Guest post by Oxley. Oxley is a relatively new member of the fandom, having only been actively involved for a year–at the time this article was written, he hadn’t attended any conventions, but hopes to continue his work in this area at Midwest Furfest 2016. He is currently looking for feedback and other opinions on this article, and can be reached at his email.
The year is 2015, and marriage has finally been confirmed as a right for all Americans, whether gay, straight, or otherwise. Though the legislation has brought the queer community (sometimes referred to as MOGAI, or “Marginalized Orientations, Genders Alignments, and Intersex”) farther than it has ever been before in its fight for civil rights, talk of marriage now overshadows other important LGBTQ+ issues: many groups still find themselves marginalized and vulnerable in society. As the struggle slowly progresses, though, queer America has found both allies and enemies in the strangest of places. Individuals from some of the most conservative corners of politics have shown solidarity to the queer community, as have major corporations and brands. Nonetheless, their backing has often been motivated by political or economic gains—after all, in many places it would be considered political suicide to denounce marriage equality. Rather, various other communities and subcultures have often proven to be most readily and enthusiastically supportive of social progress. Countless YouTube stars have advocated for marriage equality or even used the site as a medium through which to come out, while common names in music have vehemently opposed restrictions on marriage.
Perhaps the most perplexing source of support for queerness in America, though, comes from the ever-controversial furry fandom. For years, furries have had intrinsic ties with the queer community, as only a minority within their numbers are straight. While furries as a whole have certainly never been a strong voice against equality regarding gender and sexuality, though, their advocacy of gay rights is nonetheless imperfect, and often detrimental to those who do not fit the more easily-recognized definitions of “queer”—that is to say, the transgender population. Still, observing a subcommunity as being a largely queer space offers a peculiar analysis of it, from an angle that is not often used. That said, the intersections between the queer community and the furry fandom provide a valuable insight into modern conventions of normativity, and the queer community’s interactions with society as a whole.
Continue reading Acceptance and Affurmation: Examining Queerness and Normativity Within the Furry Fandom→
This article was originally published in June 2012.
There is a lot of cub porn out there.
Discussions around the topic tend to be highjacked by those making the biggest noise, either pro or con. Extreme viewpoints tend to attract extreme reactions, which produces a familiar deathspiral of invective. Such conversations tend to shed a lot of heat and precious little light.
In furry, such drama tends to appear whenever unusual sexual practices or identities are discussed – zoophilia or coprophilia for example. I speculated in a recent article that the haters are often closeted versions of the object of their hate. I think this might also apply to someone who is anti-cub porn, however it’s a more complex issue from a moral, legal, and ethical perspective.
There is certainly a disconnect between the prevalence of cub porn and the level of conversation. On sites where it is allowed (and even sometimes when it is not), it’s ubiquitous. A full 4.4% (out of 650,000) of posts on e621.net* are tagged “cub”. Yet attraction to underage characters is discussed as if it existed in the extreme margins of furry.
* As of July 2015.
The prevalence of cub porn suggests that a significant minority of furries are paedophiles. Or, to use a less inflammatory phrase, many furries are sexually attracted to underage characters.
In a recent article for [adjective][species], I wrote about a 2009 paper that presented an origin theory, of sorts, for furry. The author, Dr Anne Lawrence, proposes that furries (she uses the term “furverts”) are all plushophiles, that fursuiting (“fursuitism”) is a fetish activity, and that furry identity is an attempt to turn ourselves into the object of our supposed desire. We are, she concludes, autoplushophiles.
To put it simply, the paper is balls. I won’t rehash any of the reasons here, except to note that it is possibly the first peer-reviewed scientific paper in history to cite an episode of Entourage.
Yet Dr Lawrence’s paper uses an interesting approach. We here at [adjective][species] are interested in exploring furry, and while Dr Lawrence is factually wrong, the general idea—erotic target identity inversion, or ETII—is one that can provide useful guidance to the big question: why are we furries?
Continue reading Furries and Erotic Target Identity Inversion→
Pornography tends towards extremes. Genitalia is emphasized and often over-sized; bodies are idealized; the sounds and smells of sex are either downplayed or overplayed.
Such distortions of the real world are both good and bad. They are good because it’s what people want, and people should be free to fantasize however they wish. They are bad because they set an unrealistic precedent for the real world. And so people enjoy consuming outlandish depictions of sex while often simultaneously feeling bad for personally failing to meet that unattainable standard.
