I sat down with Allison Barrios, attendee and self-proclaimed furry, to discuss the stereotypes surrounding the furry fandom.
“It’s really just a bunch of people that love anthropomorphic art,” Allison explained. “The thing that got me into it was the art.” There were even specific drawing rooms you could sit in to share and create sketches and art pieces. The “Dealers Den” was the main expo dedicated to art and design.
Media access at the convention was tightly controlled and restricted. I soon realized a fear of the media has developed over time in the community due to dramatized and jarring ways the community has been represented. “Unfortunately people will always be looked down upon about it, but almost anyone will be looked down upon that isn’t the current flow of whatever’s popular,” Allison mentioned.
“Some people, especially those that believe that they are the top…will mess with you, and there are some cases where furries have been hassled. Some really bad cases.” Allison remarked. “It’s important to have people you trust that you know will not just chicken [out] and leave you, but that can protect you.”
“I mean, imagine the fur itself is expensive and you do not want to ruin it,” Barrios said, “because that’s just like $3,000 down the drain right there.” While attending a costuming workshop, I realized fursuits are mostly handmade. Everyone spends weeks if not months bringing their work to life. Just the fur can cost upwards of $2,000.
“If anything, everyone is just happy and friendly and just really, ‘hey come join us,’ you know,” Allison remarked. There were numerous special interest groups including Off-Road Furries dedicated to off-roading sports and Fur Fans in the Military.
I was surprised to see the vast majority of attendees in everyday clothes, with just a tail sticking out or ears on. Some attendees weren’t wearing any type of animal paraphernalia. “If you had a fursuit and you put it on, it sort of just elevates the level of that species that your acting in,” Allison remarked.
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