals and collect anthropomorphic art.

"It's just expressing your creativity and being something else for a while," said Alexis Rudd, of Sonoma, who designs costumes for furries and animal puppets.

The 3,000 furries looked at times like a collection of sports team mascots or characters out of Aesop's Fables. But for many, the five-day convention, dubbed Further Confusion, marked a space where they could shed the identities they have at work or with their families and become, for a brief while, a dancing cheetah, cuddly and affectionate shark, party-loving dragon or tenderly shy unicorn.

Few costume-clad furries talk. Instead, they shake their giant animal head or offer a purr or squeak. Most only use their animal names, such as Moo or Spottacus, and basic identifying traits such as appearance, gender or profession become moot points.
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"I don't have to explain anything, and I can share what I want," said Marie, a longtime Bay Area furry who was selling handcrafted goods at FurCon. She declined to share her last name because of what she called her conservative job in the legal field.

"It's a community you can always go back to," she said. "You can be a three-headed werewolf with wings, and I'm going to talk to you seriously."

The annual San Jose convention is one of the largest events of its kind, put on by Milpitas nonprofit Anthropomorphic Arts and Education to raise money for a charity. This year Rocket Dog Rescue, a San Francisco-based volunteer canine rescue organization, will receive the funds raised at FurCon -- where real four-legged furry creatures mixed with the human attendees at the event.

Beyond the money for charity, event organizers estimate that FurCon -- now in its 16th year -- brings about $3 million into the local community, with visitors spending money on hotels, restaurants and transportation, said Sam Rasmussen, FurCon's media liaison.

The Bay Area furries scene has blossomed in part because so many tech workers participate. The chairman of this year's convention works for Google; other furries said they worked at Yahoo, Apple and startups.

Some said the creative freedom encouraged in the furry community, which is unwaveringly judgment-free even when confronted by utter weirdness, is a relief from the rigors of coding and stress of deadlines.

At FurCon, attendees showed off their animal suits in a parade while Maroon 5's "Animals" appropriately played in the background; faced off in a dance competition; joined myriad social events including speed dating; and attended workshops in writing, drawing and puppetry.

"When you get a lot of people with open minds in the same room, it's a huge party," said convention Chairman Jeff Bowman.

But furry fandom -- the term for the community that gathers online and at furry conventions -- was also a buzzing center of commerce. Artists, costume designers, graphic novelists and comic book dealers crowded the Marriott Hotel adjacent to the convention center.

Furry fandom isn't just a fetish or a weekend lifestyle -- it's also a booming and lucrative business. On Saturday morning, costume designer Deanna Petro had just sold a hand-sewn gray wolf costume for $4,000. Animal suits can cost $1,000 to nearly $10,000.

But the lingering question many outside the community might have is: Why would anyone want to spend the day dressed up in a sweltering costume and adopt the personality of a mischievous wolf or flirtatious kangaroo?

For some furries, it's just that they really, really love animals.

"One day, I thought, 'What would it be like if I were a cat?' " said Cassy Abbott, 20, an art student from North Hollywood wearing a $1,900 cat costume. "It's fun to be acting like a cat, running around and nudging people and purring at them."

But for a lot of furries, there's more to it. It's the freedom of adopting a new identity behind the protective layer of a disguise. While many of these furries attend the same conventions, they recognize each other only by their animal persona -- and most took care never to remove their costumes during the convention, even though some of them heated up to 120 degrees and others required that they walk on all fours in a physically grueling display.

In costume, there's less fear of judgment. The closest most of the non-furry community gets to this is a really elaborate Halloween costume.

"People have expectations of you," said David Benaron, a four-decade furry, doctor, Stanford University professor of pediatric medicine and startup CEO. "When you're in this sort of costume, biases and judgments go away. I feel completely comfortable, and I'm not poised in the boardroom or watching the IPO market."
Categories: News

Furries descend on Silicon Valley, modeling eccentricity for a staid tech culture

Sat 17 Jan 2015 - 10:50

Here is an article, dated January 16, in the Silicon Valley Business Journal:

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2015/01/16/furries-descend-on-silicon-valley-modeling.html

It concerns this weekend's Further Confusion convention.


Furries, the lovably idiosyncratic, non-threatening folk who cavort in animal costumes and descend on San Jose annually to mingle, learn and dance, are back.

Further Confusion 2015, the convention themed this year as "London Fog: A Victorian Murder Mystery," kicked off Thursday. So far, about 2,100 people have preregistered for the event at the McEnery Convention Center downtown. By the time things wrap up Monday, organizers expect that number to top the 3,560 that attended last year.

I said it last year: These Furcon festivals might be Silicon Valley's last, best hope at weird. And it's true. The homogenous, suburban culture that evolved out of our tech companies is now an economic liability as employers cluster closer to the urban amenities of San Francisco.

So furries are serious business. Beyond its abstract importance, Further Confusion 2015 is expected to generate $3 million for San Jose merchants as furries occupy 3,200 hotel rooms, said Ben Roschke at Team San Jose, the nonprofit group that promotes the city as a destination and runs the convention center.

This year, people from 12 countries including Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Bermuda and Singapore have preregistered, event organizers said. The event is one of a few significant furry gatherings annually. Furfest in Chicago is a big draw and AnthroCon in Pittsburgh is the biggest event for fur enthusiasts each year.

In San Jose, the annual Fanime animation event draws more people each year, Roschke said. That one generates about $10 million in economic activity and fills about 10,000 hotel rooms.
Categories: News

<a href='http://thesource.com/2014/12

Fri 9 Jan 2015 - 18:15
http://thesource.com/2014/12/18/furry-fandom-fetishists-attacked-with-chlorine-gas-19-hospitalized-after-the-hate-crime/

This journalist matter-of-factly calls the MWFF chemical attack a "hate crime" and "sabotage by anti-furry fetish terrorists." See if you can make sense of the bizarre description of the author at the end of the article.
Categories: News

Miley Cyrus and Furries on Tour?

Sat 27 Dec 2014 - 00:59
So, I was about to check my email when I noticed this on the yahoo home page...

http://music.yahoo.com/photos/miley-cyrus-s-bangerz-tour-has-begun-and-it-s-ridiculous-1392491014-slideshow/

Well, I started clicking through out of curiosity and noticed a blue fox/wolf in the background.
It's totally a fursuit. It looks like a legit fursuit & not one of those mass-produced bit of terribles.

Seen here:
http://tinyurl.com/q3x53rc

And a few images later I see this:
http://tinyurl.com/odprtou

And a better shot of the canine/fox suit:
http://tinyurl.com/khjb9ez

It's certainly not the first time furries have shared the stage with music groups:

Flaming lips has them regularly, and even Incubus & Moby have featured them in videos.
Categories: News

Vox.com: "9 questions about furries you were too embarrassed to ask"

Sat 27 Dec 2014 - 00:58
http://www.vox.com/2014/12/10/7362321/9-questions-about-furries-you-were-too-embarrassed-to-ask

9 questions about furries you were too embarrassed to askUpdated by Dylan Matthews on December 10, 2014, 8:00 a.m. ET

Nineteen attendees of the Midwest FurFest were sent to the hospital after an apparently intentional chlorine gas attack in the Hyatt hotel in Rosemont, Illinois, where the convention was being held.

Midwest FurFest is what's known as a "furry convention," aimed at members of the furry subculture. That group has come in for a lot of ridicule over the years from posters on sites like Something Awful and 4chan. Mainstream press accounts tend to portray furries as sexual fetishists united by a common interest in sex in animal costumes.


But survey evidence suggests a lot of these stereotypes are wrong (very few furries think sex in animal costumes is a good idea, for instance). Here's a brief guide to the furry community, which hopefully can clear up some of these misunderstandings.



1) So being a furry means you run around in a fur suit all the time, right?

anthrocon

Fur-suiters on parade at Anthrocon 2007. Note that most of the people on the convention floor aren't suited. (Douglas Muth)

Fur-suiting and the furry community tend to be conflated in the popular press, but research by the International Anthropomorphic Research Project, which studies the furry fandom, suggests fur-suiters are a minority of that community.

A 2007 survey found that only 26.4 percent of respondents at a furry convention reportedowning a fur-suit and 30 percent reported wearing one. A 2014 survey found that tails are the most commonly owned fur-suit component, with 48.1 percent of respondents at Furry Fiesta 2014 reporting owning a tail. Only 13 percent reported owning a full suit, while 34.3 percent reported wearing any clothing or accessories associated with their furry persona or "fursona" (more on that in a sec).

2) Is being a furry just a sexual fetish?

No, though, like with any other fan interest (video games, comics, etc.) there are sexual themes present. While sexual activity with other furries (known as "yiffing," after the sound foxes make during sex) is part of the subculture for some, others maintain a non-erotic interest in the subject.

Furries are typically subject to media portrayals that overemphasize the sexual aspect of the fandom, such as this bit from 30 Rock:


Furry Josh Strom explained to Boing Boing's Lisa Katayama, "We go to conventions to hang out with friends, maybe buy something like art or badges, go to a discussion panel or see a show. Swinger parties and fetishes are there, but that's not what the fandom is about." And the focus on sex in fur suits is particularly wrongheaded. For one thing, only a small minority of furries own full fur suits. For another, as Plante points out, "Nearly all fur-suiters will make it explicitly clear that sex in a fur suit is completely undesirable (not arousing, damaging to the suit, and not something they’re interested in doing)."

A survey at Furry Fiesta 2013 found that 96.3 percent of male respondents and 78.3 percent of female ones reported viewing furry pornography (which, it should be noted, is a broad category and typically quite similar to regular porn albeit with furry traits added); men reported looking at furry porn 41.5 times per month on average, while women reported looking 10.5 times per month.

But they also reported that most of their involvement in the fandom was non-sexual. Men reported spending 34 percent of their online roleplaying time on sexual content, and women reported spending only 21.4 percent. Nearly half of male furries, and a large majority of women, reported that sexual content played little or no role in their introduction to the fandom:

(International Anthropomorphic Research Project)

3) So what is a furry, then?

In the broadest sense, a furry is someone with an interest in anthropomorphized animals — that is, animals who have been given human characteristics, like an ability to talk or walk on their hind legs.

That encompasses a wide spectrum, from people who are simply fans of TV shows and video games featuring anthropomorphic animal characters (like Sonic the Hedgehog or Pokémon), to people who develop a highly specific furry character ("fursona") they identify with, to "otherkin" who see themselves as not fully human on a spiritual or mental level.

