Going to Furfest 2017 was an eye-opening experience, when you hear the word “furry” you may respond negatively. Why all this judgement? What is this fandom all about? Furries are a geek sub-culture that mimics animals who have human like qualities, taking on an anthropomorphic creature persona; or a fursona as they call it. This community is quite controversial in the geek culture, since it’s very eccentric compared to the other communities. Often associated with a fixation towards animals, including sexualizing well-known creatures from various animes and video games. Having such a negative connotation can be difficult for this community to thrive. For some people, typically outside of this community, it can feel intimidating or even uncomfortable around this specific community. With many preconceived notions of what the furries were about, I expected Furfest to be somewhat strange. Shockingly enough, the furries are the most relaxed, accepting groups in all of the geek culture.
Unlike large scaled anime or comic book conventions, there is no feeling of judgement. Common insecurities are obsolete when attending a furry convention. Especially knowing you’re in a room packed with people dressed in colorful fursuits. Instead of being bombarded by flawless cosplayers, that look photoshopped in real life, you see furries. These delightful creatures that are reminiscent of soft, walking stuffed animals. You get an odd sense of security because many of the anthropomorphic suits are nostalgic of something out of your childhood.
Another aspect of this convention that was a surprise, was a majority of whom identify as a furry, also identify in the spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community. It was refreshing to see that these people attending this convention could freely be themselves, in safe haven with no worries of people judging them. Whether it be for their sexuality or their furry persona. Expressing yourself and being in company with others who understand what you enjoy is an extraordinary feeling.
At the end of the day most people want to be accepted, being in one of the most unusual geek communities, but the most accepting. This convention offers a secure, laid-back vibe that is the perfect place for furries. People who attend these conventions who aren’t immersed in this type of culture, should keep an open mind. Though it may seem odd at first, but you may find it quirky or at the least tolerable in the end. Though there are many rumors to furries, it is a common misconception of what they truly are. Many furries use these personas to portray how they feel and how they want to be. Giving many individuals the confidence and motivation to pursue what some would never attempt without the fursuit. It’s extremely positive for many types of geeks, this could even apply to cosplay not just furries. With numerous stereotypes surrounding the furry community, the line between negative and positive could be difficult to see. No, it was not “cringy” or filled with perverts in fur covered costumes like most would believe. It was a collection of geeks who wanted to have a swell time, with others who understand them. Personally, while attending Furfest 2017 I was greeted with a warm welcome and ended up with a better understanding of this interesting sub-culture. This was a pleasant experience, I am grateful I had the opportunity to attend. If you have not gone to FurFest… GO!