Editorial: The Elephant in the Fandom

NOTE: This post is going to talk about politics. Even if we like to talk about fictional animals, furries are still human beings, and politics is at its heart how humans relate. “I don’t care/want to talk about politics!” is itself a statement of privilege– because that means you are in a position where you don’t need to care– and therefore paradoxical as it may sound that is still a political stance.

It has taken me a long time to write this post, for a variety of reasons, but more than anything else, it has been this post that caused proudtobeafurry.org to go quiet for so long after AnthroCon. As Editor-In-Chief I didn’t feel like I could in good conscience just keep putting up fluffy posts without addressing the issue, but I also had to work out just what it was I wanted to say.

2016 and 2017 have been a rough year in the United States. Our elections were manipulated, all the worst elements of our society were empowered or even exalted, and it has been a near-daily deluge of horribleness ever since. The “alt-right,” which is an over-polite term for a massive knot of fascists, racists, homophobes, and misogynists, have come out from under their rocks and are now waving flags and running people down in the street.

Not going to lie. The situation is bad. Vocal chunks of America are trying their hardest to recreate 1930s Germany, for reasons that range from misguided to downright delusional. The good news is that even larger chunks of America are fighting back– and we have the historical example to realize what we’re up against. The alt-right will go down and go down hard, eventually: the inevitable end for the whole mentality is self-destruction. But the rest of us are still going to have a big mess to clean up by the time it’s all over.

Where does furry fit in to all of this? Well, furry is a geek-heavy subculture, and geek-heavy subcultures are being deliberately targeted for infiltration and subversion. The phenomenon has been widely reported, and Dogpatch Press has done a very good job of breaking it down in particular reference to the furry fandom.

So now we have these people calling themselves “alt-furry.” FFS.

These people have been around, of course. Back in the ’90s when I was hanging out in alt.fan.furry/alt.lifestyle.furry they were around. They were generally spurned or at least ignored, for reasons ranging from The Geek Social Fallacies to a more basic “Ain’t got time for your crap.” But in 2016 and 2017, just as the alt-right was crapping all over American society, these people started crapping all over the furry fandom.

The avowed policy of proudtobeafurry.org is that we celebrate what we like, instead of complaining about what we don’t. But as much as we wish to highlight that which is good, it would be hypocritical to ignore that this conflict is going on around us. We are here to talk about what is awesome in the furry fandom, and that includes Inclusion, Creativity, Positivity, Tolerance, and Love– but that also means we stand in direct opposition to “alt-furry” and everything associated with it.

“It’s just a joke!” and similar rationalizations also get no pass from us. “Pretending to be a jerk” is inherently a jerkish thing to do. Pretending to advocate genocide “for the lulz” is no better than actually advocating genocide. Trolling by its nature makes people unhappy and is a mean-spirited behavior.

We are proud to be furries, and we oppose anyone who would bring the fandom down. Fascists and bigots of any variety are not welcome here until you discard those poisonous views and behaviors– and even then you will have to work to regain the fandom’s trust.

-The Gneech

Road to Anthrocon: Interacting with Fursuiters

Suiting Up, by tiger_tomWhen many people think of furry conventions, they think of fursuits with their flashy colors, animal faces, and lots and lots of fur! Whether toony or realistic, fursuits are the most noticeable and vibrant aspects of furry conventions. They are walking, talking (or squeaking) art, most of which costs upwards of thousands of dollars. Plus, they’re downright adorable.

But it’s not all fun and games for fursuiters. Between the heat of all the fake fur, poor vision and walking around wearing basically clown shoes for feet, things can quickly go bad for them. This is why it’s up to us non-suiters to be aware of fursuiters and know how to act around them. Here are just a few tips to help you get ahead in interacting with fursuiters.

Continue reading “Road to Anthrocon: Interacting with Fursuiters”

Road to Anthrocon: What to Pack!

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/110466270@N03/11184804426

When it comes to packing for conventions there are usually two mindsets: the people who started packing two months ago and the people who start packing two hours before their flight. With only weeks before the convention, no matter which you are it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to take with you.

Some of these are going to be basics that you should take for any long term trip away from home; others convention specific items. Since this is a furry blog, there will be some furry specific items that you should consider taking as well.

And I don’t mean the cat. Take the cat out of the luggage.

Continue reading “Road to Anthrocon: What to Pack!”

Road to Anthrocon: What to do!

Source: Anthrocon 2016 Opening and Closing Ceremonies Highlights (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIQin-0itlY)

Anthrocon’s panel and events schedule has been released, so what better time to start thinking about what you’ll be doing at conventions. Some people come to conventions just to hang with friends, but for most of us there are a lot of panels and other events to do and see. It can be a bit overwhelming, especially when there are multiple events that you want to be at happening at the same time. Time travel is not permitted at conventions, so you’ll need to learn how to schedule yourself.

Even if you aren’t going to Anthrocon, check out the online event schedule for reference. There will be a quiz later.

Continue reading “Road to Anthrocon: What to do!”

Road to Anthrocon: Staying Healthy


Con Crud by ReallyReallyBigBang on DeviantArt

“Con crud.” You’ve probably heard of it, and if you’re not careful you’re probably going to get it. People love to share hugs at conventions, but they also love to share their germs too. That door handle you’re going to touch? At  least two hundred other people probably also touched it in the past hour and any ten of them could be sick.

You need to take care of your body while you’re busy having fun. It can get very easy to skip meals, skip showers and even skip sleeping altogether. If you’re not careful, you might end up with a very bad post-con. Continue reading “Road to Anthrocon: Staying Healthy”

Road to Anthrocon: What to Expect

The calm before the storm
Source: Anthrocon Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/groups/anthrocon/

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of getting prepared to physically go to a convention, it’s time to mentally prepare ourselves. For some of you this might be the first time that you’re going far away from home. Or it may be the first time in a social setting with many people of varied backgrounds and beliefs. Furries are a vibrant and colorful fandom, and when we get together at conventions we can really let our true selves show. For some that can be a bit overwhelming.

My first convention was a bit of a culture shock, but yours doesn’t have to be. These are just a few of the things that you may see and experience at the convention. None of these are intended to spook you, only to give you a heads-up of what to expect.

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Photos from FurTheMore 2017

FurTheMore 2017 was the fifth year for this convention, and it’s grown to over 1,000 attendees! Here are some photos from the convention at the Tysons Corner, Virginia, Sheraton.

ZPD on the scene
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Road to Anthrocon: Travel


Source: Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/user/sonsofmaxwell

Hotel room? Check. Registered for your convention of choice? Check. Now how are you going to get there? You could walk, but it might take a while. Don’t even bother with hitchhiking; that never ends well even if you’ve brought your towel.

If you are within walking distance to the convention or live nearby, then you probably have this part already handled. But for the rest of us, conventions require a serious hike. Many people travel not just across country to go to popular conventions, but across the globe. Whether by road, rail or sky, each method of travel to the convention has its pros, cons and pitfalls.

Continue reading “Road to Anthrocon: Travel”