Only 22% Of Furries Are Gay

Every three weeks, the Londonfurs hold a meet in a City bar. The bar is closed to the public on Saturdays, so it’s a private party.

Every three weeks, one or two hundred so furries turn up. And just about every three weeks, there is a new member of the bar staff boggling at the crowd.

I recently overheard a new bartender ask, So, are you all gay or something?. And his furry customer responded, Yeah.

(But he was wrong. We’re not all gay. We’re not even mostly gay.)

The bartender made a comment and a knowing face, as if the Furry Universal Gayness Theory explained everything, and the furry wandered off with his drinks. I thought of correcting the bartender as he shaped to serve next in line, but I figured that he probably wasn’t interested in a short lesson on furry demographics. And besides, I was thirsty.

The truth is that about 22% of furries are gay*.

* Source: furrypoll.com (formerly the Furry Survey):

  • Furrypoll is online-only, running since 2008.
  • The number of annual respondents has varied between 3,000 and 10,000 with no significant change in results over that time.
  • I’m counting gay furries as ones who are “completely homosexual” or “mostly homosexual”.
  • The International Anthropomorphic Research Project reports a slightly higher proportion of gay furries based on a smaller but comparable sample size (ref). Their numbers are slightly different because some of their surveys are collected at conventions. I discuss this effect further down in this article.

There is an [adjective][species] visualization of this data available here.

Mini San Francisco billboard. It’s interesting, but false: furry is not a queer phenomenon. Courtesy @fluff_dragon.

The Furrypoll data on furry sexual preference is especially interesting if we look at how long the respondents have been part of the furry community. It shows that a lot of furries – an awful lot of furries – change their sexual preference, from straight to gay, within five years of joining the community.

Years in the fandom vs. sexual orientation
Years in the fandom vs. sexual orientation

This shows that around 50% of heterosexuals joining the furry community will change their sexual preference, mostly towards gay. I’ve written about this in detail before on [adjective][species], in an article titled Re-Evaluating Your Sexual Preference. The overall effect is that older furries are more likely to be gay.

Even with this large furry shift towards homosexuality over time, furry is still just 20 to 25% gay. However we have a lot of furries who identify as bisexual, or at least in the bisexual area of the spectrum.

Bisexuality is a difficult term to define, because it tends to mean different things to different people. For some it means that gender is irrelevant to sexual attraction, others will swing between exclusively homosexual and heterosexual phases, and for others it merely denotes that the gender of their sexual or romantic partners is variable.

Because the meaning of ‘bisexual’ is both reductive and variable, it’s not very useful. This is a problem with a lot of terms associated with sexual orientation, gender, and identity. Unfortunately, when collecting data, we need to lump people into categories. Labelling a large portion of furry as ‘bisexual’ is an unavoidable simplification.

I would argue that, inside furry, an unusually large proportion of our nominal bisexuals are people who are mostly heterosexual, but who enjoy homosexual sex. This occurs because homosexual (male) sex is highly available within furry: we are male dominated, sex-positive, and homosexual activity is normal.

In this way, furry neatly mirrors the non-furry world. In the non-furry world, nominal bisexuals are more likely to be mostly homosexual people who engage in heterosexual sex. This is because heterosexual sex is more available in the non-furry world; a product of a 50/50 gender split, a relative dearth of homosexuals, and cultural homophobia.

So furry encourages situational homosexuality, just like the non-furry world encourages situational heterosexuality. (As an aside, anyone using the term ‘jailhouse gay’ to describe furries is being homophobic, because that term is only pejorative if you think that gay sex is ‘bad’ compared to straight sex.)

The preponderance of gay sex within furry probably explains why real-world furry gatherings tend to be gayer than the community as a whole. A few things happen:

  • Gay furries are more likely to experience and enjoy sexual tension, real or imagined, at a furry gathering. This acts as a motivating factor.
  • Straight furries who are in a relationship are less likely to have a partner who is also a furry. (Only about 20% of furries are female.) And a furry with a non-furry partner is probably less likely to socialize with the group than an all-furry couple.
  • Data shows that female furries are less likely than male furries to socialize in person (see below). The dearth of women means that there is less motivation for straight (male) furries to socialize. Women are less likely to socialize for two reasons: firstly, women tend to identify less strongly as a furry (ref furrypoll.com); secondly, women in the very male-dominated furry environment are often harassed (more on this in a moment).

