An Inky Introduction

Inkblitz portrait by Dirtiran
Inkblitz portrait by Dirtiran

Hi there! I’m Inkblitz; writer, spottycat extraordinaire and all around goofball. And I’m proud to be a furry!

But I wasn’t always.

I entered the furry fandom for the first time somewhere along its awkward phase, a couple years before the dreaded CSI episode came out. Which worked out, because I was also in my awkward phase at the time. For a few years we were awkward together; I was trying to figure out who I was while dodging bullies and hormones, and the furry fandom was still trying to figure out what it actually wanted to be.

It was a pretty different fandom back then; no one was really sure how seriously they wanted to take the entire thing. It was far smaller and much less connected. Going to conventions was for people who were well off, really good at art or lived nearby. Yet for some furry was becoming a way of life, and others were actually beginning to use it as a means to make a living. For me, it was a place where I could make some real friends away from my home town. It just also happened to have cute and curvy werewolf ladies.

For my teenage self who couldn’t quite get the hang of high school, it was like a second home.

Sadly, my first dip into the furry fandom didn’t last long past graduation. The CSI episode came out a year before I graduated and painted the furry fandom in an ugly and uncomfortable light. The articles from popular magazines that followed didn’t help either. It quickly lead to a lot of awkward questions that I didn’t want to answer. The fandom had been made a public laughing stock and things became turbulent and uncertain. Before, it had been sort of a private club for the awkward and creative people, but now the cool kids found the clubhouse and were TPing it every Friday night for fun.

Being the naive teenager I was, I believed the stories. I became ashamed to be a part of the fandom. But before I could fully decide where I stood, life hit me upside the head with a frying pan and made the choice for me.  I became pretty lost for a while, and left the fandom and most of my internet friends.

Cut to ten years later. I somehow got myself involved in the My Little Pony fandom and was running a Rainbow Dash roleplay twitter account with upwards of 30,000 followers. I was a bit more mature and secure in who I was— which was someone who didn’t want to fully grow up. As my attention began to wander from the MLP fandom, The Gneech suggested that I should check out the furry fandom again. It took some wheedling, but between him and the encouragement of long time furry friends, I drove down to Anthrocon in Pittsburgh to check out the fandom first hand.

What I found surprised me in a very good way. In the time that I had been away, the Furry Fandom had discovered itself way better than I could have ever imagined. Thanks in part to the likes of people like Uncle Kage, the fandom had gone from wandering from place to place, struggling to keep itself together, to settling down as the connected, supportive, friendly and very open-minded fandom that it is today. The fandom had picked itself up and dusted off the grime that had been slung at it. It got a haircut, put on a decent (fuzzy and colorful) suit and brought itself up as something presentable and altogether awesome.

But underneath all the media coverage, that’s what it had always been.

The media likes to paint a dark, grim and deviant picture on just about anything if you let them. After all, who wants to watch optimistic news stories about a growing, yet slightly unusual, supportive community that helps each other out? In the early years of the furry fandom, the media only wanted to focus on what would create the most drama and bring them the most profit. Instead of looking at the positive influence that the fandom could be, they focused squarely on the smallest and dirtiest part of it and spread it all over furry’s image.

It has taken a long time, but furry has been cleaning that sludge off, and underneath was something bold, friendly and familiar. Going to Anthrocon that year almost felt like coming home again.

To me, the furry fandom was and is a safe haven for the people who just didn’t quite fit in. We’re the misfits, the emotional, the colorful, the ones bored of the doldrums of everyday humanity. A lot of us are the ones who tended to be the outcasts in school; the nerds, the geeks, the people who just didn’t match up to what the other kids thought was ‘cool.’ The furry fandom welcomed us with open arms, and let us have a place where we could be ourselves among other creative people. It showed us that normal was just an idea, and it was okay that we didn’t fit into anyone else’s vision of it.

We weren’t the first people to question the idea of ‘normal,’ and we certainly aren’t going to be the last. As a teenager, I didn’t understand how important that was. Instead, it felt like the fandom had been forced out of the shadows before it was ready. It stumbled and hesitated in front of the microphone, but instead of diving right back behind the curtains, the furry fandom composed itself and stepped out into the spotlight with a flourish.

It stepped up to look the camera right in the lens and say, “We know you think we’re weird, and we don’t care. Want to join us?”

And that’s why I am now proud to be a furry once again.

Motor City Furry Con’s Charity Outreach Makes National News

Link the therapy dog and some of his new furry friends, courtesy New York Magazine
Source: New York Magazine

New York Magazine ran a human interest story in their “Select/All” column about Cheryl Wassus, a member of Pets for Vets (a nonprofit that pairs dogs with military veterans) attending Motor City Furry Con with her service dog, without realizing just what a furry convention actually was.

“I really had no idea what to expect going in on Saturday,” said Wassus in the interview. “This organization had chosen us as their charity. They actually solicited us, and adopted us more or less, as their go-to charity for this big function. This is just a whole subculture I wasn’t even aware existed. When we set up tables and do promos and educate the public and do outreach, I had no idea the outreach was going to be other human … furry people. I guess you’re never too old to learn.”

The story was picked up by Cosmopolitan and The Huffington Post, helping spread the word of a great event. The convention raised $10,000 for the organization, with an attendance of just under 1,300 people.

Mephit Fur Meet Calls for Volunteers

Mephit Fur Meet 2017 - True Colors
Source: Mephit Fur Meet

Mephit Fur Meet, held annually on or around Labor Day Weekend in Memphis, is looking for volunteers. From the convention website:

MFM needs volunteers to help with it’s many panels, activities, and operations. By working just 15 hours over the length of the Meet, you can earn a roll-over membership for next year’s Meet.