Dr. Courtney "Nuka" Plante, a social psychologist at the University of Waterloo and member of the Anthropomorphic Research Project team, analogizes furries to other fan groups, like comic book enthusiasts or Trekkers. "It has its origins in the science fiction fandom," he said. "If you like comic books with characters who are like animals, or artwork with humans with animal traits, those would be considered forms of furry artwork."

4) What is a fursona?

fursona

A fursona inspired by The Lion King (Nala15)

A fursona is a "furry-themed avatar" which furries use "to represent themselves when interacting with other members of the fandom," according to a recent paper by social psychologist Plante and fellow Anthropomorphic Research Project members Dr. Sharon Roberts, Dr. Stephen Reysen, and Dr. Kathy Gerbasi. "Nearly every furry has a fursona," Plante said. "It's well into the high 90s — 97 or 98 percent."

Crafting a fursona involves picking an animal — real or mythical — to represent yourself as, or, less commonly, designing a new mythical animal for yourself. Fursonas typically have names and are often the inspiration for artwork or fiction, but the degree of investment in them can vary. "For many it's just a cutesy avatar to represent yourself to people," Plante said. "For others, it's much more deep and meaningful."

5) Can I get a music break?

Of course! In addition to visual artists and fiction writers, many furries are accomplished musicians who create work with furry themes or otherwise blend their musical interests into their fandom. Here's Bucktown Tiger, a furry pianist, performing a movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata at Anthrocon, the world's largest furry convention held in Pittsburgh every year, in 2010:


6) So being a furry isn't really about sex. What do furry fans actually do, then?

You can divide furry fan activities into online fandom and furry conventions. In each case, the analogy to science fiction and comic book fandoms is strong. Fan art is an important part of furry fandom, just as it is for comic book fans. A 2012 synthesis from the Anthropomorphic Research Project, looking at several surveys conducted online and in various conventions, found that thevast majority of the most popular furry sites are art-related. Many of those sites — likeFurAffinity and SoFurry — also host furry-related fiction and music, and provide forums for fan discussion and community-building.

Conventions — which Plante says about half of furries attend on an annual or semiannual basis — create an in-real-life space for furries, many if not most of whom have met online, to hang out, and they also provide a way to talk to artists who are popular within the fandom. This is similar to how events like Comic Con let people talk to favorite movie directors and actors and comic artists. "It's like sci-fi fandom," Plante said. "If a fan is much more casual, it may be enough to buy the books and watch the movies. But for others, meeting JJ Abrams or meeting the voice actors from your favorite show is very meaningful."

Like fans in other communities, furries often report being bullied or ostracized in the past. "These conventions are the first places they could go to not be picked on for being into these comics or watching cartoons when they're no longer a kid," Plante said.

7) Are furries the same thing as bronies?

my little pony

The cast of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (My Little Pony)

No, but they're not totally disconnected either. "Bronies" refers exclusively to fans of the showMy Little Pony: Friendship is Magic; originally it only referred to male fans but the definition has been broadened in practice. Bronies share one basic commonality with furries: they're interested in anthropomorphized representations of animals. The 2012 survey synthesis found that nearly a quarter (23.5 percent) of furries identify as bronies. This wasn't the result of a brony "invasion" of furrydom, the results suggest, but rather a development of interest in the show by pre-existing furries.

About half of furries consider bronies a subgroup of furrydom; another 28 percent say they're related but not a subset, and 22 percent say there's no connection at all. There's a substantial degree of enmity toward bronies among furries as a whole, with 38 percent expressing negative views toward them compared to 36 percent reporting positive feelings and 26 percent reporting indifference.

Interestingly, there were very few demographic differences between the furry and brony fandoms. "With only a few minor exceptions," the researchers conclude, "furries and bronies are relatively indistinguishable from one another beyond the differences in the content of their fandom."

8) What kind of people are furries?

fursuiter

Fur-suiters before a rehearsal of the musical Furry Tales, the night before Anthrocon 2007. (GreenReaper)

Surveys suggest that furries are overwhelmingly male and white, are disproportionately likely to be gay, bi, or trans, and skew younger, with an average age in the mid-20s.

The 2012 survey synthesis estimated that 79.2 to 85.7 percent of furries at conventions were male, as were 78.3 to 84.6 percent of furries active online. A majority were atheist (44.36 percent) or agnostic (9.47 percent); 23.19 percent identify as Christian, 3.94 percent as Pagan, 1.91 percent as Wiccan, and 13.72 percent as "other."

Convention attendees were a bit older (24 to 27.1) on average than online furries (23 to 25.6) but in both cases the group skews quite young. Perhaps reflecting that, only 3.8 percent of furries have one or more children, according to survey evidence. Furries don't make significantly more or less money than the general US public and tend to be significantly more left-leaning politically. And they're much likelier than the public at large to report a non-straight sexual orientation, with well under 30 percent reporting exclusive heterosexuality:

(International Anthropomorphic Research Project)

A later study, conducted in early July 2014 at Anthrocon, found that almost 90 percent of respondents identified as white.

9) Do furries think they're animals?

It's complicated. About one in three furries report feeling not 100 percent human. A small fraction (8 to 14 percent) report meaning this in a physical sense, with many more stating they feel not fully human mentally or spiritually. About 38 to 53 percent report a desire to be 0 percent human, if they could be.

