choose your animal!

A guide to furries and furry fandom: The celebration of anthropomorphized animals

A man wearing a zebra hat and t-shirt.

Furries know what it’s like to be ridiculed or stigmatized for existing, but their interest in anthropomorphized animals boulders through hate with a community of millions. 

Although furry fandom is encompassed largely by LGBTQ+ people, the subculture is energized by all kinds of individuals finding power in anthropomorphic fantasy. But let Queerty show you how it collides with gayness. 

What is a furry?

A woman cradling herself wearing fox ears and tail.

A furry could be anyone interested in anthropomorphic animal characters, which makes room for all ages. But more than 75% of furries reported being 25 years of age or younger

Most people would be surprised to know they were a furry at one point or another, including anyone who has ever celebrated Pokémon, Sonic the Hedgehog, or cartoons featuring animals exhibiting human intelligence and facial expressions, talking, walking on two legs, and wearing clothing.

Adult furries take their passion to more visually unique levels at cosplays and community-organized events. Most interactions happen in virtual environments or at regional and international conferences.

Fandoms and the queer identity 

A group of people dancing wearing different animal heads and suit colors from the rainbow.

Gay furries are the most visible face of the fandom, and with good reason. The queer identity is often caged by patriarchal values, and many LGBTQ+ folks find freedom from gender or sexuality through fantasy. 

Just as gamers, drag queens, or Trekkies feel more aligned with queerness through the realm of their passion, many furries identify with the joy of using fandom to escape heteronormativity. But let’s be clear escaping is not the same as having a blurred view on reality.

A man wearing a yellow shirt on the computer and sitting on a bean bag.

Countless bullied teens and young adults found their first sense of acceptance or friendship within fandoms. No identity or sexuality is controversial when everyone is a mystical, gorgeous animal. Chat forums are a treasure trove for information, art, and human connection. 

Queer youth naturally gravitate to furry culture to express themselves beyond the chains of their bodies and society. You’ll find plenty of marginalized folks, including people with disabilities, who echo the same sentiment. 

The furry phenomenon started out from sci-fi

A mean wearing green sweats and a golden gorilla mask kneeling down with his fist on the floor.

The furry subculture was coined in a sci-fi conference in the 1980s to describe an anthropomorphic strand of fantasy art. 

The internet has propelled it into an international movement that continues to grow steadily.

There’s really no guide to being a furry beyond sharing an interest in animals taking on human traits, whether it be figures from entertainment, culture, or your imagination. 

Nowadays, we even have proud pansexual furries landing on the moon.

Most furries don’t want to have sex in a mascot costume

There are a lot of misconceptions about furries, but the most harmful one is the fetishization of the fandom by people who know nothing about it. Or unhinged politicians grasping for idiocy in its purest form. But what else is new?

Being a furry is not sexual. Are there people wearing ‘mursuits’ who want to ‘yiff’ (that’s slang for furry sex in full suits)? Yes, but that’s a small number that can be found in any fandom. 

The community gathers at specially organized events, and their socializing revolves around celebrating science fiction, anthropomorphic comic books, and fan art.

But don’t put a chastity belt on their identity. Since most self-identifying furries are in their younger 20s, it’s not surprising a majority report at one point viewing furry porn (which could be no different than watching people have sex with cat ears on).

Also, you won’t necessarily find a fur-suit congregation. Studies show most furries don’t own a full animal suit. Instead, animal tails and ears, perhaps a symbolizing t-shirt, are the most common accessories. 

Vox reports that about one in three furries feel less than 100 percent human. But it shouldn’t be interpreted that they’re roaming around as centaurs. Trans and nonbinary folks can understand feeling disconnected from their body, which explains why they feel liberated in the fandom. 

How to become a furry

Again, to become a furry, you only need to desire it. It’s like becoming a fan of Marvel or the Housewives franchise – you don’t need permission. And may we point out that both groups have their own conventions? 

Being a furry is only seen as controversial because of the stigmatization of the fandom and the large presence of queer people. But don’t let the ignorance of others prevent you from living your best anthropomorphized life. 

What unites most furries is the creation of a ‘fursona’ (furry persona), which they use to present themselves in online chatrooms and as inspo for the characters they take on during gatherings. Consider it like your avatar – the creature can be as magical or ordinary as you please. 

The furry fandom always has room for one more.

LGBTQ+ culture is our favorite fandom! Subscribe to the Queerty newsletter to put it on full speed ahead.

Don't forget to share: