DATING AS A FURRY
Storm is a non-binary fur suit maker for the furry community, creating mystical and personal art to represent each clients personality, alter ego, or fursona. According to urban dictionary, a Furry is “someone with an interest in anthropomorphic animals” or an “anthro [or] humanoid animal character.” Similar to Comic Cons, the Furry Fandom was formed from anime clubs, hosting ‘Furry Parties’ in rooms at sci-fi conventions, designed for artists and fans of art to meet other like-minded people and create art. The overarching theme of the Furry Fandom is not that of a property or a genre, but rather “animals doing what animals don’t normally do,” similar to that of Disney characters such as Donald Duck. Over time, the fandom went from being “fans” of animal people, to “being” animal people. The furry community is often seen as controversial, something to be avoided, and has been linked by the media to “pornographic” and “improper” activities, stemming mainly from some members at American furry conventions getting out of hand due to alcohol and cannabis consumption. In an interview, a spokesperson said that “furry is full of sexuality because furry is full of human beings who are alive and thinking and feeling,” and that they wanted to create a “sex positive” and inclusive environment, therefore “if sex happened, it happened,” provided it wasn’t hurting anyone. Although there is a small group of the Furry community that have created the controversy, Furscience states that the media portrayals are “inaccurate” and “combined with the public’s unfamiliarity with the fandom, make many furries (reasonably) fear discrimination and violence.” The main intention of the fandom is exploring your identity and role-play, similar to Dungeons and Dragons or Comic Conventions. Furries have the ability, however, to create any fursona they desire, as there are no rules to follow in terms of characters. The fursonas people create are often seen as “the best of [the person],” and encourages people to find themselves, understand themselves, and express themselves. The fandom has been shown to help prevent suicides of members, provide community for people with autism, and a safe space to grieve. According to Furscience, in an international online survey in 2020, 10.1% of the furry fandom self identified as heterosexual, whilst 28.8% identified as lesbian, gay or homosexual, 23.4% as bisexual, and 16.5% as pansexual. Alongside this, gender identity research showed that although the vast majority of furries identified as cis-male or cis-female, 5.3% identified as gender nonconforming. I wanted Storm’s character to reference the inclusivity of LGBTQIA+ people in the fandom, as well as the potential for creativity and business the furry fandom has, aiming to break down the stigma those in the furry community face.– Issy Stephens, Director
SOUND COLLABORATOR STATEMENT
Working on this project has been a lot of fun and creating the sound for the character Storm was exciting due to the already very rhythmic feel to the animation making it very easy to sync a musical arrangement to the clip. To set myself an extra challenge I only allowed myself to use a 15 second recording that I did with 6 marbles, which I then moulded into the finished arrangement via techniques including wavetable synthesis, granular synthesis or just simple EQing, envelope shaping and modulation. My aim was to create synth sounds that are heavily inspired by the more organic sounding scene of the IDM and ambient music genres. This also made me add some tape saturation and tape warble which I also doubled up with some manual pitch automation in some places. I hoped for the end result to contain a somewhat nostalgic, warm sound that kind of opens up to a bit more playfulness at the end, which is the feeling that I got from watching the animation initially. Considering I only had to work with the samples from the marbles to create the arrangement, achieving that warmness wasn’t the easiest task but I am fairly happy with the results, at least on the musical side of things.Quinn Aubke, Sound Collaborator for Storm
- Furscience – a public information hub studying Furries and their fandom.
This website is run by the International Anthropomorphic Research Project (IARP) with the aim of ‘increasing understanding and decreasing stigma.’ They have campaigns such as ‘Just Like You*,’ which includes topics such as ‘How do furries go on dates?’ And ‘How do furries do yoga?’ All with the aim of showing how furries are just the same as non-furries, they just enjoy anthropomorphic characters too. On the website you can also find communities, conventions and research findings.Issy Stephens
- The Fandom : A Furry Documentary – a documentary by Ash Coyote, 2020.