Furries and other people who identify as non-human in some substantial degree are known as "otherkin." "Therians" are otherkin who identify with, in whole or part, an actually existing species that live or have lived on Earth (wolves are the most common). Some reserve the term otherkin for those identifying as fictional or fantastical creatures (dragons, vampires, etc.) while others use it as a catch-all term.

Some researchers have suggested that the existence of otherkin and therians suggest these people could have a "Species Identity Disorder," modeled after "Gender Identity Disorder," which is used by psychiatrists to classify trans people. (Many trans people argue that theclassification of gender dysmorphia as a disorder is stigmatizing and counterproductive.) Critics have responded by arguing that the analogy obscures more than it enlightens.




Vox.com is a general interest news site for the 21st century. Its mission is simple: Explain the News.Vox is where you go to understand the news and the world around you. It treats serious topics seriously, candidly shepherding people through complex topics ranging from politics, public policy and world affairs to pop culture, science, business, food, sports and everything else that matters. Amassing over 5MM unique visitors in just over a month, Vox's unprecedented inception represents one of the most successful launches in digital and proves that this new kind of news site is truly fulfilling the previously unmet demand for explanatory journalism.
Categories: News

<img src="https://cdn1.vox-cdn.com

Thu 11 Dec 2014 - 03:18

http://www.vox.com/2014/12/10/7362321/9-questions-about-furries-you-were-too-embarrassed-to-ask


Nineteen attendees of the Midwest FurFest were sent to the hospital after an apparently intentional chlorine gas attack in the Hyatt hotel in Rosemont, Illinois, where the convention was being held.

Midwest FurFest is what's known as a "furry convention," aimed at members of the furry subculture. That group has come in for a lot of ridicule over the years from posters on sites like Something Awful and 4chan. Mainstream press accounts tend to portray furries as sexual fetishists united by a common interest in sex in animal costumes.

But survey evidence suggests a lot of these stereotypes are wrong (very few furries think sex in animal costumes is a good idea, for instance). Here's a brief guide to the furry community, which hopefully can clear up some of these misunderstandings.

1) So being a furry means you run around in a fur suit all the time, right?

anthrocon

Fur-suiters on parade at Anthrocon 2007. Note that most of the people on the convention floor aren't suited. (Douglas Muth)

Fur-suiting and the furry community tend to be conflated in the popular press, but research by the International Anthropomorphic Research Project, which studies the furry fandom, suggests fur-suiters are a minority of that community.

A 2007 survey found that only 26.4 percent of respondents at a furry convention reported owning a fur-suit and 30 percent reported wearing one. A 2014 survey found that tails are the most commonly owned fur-suit component, with 48.1 percent of respondents at Furry Fiesta 2014 reporting owning a tail. Only 13 percent reported owning a full suit, while 34.3 percent reported wearing any clothing or accessories associated with their furry persona or "fursona" (more on that in a sec).

2) Is being a furry just a sexual fetish?

No, though, like with any other fan interest (video games, comics, etc.) there are sexual themes present. While sexual activity with other furries (known as "yiffing," after the sound foxes make during sex) is part of the subculture for some, others maintain a non-erotic interest in the subject.

Furries are typically subject to media portrayals that overemphasize the sexual aspect of the fandom, such as this bit from 30 Rock:

Furry Josh Strom explained to Boing Boing's Lisa Katayama, "We go to conventions to hang out with friends, maybe buy something like art or badges, go to a discussion panel or see a show. Swinger parties and fetishes are there, but that's not what the fandom is about." And the focus on sex in fur suits is particularly wrongheaded. For one thing, only a small minority of furries own full fur suits. For another, as Plante points out, "Nearly all fur-suiters will make it explicitly clear that sex in a fur suit is completely undesirable (not arousing, damaging to the suit, and not something they’re interested in doing)."

A survey at Furry Fiesta 2013 found that 96.3 percent of male respondents and 78.3 percent of female ones reported viewing furry pornography (which, it should be noted, is a broad category and typically quite similar to regular porn albeit with furry traits added); men reported looking at furry porn 41.5 times per month on average, while women reported looking 10.5 times per month.

But they also reported that most of their involvement in the fandom was non-sexual. Men reported spending 34 percent of their online roleplaying time on sexual content, and women reported spending only 21.4 percent. Nearly half of male furries, and a large majority of women, reported that sexual content played little or no role in their introduction to the fandom:

(International Anthropomorphic Research Project)

3) So what is a furry, then?

In the broadest sense, a furry is someone with an interest in anthropomorphized animals — that is, animals who have been given human characteristics, like an ability to talk or walk on their hind legs.

That encompasses a wide spectrum, from people who are simply fans of TV shows and video games featuring anthropomorphic animal characters (like Sonic the Hedgehog or Pokémon), to people who develop a highly specific furry character ("fursona") they identify with, to "otherkin" who see themselves as not fully human on a spiritual or mental level.

Dr. Courtney "Nuka" Plante, a social psychologist at the University of Waterloo and member of the Anthropomorphic Research Project team, analogizes furries to other fan groups, like comic book enthusiasts or Trekkers. "It has its origins in the science fiction fandom," he said. "If you like comic books with characters who are like animals, or artwork with humans with animal traits, those would be considered forms of furry artwork."

