When it comes to sexuality, there are few groups who are as frequently misrepresented and stigmatized in popular media as furries. Television shows, websites, and news reports routinely reduce or trivialize the complex and multi-faceted nature of furry identity to a fetishistic interest in fursuit sex. A decade of research on more than 20,000 furries worldwide has found no evidence to substantiate these misconceptions and, in fact, strongly suggests that furry is not a fetish at all. Instead, it is best conceptualized as a diverse and inclusive fan community that includes far greater proportions of genderqueer and non-heterosexual members than is found in the general population. Rather than a sexual identity itself, the furry fandom is an inclusive space for all identities and orientations who share a common interest in media that feature anthropomorphic animal characters.
After attending this workshop, participants will be able to:
- Define “furries”, “the furry fandom”, and “furry identity” and distinguish these from popular media misrepresentations.
- Evaluate the IARP’s research findings and apply them to the question “Is furry a fetish / sexual identity?”
- Discuss the furry fandom’s diverse and inclusive nature and its implications for members of stigmatized sexual and gender minority groups.