This documentary covers the history of how the fandom began to how it has progressed into now, controversies and all. It has many interviews with the ‘fathers’ of the fandom, as well as different people involved now such as convention organisers and fursuit makers. I found it extremely useful in understanding where the furry fandom originates from, and gave me a more grounded insight into what it means to be a furry and the community that can provide.Issy Stephens
- It’s not about sex, it’s about identity: why furries are unique among fan cultures – an article by Kim Wall for The Guardian, 2016.
Kim Wall covers the misconceptions of what it means to be a furry whilst looking into the lucrative business that is fursuit making. The article covers the thoughts of fursuit makers, psychologists and Furries, showing a diverse look at furry culture and its parallels with anime and cosplay.Issy Stephens
What draws people in is that they can create this character which is a better version of themselves,” she explains. “It’s fun to just be silly, to use your imagination. To not have to conform to what people think being an adult is like.Kim Wall
Furry fandom is unique among fan cultures in that we are not consumers, but rather creators,” Kage explains. “Star Trek fans are chasing someone else’s dream. Furries create our own fandom.Kim Wall
Cartoon animals have a universal appeal,” says Conway, who fursuits as ‘Uncle Kage’: a samurai cockroach. “A love of animals and a fascination with the idea of them acting as we do transcends most national, geographic and religious boundaries.Kim Wall
- I spent a day with FURRIES – A selection of interviews by Anthony Padilla, 2019.
In this video Youtuber Anthony Padilla talks to furries about what it means to them to be a furry. The interviewees are all young and mostly queer people who have found the furry community instrumental in discovering their identity, providing them with a safe space to explore who they are. Anthony ends the video with the words “who are we to judge?” I found the approach to the interviews human, open and amusing.Issy Stephens
COMMUNITY FOUND resources on being non-binary
- The Backside of God – an experimental film by Hogan Seidel, 2020.
Hogan Seidel is a non-binary experimental filmmaker and lecturer based in the US. This is a short film exploring his and his family’s turbulent relationship with god and queerness. I recommend it because transness is so often depicted in a traditional somewhat voyeuristic documentary style and it’s refreshing to see something experimental and engaging.Nella Gocał
Resource submitted by Nella Gocał
- Cavetown – musician.
I recommend the transgender artist ‘Cavetown’. The singer is called Robin Skinner, he’s openly on the aromantic spectrum, and came out as transgender a few months ago, using he/him and they/them pronouns. He’s also got a YouTube channel, I believe. Plus his music is just wholesome and amazing.Emma Cox
DIRECTOR’S EDIT: Skinner talks about their identity in a YouTube video in 2018 ‘Being Aro Is Fine (Advice #5),’ saying “if you didn’t know this about me, I am also on the aro spectrum, I think, at least for now. It might change, doesn’t really matter to be honest.”
Resource submitted by Emma Cox
- Alok – writer, performer, and public speaker
@alokvmenon (they/them) has a page with great information about their experiences as a gender non-conforming person. They also post about fashion and discussions with others about transgender and gender non-conforming experiences. They also do book reports, which, to me, are some of their most important posts – these books typically focus on the gender/sex binary (or lack of it), and its history, which is absent in most, if not all, education systems.Rowan Noble
Resource submitted by Rowan Noble
- @ekh_love – Tiktok account
Emma (she/they) has a lot of comical posts on being queer, but there are also more serious posts on the struggles of living as a non-binary person.Rowan Noble
Resource submitted by Rowan Noble
COMMUNITY FOUND resources on being a furry
Season 6 Episode 14 “My Partner Identifies As A Dog” covers Pet Play. Season 7 Episode 13 “My Girlfriend Acts Like A Dog – And I Love It” follows a heterosexual couple where the woman acts like a dog. I am not sure how applicable these are to the Furries category, but I thought it could be of use.Rowan Noble
Resource submitted by Rowan Noble