4) What is a fursona?

fursona

A fursona inspired by The Lion King (Nala15)

A fursona is a "furry-themed avatar" which furries use "to represent themselves when interacting with other members of the fandom," according to a recent paper by social psychologist Plante and fellow Anthropomorphic Research Project members Dr. Sharon Roberts, Dr. Stephen Reysen, and Dr. Kathy Gerbasi. "Nearly every furry has a fursona," Plante said. "It's well into the high 90s — 97 or 98 percent."

Crafting a fursona involves picking an animal — real or mythical — to represent yourself as, or, less commonly, designing a new mythical animal for yourself. Fursonas typically have names and are often the inspiration for artwork or fiction, but the degree of investment in them can vary. "For many it's just a cutesy avatar to represent yourself to people," Plante said. "For others, it's much more deep and meaningful."

5) Can I get a music break?

Of course! In addition to visual artists and fiction writers, many furries are accomplished musicians who create work with furry themes or otherwise blend their musical interests into their fandom. Here's Bucktown Tiger, a furry pianist, performing a movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata at Anthrocon, the world's largest furry convention held in Pittsburgh every year, in 2010:

6) So being a furry isn't really about sex. What do furry fans actually do, then?

You can divide furry fan activities into online fandom and furry conventions. In each case, the analogy to science fiction and comic book fandoms is strong. Fan art is an important part of furry fandom, just as it is for comic book fans. A 2012 synthesis from the Anthropomorphic Research Project, looking at several surveys conducted online and in various conventions, found that the vast majority of the most popular furry sites are art-related. Many of those sites — like FurAffinity and SoFurry — also host furry-related fiction and music, and provide forums for fan discussion and community-building.

Conventions — which Plante says about half of furries attend on an annual or semiannual basis — create an in-real-life space for furries, many if not most of whom have met online, to hang out, and they also provide a way to talk to artists who are popular within the fandom. This is similar to how events like Comic Con let people talk to favorite movie directors and actors and comic artists. "It's like sci-fi fandom," Plante said. "If a fan is much more casual, it may be enough to buy the books and watch the movies. But for others, meeting JJ Abrams or meeting the voice actors from your favorite show is very meaningful."

Like fans in other communities, furries often report being bullied or ostracized in the past. "These conventions are the first places they could go to not be picked on for being into these comics or watching cartoons when they're no longer a kid," Plante said.

7) Are furries the same thing as bronies?

my little pony

The cast of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (My Little Pony)

No, but they're not totally disconnected either. "Bronies" refers exclusively to fans of the show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic; originally it only referred to male fans but the definition has been broadened in practice. Bronies share one basic commonality with furries: they're interested in anthropomorphized representations of animals. The 2012 survey synthesis found that nearly a quarter (23.5 percent) of furries identify as bronies. This wasn't the result of a brony "invasion" of furrydom, the results suggest, but rather a development of interest in the show by pre-existing furries.

About half of furries consider bronies a subgroup of furrydom; another 28 percent say they're related but not a subset, and 22 percent say there's no connection at all. There's a substantial degree of enmity toward bronies among furries as a whole, with 38 percent expressing negative views toward them compared to 36 percent reporting positive feelings and 26 percent reporting indifference.

Interestingly, there were very few demographic differences between the furry and brony fandoms. "With only a few minor exceptions," the researchers conclude, "furries and bronies are relatively indistinguishable from one another beyond the differences in the content of their fandom."

8) What kind of people are furries?

fursuiter

Fur-suiters before a rehearsal of the musical Furry Tales, the night before Anthrocon 2007. (GreenReaper)

Surveys suggest that furries are overwhelmingly male and white, are disproportionately likely to be gay, bi, or trans, and skew younger, with an average age in the mid-20s.

The 2012 survey synthesis estimated that 79.2 to 85.7 percent of furries at conventions were male, as were 78.3 to 84.6 percent of furries active online. A majority were atheist (44.36 percent) or agnostic (9.47 percent); 23.19 percent identify as Christian, 3.94 percent as Pagan, 1.91 percent as Wiccan, and 13.72 percent as "other."

Convention attendees were a bit older (24 to 27.1) on average than online furries (23 to 25.6) but in both cases the group skews quite young. Perhaps reflecting that, only 3.8 percent of furries have one or more children, according to survey evidence. Furries don't make significantly more or less money than the general US public and tend to be significantly more left-leaning politically. And they're much likelier than the public at large to report a non-straight sexual orientation, with well under 30 percent reporting exclusive heterosexuality:

(International Anthropomorphic Research Project)

A later study, conducted in early July 2014 at Anthrocon, found that almost 90 percent of respondents identified as white.

9) Do furries think they're animals?

It's complicated. About one in three furries report feeling not 100 percent human. A small fraction (8 to 14 percent) report meaning this in a physical sense, with many more stating they feel not fully human mentally or spiritually. About 38 to 53 percent report a desire to be 0 percent human, if they could be.

Furries and other people who identify as non-human in some substantial degree are known as "otherkin." "Therians" are otherkin who identify with, in whole or part, an actually existing species that live or have lived on Earth (wolves are the most common). Some reserve the term otherkin for those identifying as fictional or fantastical creatures (dragons, vampires, etc.) while others use it as a catch-all term.

