Courtesy of Alamo City Furry Invasion (ACFI).

Local furries provide insight to their fursonas.

 

Everyone has a hobby they enjoy. For some, it may be a physical hobby such as soccer or something more sedentary such as video games.

Maybe your hobby gives you a sense of community or simply an activity to pass the time, regardless it gives those who practice it an outlet to engage and express parts of their identity. And yes, that includes furries.

To the uninitiated, a furry is simply an individual who admires an anthropomorphized animal character or, in other words, an animal with human-like attributes.

Think of Looney Tunes and Disney cartoons. Iconic characters such as Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse are excellent depictions of the furry aesthetic, despite predating the fandom.

If the character can talk, walk on two feet, wear clothes or possess any other traits or behaviors associated with humans, then it is considered a furry.

Much of society is unfamiliar with furries, which causes misunderstanding and even hostility toward them.

When people think of furries, they envision a person in an animal costume, but that is not the case for all furry fans.

Many furries do not dress up for an assortment of reasons, either because the costumes are too expensive or simply because they are not interested in it.

For those who do dress up, it allows them to engage their fursona. A fursona is the persona a furry acts out when he or she is inside the fursuit.

Demo Weasel in his foxy fursona. Brand Armstead, The Paisano

Like cosplay and Halloween, the individual is playing a character and may behave differently from their everyday self, while others identity with their fursonas in their day to day lives.

“Generally with a lot of people with fursonas, that isn’t the only thing that makes them who they are, yet the fursona is a part of them. I identify with the cleverness and slyness of foxes, but the character that I am dressed up as now is only sort of like me,” said Demo Weasel, PAX South attendant who dresses up as a fox.

Another important feature of the furry community is the artwork. Type in the word “furry” in Google and some of the first images to pop up will be of drawings.

A substantial part of the fandom revolves around artwork, according to Demo Weasel, “a lot of people have different outlets for creativity… for me, as a furry, I use my creativity to draw.

“I grew up watching a lot of Disney movies, and it has had an enormous influence on what I wanted to do for my artwork.”

Media giants such as Disney and Warner Bros created classic cartoons for generations to enjoy and thus captured the imagination of children who eventually became furries.

A significant amount of people associate being a furry with having a sexual fetish, however this is only partially true.

There is adult artwork present on the Internet, but just as not all furries wear fursuits, not all furries have a fetish. Because of this assumption hate and harassment is generated towards the furry community.

On Jan. 20, the Alamo City Furry Invasion (ACFI) is hosting a furmeet that will take place from 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. There will be a playscape, trails, dog enclosure and basketball courts. The event is a potluck, so participants should bring food. Dressing up is not a requirement to attend. For more information go to FurryInvasion.org or their Facebook page.

Ultimately, furries are not that different from the rest of us. Look at how videogames, Dungeons & Dragons and anime have transitioned from initially being misunderstood by the public to being accepted into the mainstream. Today, most will not even bat an eye if you enjoy these hobbies. Because of that, some are hopeful the furry fandom will eventually be accepted.

Demo Weasel is optimistic, “I think as time goes on more and more people will become aware of it, realize their friends are furries and that will change perception.”

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