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What It's Like to Date When You Live as a 'Furry'

Most people associate giant furry figures with childhood birthday parties and sports events.

To some, however, a furry costume is part of a larger lifestyle and an element of identity.

For the past few decades, furry fandom has existed as a subculture of people who are interested in anthropomorphic animal characters with human characteristics.

They call themselves furries, and many of them wear animal costumes, which they call fursuits. Some furries like to wear full-body costumes; others wear only partial costumes.

Etsy fursuit

Furries interact at furry conventions, which take place all over the United States. The world's largest furry convention is Anthrocon, and it is held annually in Pittsburgh.

 

A photo posted by Karoo (@kingfennec) on

Why are people interested in furry fandom?

Instagram user @Beaveresque, whose furry name is Jaxen, identifies as a furry because he enjoys "the idea of a diverse culture of anthropomorphic animals," he told ATTN: via email. Jaxen provided ATTN: with digital photos of his "fursona" (furry persona). He said that many furries commission custom artwork to "visually associate themselves with their character when attending furry events."

Jaxen furry

"I love the creativity of the community and enjoy contributing to the artistic side of the fandom myself," Jaxen said. "I have a particular animal that I have an affinity with — a beaver — because of a geographical connection to areas where beavers live and sharing a number of personality traits with the species. All in all, I identify as a furry because it’s fun."

Instagram user @milkshakekittyart, whose fursona name is Ember, is also drawn to the beautiful artwork within furry fandom, she told ATTN: via email.

"I identify as a furry because the concept of animals with human characteristics is fascinating to me," she said. "The community is really what draws me in, with the beautiful art and fursuit works."

 

A photo posted by @milkshakekittyart on

What it's like to date as a furry.

Many in the furry community date fellow furries or those who understand the way of life. There are a few dating websites specifically geared towards dating furries.

"Dating is quite normal," Ember told ATTN:. "I prefer to date people who understand and accept me as a furry and my hobbies relating to furries. So, yes, I will date non-furries, as long as they tolerate my furry ways."

A furry who calls himself Dodger expressed a similar sentiment to ATTN: via email:

"It's just like a regular relationship. For all you know, you can be dating a furry and not even know it. I'd like to think of it as acceptance (more of a bonus) if whoever I was dating was not a furry, just because then I'd have that acceptance. To them I'm not against dating non-furries and not against dating furries. I'm not going to hinder myself for something that simple."

Jaxen said that he met his husband, who is also a furry, on OK Cupid.

Jaxen furry

"I had no idea that we had a common interest in the fandom until he timidly asked if it was a relationship deal ­breaker that he was a furry," he said. "Au contraire!"

Coming out to "non-furs."

Some furries come forward about their furry fandom to non-furry friends, relatives, and co-workers. But others are more private. Jaxen said that only some people in his life know he is a furry.

"It’s not something I advertise or proclaim from the mountaintops," he said. "I have friends who know, and at least one brother probably has some idea of my involvement in the furry fandom. If someone asked, 'Are you a furry?' I wouldn’t hesitate to say 'yes,' but it’s not something I offer up unsolicited."

Jaxen

Jaxen added that he has a full-time job and has worked at the same company for about 10 years. Just a few of his colleagues are aware that he is a furry:

"There are a couple people who know of my association with the furry fandom, but not many. It’s not really something that belongs in the workplace, since it’s essentially just a really enthusiastic hobby, not prevalent in my everyday life."

Ember said that her friends have championed her fursona and that she sometimes works for her dad, who also supports furries:

"My friends put up with me constantly talking about my furry art and fursuits. They find it interesting as well; however, most are not a part of the community. I do have some online friends who are furries."

Dodger said that most of his friends know he is a furry, but his co-workers don't, as he likes to keep his personal life and work life separate.

The online abuse facing furries.

Jaxen and Ember said that they have both faced tremendous abuse from people who criticize the furry lifestyle. Ember said that haters taunt furries because they view the furry fandom as a perverted sexual fetish and don't take it seriously.

 

A photo posted by @milkshakekittyart on

"I have received hate from people who dislike or even hate furries," Ember said. "On Instagram, it is not very unusual to receive comments or messages such as 'Kill yourself,' 'This is cancer,' or other offensive remarks. Usually this dislike of furries is centered around the smaller sexual side of the furry 'fandom,' or fan community."

Jaxen said that he has "absolutely faced backlash" from online bullies, but not offline, as he restricts his "furry­ness to furry events and furry places."

"Furries are low­-hanging fruit to antagonists on the internet. Because it’s a subculture that can be difficult to understand for some people, it’s often the target of ridicule and derision. It’s easy enough to just ignore it, however; I have better things to do with my time than go up against people who obviously have nothing better to do with their time."

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