Some researchers have suggested that the existence of otherkin and therians suggest these people could have a "Species Identity Disorder," modeled after "Gender Identity Disorder," which is used by psychiatrists to classify trans people. (Many trans people argue that the classification of gender dysmorphia as a disorder is stigmatizing and counterproductive.) Critics have responded by arguing that the analogy obscures more than it enlightens.


Categories: News

Meet the Penn State Furries!

Tue 9 Dec 2014 - 00:51

http://onwardstate.com/2014/03/31/meet-the-penn-state-furries/


When I made the descent into Irving’s basement, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. It was to be my first meeting with the Penn State Furries, the Happy Valley sector of the fan culture for people who like to, in its simplest form, dress up and pretend to be animals. My own naivety led me to expect someone like Todd Cleary from Wedding Crashers, or perhaps a unicorn-clad soul hunched up in the corner.

Instead, I found Cory Grube and Corey Friedenberger, two sociable and amicable members of the Penn State Furries club who are trying to bring the group back to its former glory.

Grube is a junior chemical-engineering major here at Penn State, and Friedenberger is a recent graduate and long time PSU Furries member. As someone who already had predispositions about the Furry community, the Cor(e)ys were quick to explain that the Furries are not a culty pack of weirdos.

“It’s always the bad egg that goes to the media and gives us a bad name,” said Friedenberger. “Most of us are just a bunch of people with the same anthropomorphic interest trying to have a good time.”

The Penn State Furries colonized in 2007 during Friedenberger’s freshman year, although the group’s membership eventually dwindled and became inactive with time. After hearing so many stories about the group’s former glory days, Grube decided he wanted to bring the club back to life.

“I was really disappointed at how stagnant the group became,” said Grube.  “I just wanted to grow my friend-base, while growing the friend-bases of others at the same time. More friends all around makes the world a better place, you know? Also, I really wanted to see it reach a place similar to where it was when Corey was a student. Whether that’s possible or not, I have no idea, but we’re going to try.”

The Penn State Furries group is independent from Penn State to allow non-students to participate. While still based around Penn State, anyone from State College is welcome to join, per the Facebook group description:

“For all those tail-waggers out there who bleed blue and white! This group is for current and incoming Penn State students, alumni, faculty/staff, and State College locals who are part of the anthropomorphic furry community in one form or another.”

The casual, open-armed attitude also translates into a strong bond among the Furries in its group. Take, for instance, its membership flier: “YOU ARE NOT ALONE! THERE ARE TONS OF FURS IN THE AREA LOOKING FOR FRIENDS LIKE YOU!”

YYHQi8W

Grube said the group has no plan to affiliate with the university any time soon, because he wants to maintain its loose schedule and officer-less structure.

“Having officers or leadership positions makes it too bureaucratic, at least for my tastes,” Grube said. “For the purpose of getting to know people, I don’t want to be the leader or president or whatever, I just want to be a friend.”

Additionally, even among the Furries community, the interests are so diverse it would be nearly impossible to hold an actual meeting.

“We could offer things at meetings like an open space for furry art critique, panels for teaching a skill like sewing, useful for things like fursuit making, or what have you,” Grube said. “The group is so spread out in terms of interests, so for any particular topic, we might only have 10 or 20 percent of the group that would be interested. It wouldn’t be a very effective means for getting to know each other, which is the core purpose of the group.”

Friedenberger considered affiliating with Penn State when he first started the group, but chose not to for the same reason. Despite the economic benefits that come with being an official club, it would be too formal for this liking.

“There’s no real subtext or motive to the group,” said Friedenberger. “It means different things to different people. For some people it’s spiritual, some people are really into anthropomorphic art, some people really feel they are an animal trapped in a human body, and others are just people who like to party.”

The highlight in the life of any “Fur” is attending the various Furries conferences. In January, a solid contingent from the PSU Furries attended Setsucon at the Penn Stater hotel, which is focused on anime.

“Small cons usually exude a cozy, friendly feeling,” said Grube. “Lucky for us, we have a small convention right at the Penn Stater, Setsucon. It’s not a furry convention in reality, but an anime convention. Regardless, it still draws in a lot of local furry artists, enthusiasts, and fursuiters. There are two reasons for this: Many furs have another common interest, anime. A secondary reason is that furries like conventions in general, as long as they get to hang out with friends and have a good time.”

There are dozens of larger Furry conventions across the country, including Anthrocon, held annually in Pittsburgh, and FurFest. Furries sometimes spend thousands of dollars on costumes for these conventions, often going by their names and personas from Fur Affinity, the largest online Furry community in the world.

The once annual convention in Detroit, Furry Connection North, became so popular that they had to shut it down after six years. This video helps illustrate the scene:

The Cor(e)ys told me that cons often start small at various cities, only to become insanely popular. The parties get bigger and more wild, and eventually the convention moves another hotel, as was the case with Furry Convention North. I was told more than a few times that Furries really know how to party and that’s what the community is for a lot of people: a group of people looking to have fun. Just, y’know, in costume.

Here is a video from a dance competition, which is often a highlight of the conventions. The furry in gray is a former Penn Stater.

Here are some photos of PSU Furries from this year’s Setsucon:

12596619@400-1390785044

12593197@400-1390759242

What’s important to note  about this group is that because their interest is so…unique, so is their friendship.