You can see the differences by comparing furrypoll.com data, which is collected exclusively online, with International Anthropomorphic Research Project data, which is partly collected (45%) in person at conventions.

Proportion of women: 20% Furrypoll vs 15% IARP
Proportion of homosexuality: 22% Furrypoll vs 29% IARP

The differences would be starker still if the IARP data were 100% from conventions.

As an aside, there is one group of furries with no doubt that there are a lot of heterosexuals at furry gatherings: women. It’s common for women to be harassed, not necessarily in an overtly sexual fashion, but certainly in an unwelcome fashion. This is based on conversations I’ve had with women rather than any hard data: they tend to use terms like ‘annoying’ and ‘pest’ and ‘don’t get the hint’. Some women choose to avoid furry gatherings altogether, which is bad for everyone.

Returning to the bar in London, it’s easy to see how our furry reached the mistaken conclusion that we were “all gay”. Men, and gay men, were over-represented. There were plenty of heterosexual men attending that Londonfurs meet, but they were largely invisible. Furries are often assumed to be gay (or bi) unless proven otherwise. This is another inversion of the real world: at furmeets, heterosexuality is always present but largely hidden. It’s easy to draw the false conclusion that it doesn’t exist.

About JM

JM is a horse-of-all-trades who was introduced to furry in his native Australia by the excellent group known collectively as the Perthfurs. JM now helps run [adjective][species] from London, where he is most commonly spotted holding a pint and talking nonsense.

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37 thoughts on “Only 22% Of Furries Are Gay

  1. I’m not convinced. Drawing this conclusion from a survey question, even if the survey were more scientifically sampled, is overly simplistic. My observation leads me to a well-convinced conclusion that at least half of MALE furries are gay, and probably more than half.

    The problem is the other statistical skew, one that you’ve noted in the past. The mode for age group is always somewhere in the low twenties. Men in that age group and especially in the under twenty age group are generally very reluctant to commit to a gay identity when asked. They will call themselves “bi-sexual” or will perhaps admit to some ambivalence but they haven’t yet self-identified with enough confidence to admit to it. Behavioral observation makes this pretty obvious, though.

    Since the surveys tend to miss more of the older furries, who might have more solid self-identification, the error of measurement is compounded.

    Yes, there are straight furries just as there are women furries. But furry is very visibly a gay male phenomenon, for reasons yet to be completely understood (if they ever will be.) Unless you can convince me that there are more closet furries than there are visible ones (and that’s going to be a tough sell,) I’m just not buying these figures. If there really are a whole lot of closeted straight male furries somewhere, they are just that: in the closet, and NOT responding to surveys about it.

    1. I have the data broken down by age, and it’s essentially identical to the visualization in my article. The gayness of furries increases with age, eventually reaching about 30 to 35%. It doesn’t increase beyond that number.

      Given the large sample size of the Furrypoll (up to 10,000), plus the similar data collected by the IARP, I don’t see how your experiences can be more ‘correct’. Like you, and like my Londonfur, I perceive furry to be gayer than the data shows. But our experiences and perceptions aren’t statistically significant.

      There are, of course, errors that will be introduced into a voluntary poll. There is no way of quantifying those errors, so any statistical analysis is flawed and/or speculative. You’re quite right to be suspicious of results that appear to deviate from reality.

    2. I agree! im one of the rare straight furries, in south africa where i live about 90% of the furs are gay, even the women, ive met like 4 straight furries in my country out of 50 or something. ive become a lone fur here because every guy wants to bonk me, they dont even ask if im staight or gay they just assume because im a furry im obviously gay but no way!

