What is furry?
The term “Furry” is used to describe the Furry Fandom or an individual “Furry” fan, also referred to as “Furries”.
The Furry Fandom grew out of the science fiction and fantasy communities as a unique group focused on anthropomorphic animals and creatures. Anthropomorphic animals are animals with human characteristics such as the familiar cartoon characters Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse or popular mascots like the Philadelphia Eagle or San Diego Chicken.
The Furry Fandom is a broad community of people that come from all ranges of socioeconomic and political backgrounds. Different people count themselves as “Furries” for equally broad reasons. Some are fans or artists of visual, written or theatrical arts such as animated cartoons and fantasy stories. Some are mascot and character fans or performers such as professional theme park and corporate mascots or volunteer character performers. Some are Therians or people with strong personal or spiritual connections to animals similar to some Native American cultures.
Because the Furry Fandom encompasses such a wide range of people and interests, to term someone as a “Furry” is similar to calling someone a “Sports Fan”. The term “Sports Fan” itself does not identify the sport in which a person is interested, at what level or even which teams or regions in which they take an interest. Similarly a Furry could be a costumed performer with no interest in cartoons or an artist or animator with no interest in or familiarity with costuming.
You are encouraged not to judge this very broad group of proud and individually unique people, but rather to learn what is important to each. Although some can be shy, and many will not speak while in costume, most Furries are generally very friendly and willing to share their individual interest in the community with those who show genuine curiosity.
“Why do TV shows define ‘Furries’ as people who have sex in animal costumes?”
Television producers are business people who have a responsibility to their company and stockholders to make money, typically through advertising revenue based on viewership. Unusual and salacious subjects typically attract larger audiences and thus earn them more revenue. Put simply; Sex Sells. A show about Furries having sex in animal costumes, or perhaps a more mainstream science fiction fandom, such as Trekkies having sex in Star Trek uniform, will sell more advertising regardless of whether these shows are fair or accurate portrayals of these groups as a whole.
“Are ‘Furries’ people who have sex in animal costumes?”
No. It is not uncommon for adults to dress up in uniforms, costumes or other outfits and role play as part of a healthy sexual relationship. Most Furries do not own costumes and many take no interest in costuming. Those who are interested in costumes often own very expensive custom created “Fursuits”. They are often very proud of the quality and construction of these “Fursuits” and are unlikely to engage in activities that would harm the quality of the costume or the image of their character. Chances are there are many more people being intimate in an animal costume each day who are not Furry than there are Furries willing to take a similar risk with their characters.
“Are ‘Furries’ people who have sex with animals?”
No. Sex with animals or Bestiality is illegal in most countries and most states in the US. Because many Furries have a personal connection with animals, most are very strongly opposed to Bestiality or any activity that harms animals.