The MFM staff will need help with the following: Registration, Security, Dealer’s Den set-up and removal, computer room set-up Auction, clean-up, and other NIRTS areas (Need It Right This Second). You don’t have to work in one place; you can pick where you’d like to help, providing that there is need.

PTBAF.org posts community information as a public service and has not received any compensation from the organization(s) referenced in this article. If you have a community event you would like to promote, send us a note at tips@proudtobeafurry.org.

Anthrocon Conbook Submissions and Advertising Deadline Approaches

Call for Anthrocon Conbook Submissions
The Anthrocon conbook is a valuable resource for finding or promoting talent and services within the fandom. Freely available to all convention attendees and frequently kept as a souvenir, conbooks reach a wide audience of dedicated fans. There is no compensation for artwork or stories submitted to the conbook, but the extremely focused nature of its audience makes being accepted into a conbook one of the few cases where doing a project “for exposure” actually makes sense.

The submission deadline for the 2017 Anthrocon conbook is May 1st– just under three weeks away as of the publication of this post– so you still have time to get in if you hurry. Guidelines for submission can be found at Anthrocon.org.

Similarly, advertising space within the conbook is also available, also with a deadline of May 1st. Rates, options, and submission guidelines can also be found at Anthrocon.org.

Anthrocon 2017 advertising flyer

PTBAF.org posts community information as a public service and has not received any compensation from the organization(s) referenced in this article. If you have a community event you would like to promote, send us a note at tips@proudtobeafurry.org.

Albert Temple Memorial Planned

Ryan Dewalt post on FurAffinity about the Albert Temple memorial.
Ryan Dewalt posted to his journal on FurAffinity:

I have been in contact with his family, there is a memorial service for Online Friends that is being planned for end of April. No specific date/time/location has been given yet. I’m looking to put together a potential Interest count, of friends who intend to definitely attend.

Location: Oakland, California suburb, somewhere between Richmond/Vallejo/Concord.

I do NOT have a specific date, time, or location. Just “End of April”

Please let me know (in Note or e-mail (rdewalt @ gmail .com) ) your interest.

DO SPREAD THE WORD PLEASE.

Former MFF Chair Dan Hauschild (Takaza Wolf) Passes Away

Screenshot of the MFF Twitter account announcement of Takaza's death.

On Sunday afternoon, March 26th, the Midwest Furfest Twitter account announced the passing of Dan Hauschild.

The entire #FurFest family is saddened to report the passing of previous chairman, longtime staffer, @takazajw. We will miss you dearly.

Mr. Hauschild, known among the fandom as Takaza Wolf, was a former chairman of Midwest Furfest, as well as having served on the staff of AnthroCon and Mephit Furmeet. He is survived by his husband, Duncan da Husky. Hauschild was 41.

Art Spot: Train Ride by Orangetavi

Train Ride by Orangetavi on DeviantArt
Via DeviantArt

While not exclusively a “furry” artist, Orangetavi often draws furry characters, and especially red pandas. This piece looks like a frame from a Ghibli film…

-The Gneech

The PTBAF Art Spot highlights some of the best in furry art, selected more-or-less at random by our staff. PTBAF supports the rights of artists and creators and our policy is to only post items by permission or otherwise consistent with applicable copyright laws. If your work has been used erroneously or you have any concerns, please contact us immediately.

Art Spot: Sun and Sundress by TwoKinds

Sun and Sundress by Twokinds, via DeviantArt
Sun and Sundress by Twokinds, via DeviantArt

Not gonna lie, I’m a sucker for furries on the beach.

You can tell, can’t you? ¬.¬

You can find more at Two Kinds.

-The Gneech

The PTBAF Art Spot highlights some of the best in furry art, selected more-or-less at random by our staff. PTBAF supports the rights of artists and creators and our policy is to only post items by permission or otherwise consistent with applicable copyright laws. If your work has been used erroneously or you have any concerns, please contact us immediately.

#FemaleFursuiterMonth Makes for a Warm and Fuzzy March

Stagboy_Faunte's #FursuiterFemaleMonth tweet
Source: Twitter

Fursuiter @SunTattooWolf has declared March to be #FemaleFursuiterMonth, and Twitter has seen a steady stream of posts by proud and happy women suiters posting selfies in and out of suit to express their love for the hobby. Common sentiments include…

“Here’s my #FemaleFursuiterMonth because after 6-7 years people are still surprised to learn I’m female :P”
FayVFox

“I’ve enjoyed the #femalefursuitermonth posts. The diversity behind the masks and performance is awesome to see”
Inifinite_Sunski

“Still new to the fursuit scene, but #FemaleFursuiterMonth has been so inspiring! I want to contribute to the fun (and make more suits!)”
OomlesOfficial

“I had someone mention ‘Why should #FemaleFursuiterMonth exist?’ The owl mascot and I am the only women in this photo. That’s why.”
Maccha_Fog

“#FemaleFursuiterMonth has shown me just how often I assume it’s a guy under there. Hope to join these ranks one day!”
Maxtheinnocent

This is the second year for the hashtag, which also received attention from Rune’s Furry Blog and other sources. SunTattooWolf explains, “What got me to start it was the Women’s History month. I wanted to show appreciation to Female fursuiters just the same as Women’s History month.” She also wanted to make a point of including trans women, “to show that we’re female no matter what. So, femalefursuiter month brings a diversity, which I am happy to see.”