      From what i observed id say about more or less 80% of furries are gay. even if you look at the yiff,there are like dicks everywhere. i just dont understand this like really i dont! lol, its very very rare to find a straight furry, well im having a hard time finding one lol. i stoped interacting with furries, and yet im a proud one myself and noting will ever change that, but the furry fandom is becoming like a gay community, i could be wrong, just reporting from my years of trying to find a nice furry girl but they keep turning out lesbians >.<

      i havent met all the furries in the worl just saying what ive seen so far i think only 22% are straight.

      There is something about the fandom that makes people gay or it attracts the gay people, i dont see how anthro animals can do that, i mean its just an awesome fantasy and in many furries i saw they got the appriciation for nature and well being but maybe we are like seen as outcast and nobody wants us so we love eachother too deeply it seems or something. but thats all from me, just wanted to get all that out because its been bothering me too much. this is just my opinion it doesnt mean anything and i hope it upsets nobody. Take care all!

    3. I’ve been a part of the furry community for a bit over a decade, and can tell you as an older furry, that you are absolutely accurate about what your findings are. I believe that the younger furries, although not entirely committed to one particular sexual orientation, may feel apprehensive about fully coming out of the closet; specifically gay males.

  2. I should also note that harrassment of females is also a significant issue at science fiction conventions. I’m not sure whether the reasons are the same, but the high frequency of the problem certainly matches.

    Harrassment can be evidence that males who are anxious about their identity feel a lot of pressure to demonstrate it in a given setting. This certainly could apply to furry gatherings. I will note, however, that I have attended seven large furry conventions and many smaller gatherings since 2004, and have been a participant in the online furry community since about 1994. My perceptions come from an uncommon position, due to my age, my general lifetime lack of interest in sexual expression, the fact that I have been in a stable, monogamous gay relationship for over 30 years now, and that I tend to be a subtle observer and slow to draw conclusions. I remain convinced that furry is primarily a gay phenomenon that carries others along “for the ride.” There are a lot of reasons for this opinion, but they are based on empirical observation so you may discard them all if you choose.

    I still believe that the surveys, whether or not they are “all we have,” are fundamentally flawed due to self-selected sampling and extensive experimenter bias in the form of “leading” questions that offer no appropriate answer for many of us.

    1. What’s interesting to me is that while gay furries seem to be the norm in certain places, like FurAffinity and possibly at conventions, there is one place where I think they are still in the minority: SecondLife. There is one major furry club on SL that is apparently frequented by mostly gay males. Then there’s not just one, but two other majorly popular furry clubs that seem to have mostly straight and/or bi/pansexual patrons. Then of course there are all the tertiary furry-themed sex sims, and of course you can encounter gay males in any of these places but again they seem overwhelmingly populated with people who identify as straight or bi. What does this say about SecondLife? This too is very hard to tell. Maybe due to the internationality of the game, we can hypothesize that gay furry males are more heavily concentrated in the US. Or perhaps like JM suggested it could be an age factor, as I’d pin the majority of SL users to be in the age group of 18-25. It’s very hard to reach any solid conclusions on any of this including the survey, however I can say that in the past few years, I personally have been very surprised to encounter so many straight furries on SL. And that’s coming from someone who’s been doing cons since 2004, also.

      1. I’ve never been on Second Life at all, for many reasons. I don’t have the bandwidth, primarily, but I don’t run Windows or MacOS, and don’t have heavy duty graphics hardware because I’m not a gamer. So I can’t guess at what’s going on there.

        I’m might hazard though that it is similar to FurryMUCK, which on the surface appears to present a hetero norm, but when you start digging turns out to be something far more complicated involving a lot of cross-gendered RP and other kinds of experimental fiction that prevents one from even guessing at what sexual orientation (if any) is underlying.

        I will note, though the sample is far from significant, that every individual I have met in person whom I first encountered through online RP has turned out to be gay, at least in my perceptions if not in their own self-identification. Several have laid claim to bisexuality, but in terms of action, opinions, and behavior I simply can’t see them as anything but gay in the end. (And I’ll emphasize again the fact that I’m nearly asexual myself, though what interest I have is male directed. So it isn’t a question of wishful thinking or perception based on my own attractions, I don’t think.)