The Furry community is very accepting of people’s identities, especially in the LGBTA community. Discussions can range from weird stuff the Furs read on the Internet to casual conversations about sexuality — they come up all the time. It doesn’t matter if it’s at a con, a party, or even just at a coffee shop. Grube told this story from his last Anthrocon as an example of the virtue of the community:

“I feel like furs are more open-minded and chill about everything, in general. We were in our hotel, and it was probably 3 or 4 p.m. In fur-con time, that means it’s time to drink. So we’re going about that, when someone knocks at the door. We open the door, and some guy none of us know basically walks in while saying hi. He’s pretty smashed already, and offers us some beer. We proceed to have a conversation about lots of random stuff for probably 30 minutes before he left. None of us really knew what happened, but we were like ‘Eh he was pretty cool, I don’t mind.’ That’s the kind of chill attitude that lots of furs tend to possess.”

More than anything, though, Grube wants the Furries to be more than a label, more than an embarrassing sound byte or joke. At the end of the day, it allows a group of people to take their virtual interests and create friendships IRL. And really, that’s what the PSU Furries are all about.


Categories: News

Another MFF article

Mon 8 Dec 2014 - 15:56
And the award for the most inaccurate or misleading headline arising from the Midwest FurFest evacuation goes to...

...the Jamestown Sun, who are currently running an article with the headline 'Furries' forced to evacuate burning Chicago hotel...

http://www.jamestownsun.com/content/furries-forced-evacuate-burning-chicago-hotel
Categories: News

"We do our research here" O RLY?

Mon 8 Dec 2014 - 14:56
Categories: News

There, there, Mika.

Mon 8 Dec 2014 - 14:51
Categories: News

Not the sort of media coverage MFF

Sun 7 Dec 2014 - 13:02
Not the sort of media coverage MFF particularly wanted, but here are a few of the many news reports regarding the evacuation of the Midwest Furfest hotel:

* "FurFest evacuated after chlorine leak at Hyatt hotel" on abc7chicago.com:
http://abc7chicago.com/news/furfest-evacuated-after-chemical-leak-at-hyatt-hotel/425553/

* "Chemical spill in Rosemont sends 19 to the hospital, disrupts Midwest Fur Fest" on wgntv.com:
http://wgntv.com/2014/12/07/chemical-spill-in-rosemont-disrupts-midwest-furfest/

* "Chlorine Gas at FurFest May Have Been Released Intentionally, Police Say" on abc7chicago.com:
http://abc7chicago.com/news/chlorine-gas-at-furfest-may-have-been-released-intentionally-police-say/425781/

* "19 hospitalized, thousands evacuated in 'intentional' gas leak at Rosemont hotel" on the Chicago Tribune:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-19-hospitalized-thousands-evacuated-in-gas-leak-at-rosemont-hotel-20141207-story.html

* "Midwest FurFest interrupted by intentional chemical leak" on the Chicago Phoenix:
http://chicagophoenix.com/2014/12/07/midwest-furfest-interrupted-by-intentional-chemical-leak/
Categories: News

‘Furry' frenzy in West Knoxville through Sunday

Sat 8 Nov 2014 - 13:01

Here is an article, dated November 7, in the Knoxville News Sentinel:

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/local-news/furry-frenzy-in-west-knoxville-through-sunday_98904041

It covers this weekend's Fangcon convention.


The Knoxville Zoo is offering free admission to all visitors Saturday and Sunday, but it isn’t the only place to find interesting animal activity in Knoxville this weekend.

The “Furries” or “Fursuiters,” as they prefer to be called, have convened in West Knoxville for FangCon 2014 at the Holiday Inn near Cedar Bluff.

Fursuiters are, of course, not real animals. They are people who like to dress up as animals and, well, party.

According to Garfield McLaughlin, or Draconis, as he calls himself, a Fursuiter is anyone who wears a costume, but typically it is a person “who wears fur from head to toe.”

McLaughlin is the Chairman of FangCon 2014. He said people have different reasons for attending the convention.

“A lot of them are enthusiasts,” he said. “Some people really like Halloween, and these guys have it several times a year. It’s Halloween all year long.”

The Fursuiters like to delve deep into their alter egos. Most wear animal costumes that cover their human features and prefer to be called by their Fursuiter name.

“It’s fun because you interact with many Furries and they are all so lovely and the art is amazing,” said Amanda Vigil, a Fursuiter known as Mystic Skullivine.

For many attendees, the convention allows them to break away from their normal routine and become something else completely.

“People come and dress in their “fursona,” and, basically, that’s a person who dresses as an animal or something that they can relate to,” said Brett Peterpaul, also known as Nebulous Dark.

McLaughlin got his start as a Fursuiter in the 1990s in Florida at “Furry Spring Break.” He was attending the event as a consultant at the time.

“I saw how much fun these people were having and I went out after that and bought myself a suit,” he said.

Organizers for FangCon 2014 are expecting 300 or more attendees. Approximately 150 people had already registered as of Friday. McLaughlin said he is hoping to recruit even more people from the Fanboy Expo at the Knoxville Convention Center this weekend.

“We will be advertising over at Fanboy Expo,” McLaughlin said. “They end at like 7 p.m., and we don’t do that. We end at like 2 a.m.”

FangCon 2014 will host CD release parties for two well-known artists in the fandom world. Husky in Denial and Niic the Singing Dog will perform live to promote their albums.

