Hating furries proves you’re uneducated

UTD has a bustling furry community, but why are these fans of humanoid animals treated like sexual predators and social outcasts?

Anika Sultana | Mercury Staff

Everyone knows furries are embarrassing, creepy perverts – but how much of that belief stems from miseducation? Whether uploading illustrations of their humanoid animal personas — better known as fursonas — online or dressing up as their characters for community meetups, the furry community’s rapid growth has received an explosive backlash for being inherently sexual, according to some. Furries receive hate, ridicule and skepticism for creating erotic content of anthropomorphic animals, but this disdain is undeserved and unhelpful. It mischaracterizes the furry community as a chiefly sexual and dangerous place, minimizes furries’ material contribution to society, and further stigmatizes already vulnerable people.

A lot of furry art and culture is sexual, no doubt. Studies report that over 50% of furries have sexual interest in humanoid animals, and NSFW material is easy to come by in furry-centric spaces. However, having a private interest in sex and showing it publicly are two completely different things. The truth is that the sexual content is really only there if you seek it. Online furry spaces self-segregate erotic content away from underage and unwilling participants. The majority of furry conventions are nonsexual and open to all ages, such as Texas’ own Furry Fiesta, and the majority of fursuits are not designed for sex. Sexuality researchers even regard zoophilia — attraction to animals, which furries are accused of supporting — and furries’ interest in humanlike creatures as two separate subjects. Many furries exist nonsexually within the community, and they are unnecessarily shamed for a harmless interest.

Even if the community has sexual components, shunning all furries for their sexual interests is nonsensical. It suggests any community with a sexual current is defined by that sexuality, rather than being capable of separating family-friendly material from erotic content. Homophobes weaponize the same argument against queer people, arguing their “deviant” sexuality taints nonsexual community bastions like pride parades and drag shows. While some of these spaces are indeed sexually explicit, others are family friendly, and it’s unfair to paint them all with the same brush.

Shunning a community necessarily opens more avenues for abuse and exploitation. If a young person with an interest in furry content joined the fandom and found everyone in their life loathed furries, they would feel ganged up upon. They might devote more time to the community, thinking of it as the only place they belong and isolating themselves from others. This opens an easy path to radicalization; the rise of alt-right ideology in the furry community has been linked to feeling outcast from broader society. This would be far less likely in a world where furries aren’t abhorred, and don’t feel marginalized because of their interests. Social acceptance and open dialogue will always trump shame when it comes to educating and protecting people, especially society’s “undesirables.”

Furry fandom isn’t just something to tolerate, but a community worth appreciating. Thousands of people find meaning and friendship among other furries, learn new skills like art and event organizing, and even make a living from enthusiastic supporters. In 2023, the fandom collectively raised $1.4 million for charitable causes, including LGBTQ+ servicing organizations and animal welfare causes. And every year, the Pittsburgh economy booms when furries arrive from across the U.S. to the world’s largest furry convention, Anthrocon. And since a plurality of furries are bisexual, the fandom often acts as a queer-friendly support group.

UTD has a thriving furry community praised by its members for being a safe, accepting space where people help each other out — but many find themselves petrified of being ridiculed or harassed on campus should their secret be exposed. For an interest as harmless as enjoying humanoid animals, interacting with likeminded fans and participating in a community that champions tolerance and charity, the current stigma makes no sense. Sure, that person in your programming class with a blue wolf laptop sticker might have a sexual interest unlike yours, but that isn’t necessarily true, nor is it helpful to stigmatize.

Next time your friend brings up furries in a mocking tone, push back against the undue ridicule. Next time you see someone in a fursuit, give them a smile. The truth is, they’re no different from you.

  • Hello, I’ve read your article and I don’t quite agree with your claims made, would you like to discuss this article on discord? My username is samehereramen and I’m in the UTDallas Discord. Let me know if you are interested.

  • Chat I think this article is a certified w. I in fact do use my laptop with a blue wolf sticker in my programming class uwu. :3

  • Hell yeah more love for furries! It’s always great to see stories covering UTD’s thriving furry community <3 also since this article is receiving some unnecessary and misinformed hate on the UTD subreddit, there's a video by a favorite music artist of mine that delves into how human sexuality is informed/expressed within the furry fandom, and it's both informative and very funny! I'd recommend giving it a watch if you're on the fence with how you feel about furries ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws9g3igw51s )

  • I am interested in the Discord, and I am a Protogen and My name is Kool Fox and My real name is Khoptikk and Gay and Male I live in Madera, CA. I show off my dance moves to furries and other Popfurs like Majira Strawberry People on the internet need to stop hating Furries and they need respected the LGBTq and Furry community and Fandom. I dont want to lose this Fandom and I am always right by your side. Its the Youtuber Packgod and Flashgitz fault made the sexual thing. I am telling the truth

  • Reading this, I’m starting to wish I applied to UTD. It’s alright though, I’ve lived here in Texas for too long. I’m going to try and make a Furry club called ‘Furry Friends’ at Norwich University (where I’ll be going) if I can. Though I will try and come back down here for TFF or TSF if my schedule allows it, since I’ll be in Vermont.

  • I have read the title and I don’t eppreciate that you said that people that does not like furry’s are unedducated, it is probably you that is uneducated because tyou clearly do not know how human brain work, it is not because you have a different opinion than other’s that you can say that they are uneducated. So if you do not change de title i will sue you.

    • Since you clearly do not know how to spell or use grammar correctly, you seem to be the one that the label “uneducated” fits most.

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