        1. Sure, but of course there is a lot of genderplay going on. I cannot at all call you wrong for making a Taps comparison, because absolutely there are many people participating in second life who stray from the heteronormative in many ways, including how they present as different from their real lifestyle. But the thing is, this sort of ties into something I’ve been thinking about for a while. When people commonly use the acronym “LGBT” to include the T as “transgender”, that groups a more abstract gender orientation into three other sexual orientations. The point being that gender orientation is mutually exclusive from sexual orientation, as many people who are transsexual nevertheless identify themselves as “straight”. Anyway, all this is to say that what I’m judging my personal observations on, are the identities and personas that people project into SecondLife space, and that those people do seem to personally identify as straight arguably more than gay, in public, in the most popular furry sims. What they are beyond the screen is indeterminate most of the time, but it’s probably safe to say that most people are probably not cross-roleplaying, but probably playing just slightly more exaggerated ideals of themselves and their cisgenders. But that is not to say that heterosexuals overwhelm bisexuals, which they do not. Heterosexuals do however, tend to amplify their orientation in order to make it amply clear. Which is no slight on my part to them, because I’m sure they still have it a bit tough, but it is telling in itself!

          1. Actually I deliberately omitted Tapestries MUCK in my response because it is an explicitly sexual venue oriented toward parasexualities and fetish play by its own definition.

            I was referring to FurryMUCK, which certainly contains plenty of sexual elements but is not defined by them in any sense other than by being furry (which seems to imply sex to a lot of people for reasons I find incomprehensible.)

          2. Not sure why I can’t post a reply to your comment directly, weird! But yes, I noticed my error only after I posted my comment. Actually, I don’t think it changes very much. True Taps has more of an emphasis on the kinky side of things, but that too is mutually exclusive from sexual orientation proper. I don’t think perceiving them as “parasexual” and “nonparasexual” address the sexual orientation issue directly, that is. For my part I have probably encountered a comparable demographic of orientations between the two of them, despite that one is intended to be kinkier.

        2. So what you’re saying Altivo… is that yeah a lot of furries are really bi. You just personally happen to consider bisexuals to be gay, and you don’t consider the straight furries that are online, but don’t show up to real life events to be “furries”.

          I think that allows us to mostly dismiss what you’re saying.

  3. Yes, only 22% of furries are gay. But nearly half of furries belong to the GLBT community, according to every survey I’ve read. If you count how many are somewhere between exclusively gay and bisexual, it comes out to about half.

    And as you said in the article, the ratio is even higher at conventions. I think this is because gay furries are more likely than straight ones to go to RL furry gatherings. Compound this with the significant portion of bisexual males, and you have an even larger portion of men who will go with men at furry gatherings.

    I have to mostly agree with what Altivo said above. But I think that a majority of furries are in the closet about furry. The surveys we’re looking at show that a majority of furries do not attend conventions. I would categorize the fandom in two large groups: Those who at least occasionally socialize with furries offline, and those who are online only. I have participated in both groups. The latter seems to be a large percentage of the fandom. They aren’t as devoted to the fandom as con-goers (though that doesn’t make them any less furry!); they are usually in the closet about it, and there seems to be more straight people in their group.

    Now the following is not hard data, and I have only been in the fandom for a few years, so take this how ever you want. I see that there are distinct groups within the fandom: 4chan furries, FA furries, FA forum furries, con-going furries, etc… On the internet, I’ve noticed a lot of furries say that they won’t tell their friends they’re a furry, and that many of the people you can talk to online say they never want to go to a con. There are plenty of straight furries online, but they are just less visible. Therefore, I’d imagine that the kind of furries who enjoy conventions, socialize with furries OFFline, and maybe talk about furry on [a][s] are actually in a small minority. We, the RL social furries, are a bit more devoted to and open about the furry fandom. And I’ve noticed, though I have no data on this, the more devoted one is to this fandom of colorful fluffy animals, the more likely they are to be gay. And as people stay in the fandom longer, they become more devoted to it over time…

    1. Hi Chago, thanks for the comment. I think that you’re quite right, and regular visitors around these parts will note that Altivo is a very astute observer of furry. He always talks sense.