There will also be a Fursuiter parade, a Furry Drama Show, and dozens of other events throughout the weekend.

“As you see, we have a lot of entertainment coming through this weekend,” McLaughlin said. “We cram it all in there.”

FangCon 2014 will hold a silent auction to raise money for Tiger Haven, a large cat sanctuary in Kingston, Tenn. Last year the event raised nearly $2,000 for the organization.

FangCon is in its third year in Knoxville and McLaughlin hopes to continue that tradition. He is hoping to have a World’s Fair theme event in the coming years. FangCon 2014 began Friday and will wrap up on Sunday. Members of the public can register at the hotel. ​
Categories: News

Anthropomorphic arts, beautiful beasts, and clever critters at Fur Reality 2014

Tue 14 Oct 2014 - 09:51

Here, dated October 14, is an article on the news site examiner.com:

http://www.examiner.com/article/anthropomorphic-arts-beautiful-beasts-and-clever-critters-at-fur-reality-2014

It concerns last weekend's Fur Reality convention in Cincinnati.


Sunday night 10/12/2014 brought to close Cincinnati's first annual anthropomorphic convention, Fur Reality by Ringtail Cafe. Fur Reality was actually initiated in 2013 as a part of an event of the Pandora Society. In 2013 the anthropomorphic events brought so many people that they had to get additional convention and hotel space. 2014 was Fur Reality's first full con adventure on their own and they pulled it off amazingly well.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Anthropomorphic, aka furry, fandom, it is an amazingly creative fandom of folks that love the stories, cartoons, artwork, and other aspects of humanized animals. As pointed out in an interview with one of the celebrities of the fandom, Uncle Kage, this weekend, anthropomorphic art and story telling goes back to the earliest of times when paintings and statues included the heads of animals with the bodies of humans and vice versa and includes literature such as Aesop's Fables and the Bible.

The furry community is known for its artists and other creative genius and that creativity was in evidence throughout the weekend. The whole convention revolved around an immersive storyline and game that rivaled what one might only find at larger conventions like Gen Con and surpassed the quality and creative focus that this writer has observed at most other events.

Participants received the convention booklet with a beautiful, full color comic introduction to weekends story. A computer, The Machine, that was designed to serve humanity has concluded that the best way to serve is to integrate/assimilate humanity (and furmanity, of course!) into her core.

In an effort to end the hostilities without further bloodshed and loss of resources, The Machine has agreed to a weekend competition. The winner of the most points receives humanity as the prize. If humanity wins, the computer agrees to a reboot, but if she wins, humanity will be assimilated without further resistance.

The points were awarded for solving puzzles, helping out with the convention, making purchases in the vendor's room, and attending/participating in events. The point counters were four different sets of double sided, full colored, glossy, business sized cards that were collected at the end of the weekend. The Machine had times over the weekend when ticket holders could turn in their tickets for spins on a prize wheel and win trinkets to take home with them.

The events of the weekend included lectures and demonstrations related to costumes, comics, and other creativity, karaoke, comedic performances by Xander the Blue, Alkali Bismuth, and the incomparable Uncle Kage. Games and gaming were also a big part of the convention from board and role-playing games to fursuit games like hot potato and musical chairs. In the main events area a life-sized board game was set up with the playing pieces (convention participants standing on the squares) going around the audience. The players in front rolled beach ball sized dice to move the playing pieces around the board. The squares they landed on would determine the next competitive game that the rest of the team members would play from pool noodle sword fighting to Nerf duels.

While not engaging in gaming or sitting in on seminars and stories with Uncle Kage and others, the attendees could visit the artist alley and purchase their creative works or stop by the vendors hall and peruse a plethora of potential purchases. The fine folks at Misc-Etcetera broke through this writers resistance and ended a spree of several events without making a purchase, with a piece of jewelry that will be added to his steampunk gear. Also in the vendors room were legos you could play with and a fun display of anthropomorphic Legos by Rodney Dicus of the Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana Lego Users Group, and the creator and minions of "Kitsune of Foxes and Fools."

During the closing ceremony Sunday evening the audience was invited to turn in their points and their tickets were counted to determine the fate of humanity as well as award prizes for the most of tickets of each category and the most tickets of all types of tickets. As it turned out, The Machine was a few tickets short on assimilating humanity. Oh, and rumors that this writer may have inadvertently placed his tickets in The Machine's ballot box are merely rumors (besides, her ticket receptacle was purple and she's cute!)

Categories: News

"Furries!" and "What's a therian?"

Mon 6 Oct 2014 - 14:43
Here are a pair of segments broadcast on Australian radio network Triple J.


First (from September 22) is "Furries!", which coincided with Sydney's 2014 FurJAM event:
Hack takes you inside the furry community to find out why people love dressing up as furry animals. Is it a sex thing? A creative outlet? Or, just a way to belong?http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/hack/stories/s4092570.htm
On SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/triple-j-hack/furries



A week later they followed up with "What's a therian?":
You would have heard of transgender, but have you heard of 'trans-species'? Hack takes you inside the home of two people who say despite their human bodies, they're dragons. And they're not alone. Around the world there are thousands of people known as therians who believe their spirit is an animal.https://soundcloud.com/triple-j-hack/whats-a-therian
Categories: News