The problem especially obvious when it comes to pornography that depicts women with penises, or men with vaginas*. These depictions are, give or take, of transgender people, and are usually wildly unrealistic. It’s bad enough that such pornography reinforces the tendency for transgender people to be thought of as biological curiosities, and worse that the terminology used to describe this pornography—d-girls and c-boys—is degrading.
This article is about the conflict between two competing demands. There is the libertarian demand for freedom to produce and describe pornography in a straightforward and useful fashion, and the humanitarian demand for transgender people to be treated in a respectful and reasonable fashion.
(And one quick warning before I go on: beyond this point I will be direct in my use of crude terminology.)
Continue reading D-Girls and C-Boys: Troublesome Terms in Furry Porn→
We talk quite a lot about furries and sexual orientation here at [adjective][species]. We do so because furries are unusual. For example: we are spread out almost evenly across the full seven-point Kinsey Scale, from 0 (exclusively heterosexual) to 6 (exclusively homosexual).
We get all this data by asking about sexual orientation in the Furry Survey. However there are two responses that we collect but rarely mention: those who are asexual and those who are pansexual. Unfortunately, like many unusual sexual orientations and identities, these two groups are often overlooked or ignored inside and outside furry. Such behaviour contributes to a phenomenon known as erasure, which roughly describes how society acts as if entire groups of people don’t exist.
The [adjective][species] tendency to ignore these groups when reporting and analyzing Furry Survey data contributes to erasure of these identities within furry. This article will explain how and why we have treated our asexual and pansexual data, and hopefully help redress the balance.
LGBT stands for two things: firstly, a delicious sandwich (lettuce, guacamole, bacon & tomato); secondly a group of people who don’t easily fit into a heterosexual, binary gendered world.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are lumped together into LGBT mostly for convenience. The four groups are discriminated against in a similar way and the political action required for equality are much the same. LGBT people can generally be classified as being ‘queer’ which roughly means that they diverge from a traditional sexual or gender identity.
Of course, there are plenty of people who diverge from a traditional sexual or gender paradigm who are neither L, G, B or T. And so we can continually add letters to LGBT until it spells something awesome like TERABULGE, or we can toss a catch-all Q to give us LGBTQ, an acronym which is gaining traction.
We furries are already accepted within the LGBT community to a large extent, which is at least partly due to our own gender and sexual diversity. But I think that there is a strong argument that the entirety of furry can be recognized as a queer identity, a Q, including the 30% or so (according to the 2012 Furrypoll) of us that are heterosexual and cis-gendered.
Babyfurs are a significant part of the furry community, but they tend to exist below the surface. It’s common for babyfurs to create two identities: a clean identity for use in the furry community at large, plus a second identity for socializing with the babyfurs. So there isn’t much leakage from the babyfurs into the furry mainstream.
The babyfurs that are visible within furry largely fall into one of two categories: the charismatic types who are able to express their babyfur nature without it overwhelming their identity; and the laissez-faire, who are overt and often less-than-subtle. The rest of the babyfurs, the silent majority, are staying hidden.
There is a dilemma for this silent babyfur majority, those who want to express their identity honestly but choose to moderate such expressions in the furry mainstream. On one hand, they would like to be open; on the other, they don’t want to be subject to abuse.
And there is a lot of abuse aimed towards babyfurs from the furry mainstream. Most people reading this will be aware of the stereotypical antisocial babyfur, and will probably have heard some second-hand horror story about something that happened at a convention that one time.
Happily, I’m here to report that the stereotypes are wrong. The mainstream treatment of babyfurs is unfair and largely unfounded. This article is about the real babyfurs.
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.
You probably like wearing diapers. You probably find that you can unwind and relax when you’re doing childish things. You have probably found that, as time has gone on, you’ve started incorporating “adult baby” elements into parts of your life—clothing, accoutrements, roleplay—to add to your enjoyment of diapers.
Or maybe you just find the art cute, and the characters easily relatable. Or maybe it’s more of a sex thing. Or maybe you like to watch cartoons and talk in baby talk. Or maybe, just maybe, you have a professional ‘adult’ who looks after you in a nursery once in a while.
In any event, you’re probably aware of how other furries react when they hear about babyfurs. They find babyfurs distasteful. And so you probably have a babyfur-only identity that is separate from your ‘normal’ furry identity. Or maybe you just keep it to yourself.