      Your final comments are interesting and I can provide some more information, as Furrypoll and [a][s] are run by the same people. I’ve dropped a note to data guru Klisoura – I’ll report back here once we have the numbers.

    2. Chago, I have some data from Furrypoll. I don’t have it in a nice format, but I’ll ask Klisoura to drop the raw data somewhere once we’ve made a small change to the query.

      You are correct that gay furries tend to consider themselves more strongly as a furry. The effect is small. Those with low furry-strength scores tend to be around 3.0 on the Kinsey scale; it’s more like 3.3 for those with high furry-strength scores. (Our use of the Kinsey scale is from 1 to 7, where 1 is completely heterosexual and 7 is completely homosexual.)

      On the other hand, it looks like younger furries are more likely to identify with furry strongly. The difference looks significant however it’s based on mean age, which isn’t ideal. We’ll get it based on median age, which is more appropriate for a distribution where numbers are tightly clustered around one extreme (youth), with a long tail at the other.

      So it looks like you’re right on one count; and wrong on the other. I’ll put up a link to the data when I have it.

  4. Careful jumping to conclusions there. You can’t reasonably conclude that furries are changing their orientations; it’s just as plausible (perhaps moreso) that the fandom has become gradually more mainstream over the past five years, so newer furries tend to better reflect the proportions of the population at large.

    To get an idea of how many people are actually changing preferences, you’d either need to track individuals’ preferences over time, or compare overall stats year-over-year while somehow accounting for those who have left the fandom (in case one orientation leaves disproportionately to others). Both are a little impractical.

    I’m curious to see what that chart looks like before normalization, though.

    1. Eevee – thanks for the comment. You can see the chart before normalization here: http://vis.adjectivespecies.com/yearsorientation/.

      The only comment I can make is that we haven’t seen any noticeable change in furry demographics between 2008 and 2012, the years in which Furrypoll has been running. It’s a big limitation that we can only poll people that are part of furry – I’d love to see what furries look like in the year before they discover the community.

      I hope you read my article on Re-Evaluating Sexual Preference. The article goes into the phenomenon in a bit more detail, and hopefully provides a more compelling argument than I’ve given here. However it is still subject to the limitation of the data.

      Rather brilliantly, the IARP have recently started a longitudinal study. They will be tracking a big group of individual furries over time. I’m really interesting seeing what they discover, although results will be a few years away. I think they are still accepting participants, if you’re interested.

  5. The graph doesn’t correspond exactly with the questions of the furry survey, it doesn’t chart the fuzzy answers like “Mostly heterosexual” or “Bisexual leaning homosexual”. Why? Are they absorbed in the broader categories? I think those answers are actually the most important for an environment where there is a lot of experimentation like the furry community.

    Personally I think that seeing the furry fandom as a “gay phenomenon” or a “straight phenomenon” etc. is misleading and that being part of the furry community has little to no correlation with sexual identity. The fact that the results of the polls are so unclear and difficult to match with RL impressions should suggest that there is no consistent pattern to find there. In the past when the furry fandom was a very underground phenomenon there was a very explicit overlap with the LGBT community, but looking back at it I feel like it was incidental for the most part. And I fully expect an influx of bronies in the next years which might increase a lot the heterosexual component of the fandom (since a correlation with (straight) sexual identity is much more obvious among bronies, and also confirmed by polls).

    If anything I’d call the furry fandom a genderfluid phenomenon, since polls, observation and personal experience all suggest me that experimentation and bisexuality are the most common stances.

    On a side note, I think that the correlation between sexual identity and furry art preferences would be an interesting topic to explore. When browsing through people’s favourites on FA it’s surprisingly difficult to find people who have 100% gay or 100% straight tastes when it comes to porn.

    1. Hi Scale, thanks for the comment. It’s a great point about the sexual orientation categories—it’s something I should have made clear in the article itself.

      It works like this:
      – “Completely heterosexual” and “Mostly heterosexual” are lumped into “Heterosexual”.
      – “Bisexual”, “Bisexual leaning homosexual”, and “Bisexual leaning heterosexual” are lumped into “Bisexual”.
      – “Completely homosexual” and “Mostly homosexual” are lumped into “Homosexual”.
      – Other responses are not lumped in with anything else.

      I completely agree with your personal opinion. There lots of LGBT people within furry, but furry itself isn’t defined by sexual orientation. Similarly we have lots of geeks, but furry isn’t an exclusively geek phenomenon. Of course, these groups are very important to furry and furry culture.

      It’s very difficult to nail down exactly what furry “is”, not least because there are counterexamples to every theory. But we’ll keep exploring here on [a][s].

        1. I don’t have the visualization broken down by years-in-fandom, but I do have a visualization showing the effect of the original categories.

          http://vis.adjectivespecies.com/furrysurvey/orientation.shtml

          This shows the sexual orientation data from 2008 to 2010. The 2008 data only asked for hetero/bi/homo-sexual; the 2009 & 10 data includes the more nuanced categories. You can see that the three broader categories tracks very closely with the splits I’ve used to put together this information.

          There is one minor difference: those identifying as bisexual (in 2008) generally moved towards the heterosexual end of the spectrum, when given the choice (in 2009 & 2010). Happily this correlates with my analysis!

  6. “This shows that around 50% of heterosexuals joining the furry community will change their sexual preference, mostly towards gay.”
    I would suggest that another possible reason for the statistics to come out as they do (besides the one proposed by Eevee) is that folks who are more toward the gay end of the spectrum are more likely to stick with the fandom longer. That is to say, more than 50% of the folks who join the fandom are straight, but they are not as likely to remain active in furry fandom.

    (Note that I use the term “gay” somewhat loosely throughout this post and it is not intended to be strictly limited to male homosexuals.)

    And why do you suppose that might be the case? It probably has to do with the fact that furry fandom is generally very open and accepting of gays. Straight folks can be involved in just about in interest or fandom and can be open about their orientation and their relationships and never have to worry about how they will be perceived or whether they will still fit in. Gays have to be a lot more careful about that. People develop new interests and let go of old ones as they go through life, and finding a community where you feel accepted and welcome can make a huge difference in whether you keep up an interest in something or move on to other things, and this could be a significant factor for gays remaining involved in the fandom for longer, whereas it’s virtually not one at all for straight folk. There is also the fact that, unfortunately, there are still a lot of mostly straight folk who think being gay is wrong or sinful, or who simply are not comfortable with the notion that it’s okay to be gay. Most of those folks, if they get involved in the fandom at all, don’t stick around for very long.

    Something that may contribute to the perception that furry fandom is a lot more gay than the statistics bear out has to do with how many of the gays are openly gay. At school, in the workplace, and in other settings, suppose that about 10% or people are gay (the actual number probably differs from that but that’s beside the point), but most of them are not open about it, and we tend to assume people are straight by default. If you know 100 people in your workplace, statistically speaking about 10 of them are gay, but except for maybe one or two of them, you don’t know who they are. In furry fandom, they figure is probably closer to 30% (same disclaimer as above), but among other furry fans in furry settings (e.g. conventions, online), most of them are openly gay. So while the actual number of gays in the fandom is only 3x the general population, the number you know about, who are “out” to the community, is much higher, about 25x what you’re used to seeing elsewhere.

  7. “Bisexuality is a difficult term to define”.

    No it isn’t… it means having a significant attraction to both genders. Plain and simple.

    I would be very careful about saying that most bisexuals in the fandom are straight guys desperate for a fuck. There is certainly that… but there’s more to it than that. I think that one could reasonably argue that a decent percentage of the population is *capable* of being bisexual to some extent, but in society at large there is a huge stigma against male bisexuality.

    In the furry fandom, which is very queer-accepting and open, people who might not normally identify as bi are coaxed into outing themselves and following through with it, since there is no cost among furries, and there’s something to gain–access to the dating pool.

    1. Hi Vatnos, thanks again for your time and your considered intelligence.

      I completely agree with your reading of the preponderance of male-male sexual contact within furry. There is plenty of precedent for it outside of the furry world, such as in all-male boarding schools, the armed forces, and religious communities with enforced gender segregation. I suspect that we’re largely in agreement, but again I agree that it’s dangerous territory and I appreciate your perspective.

      On the “definition of bisexual” front, I declined to offer a direct definition in my article simply because it won’t have universal agreement. Queer politics is dangerous territory, especially for someone without a strong background (like me). I’m trying to steer clear of areas where I can’t speak with authority. It’s a bit of a cop out, but I hope you forgive me :)

  8. I pretty much agree with your analysis.
    Something that’s not specifically brought up in the article, that i find to be pretty significant, is that gay furries (at least, a large amount that i know) tend to use the fandom as an outlet to be open about themselves. Heterosexual furries don’t have that need, due to the lack of social stigma. But since homosexual furries DO have that stigma, they leap at the chance to express their feelings and interests. The end result of this is that “gay” becomes far, far more visible. Straight guys can chat about straight sex or women easily with friends outside the fandom. Gay guys get far less chance to have such conversations openly and honestly about their own interests, outside the fandom.

    Also on a side note, i’m bisexual. Nearly every gay OR straight furry i meet assumes i’m gay once they get any hint I like guys. There’s been genuine shock that i like women, too; probably as much as gay people get when ‘coming out’ to oblivious friends/family/coworkers. So basically, both ends of the spectrum like to ignore the middle. =( Sexuality is so much more complicated than anyone wants to admit, as you bring up shortly in the article.

  9. One factor that may explain the lower proportion of gay furs who are new to the fandom could be the influx of My Little Pony Fans. Conversations with Fur Affinity admins have confirmed about a 20% ride in traffic that correlated with the ride in popularity if MLP:FIM. If this is the case and these fans do come from a more “mainstream” demographic it could permanently lower the proportion of gay furs.

    1. Hi Sturmtovik. That’s a really interesting idea. MLP is a big cultural force within furry, and it’s obviously going to be an important reference point for the community as a whole, for better or for worse.

      I tend to think that there are a lot of furries who have become MLP fans. But of course, as you say, there will be plenty of MLP fans who become furries, just as has happened with other important cultural reference points over the years, like The Lion King or Robin Hood. It’s fair to say that the influx of MLP fans will affect our demographics.

      I’ve done a bit of digging, and I can’t see any obvious shift… yet. MLP:FIM started airing in 2010, so theoretically we’d start to see some changes from around then. The sexual orientation data I’ve shown above, which is from 2012, arguably supports that.

      However, it’s not supported when you look at overall sexual orientation, from 2008 to 2012. You can see 2008-2010 data here – http://vis.adjectivespecies.com/furrysurvey-old/orientation.html – this is in the process of being updated however I can tell you that it doesn’t really change. So furry doesn’t become notably more heterosexual in the years after MLP:FIM, which you would expect if your hypothesis were true.

      But having said that, it’s still early days. You can see from this data – http://collie.su/years_orientation.html – which is from 2012, that the most have been around for a little while. So it will take some time before we see much of an effect from the MLP fans, if there turns out to be one.

      As it turns out, 2013 is looking like a particularly strong dataset (the best since 2009), thanks to the publicity we’ve been able to raise here on [a][s]. So it should give us a really good idea how things are changing. I’m really curious to see what comes out.

      Thanks for the idea, and of course we’ll be sharing the data and any interesting quirks we’re able to unearth, once it’s available.

  10. Of interest that 22% would be almost 10x of the gen population by most recent stats.
    “Sexual identity, sexual attraction and sexual experience: the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships.” 2014

    “study found that 96.7% of the entire sample (or 96.9% of the men and 96.5% of the women) identified as heterosexual, a drop from the 2003 findings (97.5%).[13] Homosexuals accounted for 1.9% of the male population and 1.2% of the female population, a non-significant difference between the sexes. Bisexuals accounted for 1.3% of the male population and 2.2% of the female population. Women were significantly more likely than men to identify as bisexual, and less likely to report exclusively other-sex or same-sex attraction and experience. Similarly, more women reported same-sex experience and same-sex attraction. Nine percent of men and 19% of women had some history of same-sex attraction or experience. More women identified as lesbian or bisexual than in 2001–02. Homosexual/gay identity was more common among men with university education and living in cities, and much less common among men with blue-collar jobs. Both male and female bisexuality were more common among respondents under the age of 20. Male bisexuality was also overrepresented among older men

    1. I find those statistics rather suspect. This is no judgement on you, but rather on statistics which claim to give ‘accurate’ percentages of non-heterosexuals, as if surveys have some power to see into our innermost thoughts and reveal the true persona. The high levels of homosexual activity in Imperial Rome, Ming China and Tokugawa Japan suggest far more than 3.3% of the population are capable of expressing homoerotic desire. The Jains developed a sexual taxonomy in the 6th century AD, centuries before the Europeans, suggesting non-heterosexual behavior was visible enough to be commented on extensively. In both the Abbasid Caliphate and Mughal India, literature with homosexual themes far outweighed literature with heterosexual themes. Unless human nature has fundamentally changed in the last 2000 years, I cannot believe so small a segment of the population is non-heterosexual. A comparative study of multiple cultures makes it quite clear these desires were common, and recorded, in times when only a fragment of the population was literate. Thus, I find any statistics which claim any sweeping judgement on human sexuality dubious, and at odds with the historical record exhibited by less homophobic cultures.

      1. It’s probably worth adding that the UK Government estimates the proportion of homosexuals to be around 6%. That’s not what the census says—only around 1% of people report as being gay—that’s based on economic estimates associated with the uptake in same-sex civil unions & equal marriage.

        Your point is well made and I think my datapoint supports it, that people will tend to hide their sexuality in modern, homophobic cultures.

        Still, Random main point stands: there is an awful lot more homosexuality in furry than in the general population.

  11. The amount of gay males in this fandom is through the roof no matter what anyone says. If you have been to one convention or even one furmeet you would agree. And if you are not a gay male it’s harder to feel included as it seems to be like a popularity contest and could possibly bring highschool rushing back to your memory, if all your classmates were gay and judging you for not succumbing to their way of life or maybe you are wearing what the cool kids are wearing, meaning you don’t own a 3000 dollar suit or more from one of the popular and over priced fursuit makers out there. Not saying there are wonderful and nice individuals out there in the fandom but as a whole you will find yourself wondering…. Wtf. It does seem to be expanding as new kiddos enter the scene but some things never change but I for one am hoping the scene changes soon and we see less judgement and more harmony in the fact we are all 100% nerds and no one is better than the other no matter how important they think they are. It’s supposed to be fun and a place we don’t feel judged or not “popufur” hate that fucking term!!!!

    1. Hi Brick, thanks for the comment and your experience is, unfortunately, a common one.

      I know that the title and the data is surprising to a lot of furs, and that’s why I’ve tried hard to show my work and source data from high quality sources. That includes, of course, our own Furry Survey but also the peer-reviewed and published IARP data. I’ll add that the data is sourced both .online and at conventions. However I understand that the data doesn’t affect your experience in the fandom.

      Co-incidentally, I have written an upcoming piece – it’s due to be published on 19 October (lots of exciting stuff coming between now and then) – that talks about how minorities can be large but invisible. I think that heterosexuals, or at least heterosexual men, fit this description. Anyway, hopefully you’ll read and maybe give your thoughts. (You can follow @adjspecies on Twitter to get notice when new pieces are published.)

  12. I think a more likely explanation of these data is that straight furries have a dysproportionally high chance of leaving the community within the first five years.

  13. Ya know, I’m not even a furry. I just wanted too search this at 3:30 am while trying to sleep. And I wouldn’t be able to sleep without the answer. I always thought most furries were gay. I guess you learn something new everyday. And I’m going to end up falling asleep on my way to class tomorrow and fall off my bike. I just bought it too. I’m just going to walk.

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