What Is a Furry? Everything You Need to Know About a Misunderstood Subculture

Furries sometimes create a “fursona,” or a non-human character they use to represent themselves to the world. They often create digital art to share these avatars with others, showing it off on platforms like DeviantArt and YouTube. Some furries purchase costume elements to help them channel their fursona. For some, buying their first set of ears can be a significant moment; for others, tails can be another source of inspiration; for those who have the funds, that can mean buying a complete fursuit, or a full suit modeled after their fursona.

While furry conventions and in-person meetups are an important aspect of the community, a lot of that community building happens online. People share pictures of their fursonas on platforms like Twitter, they come together in online chatrooms and on Reddit, and they even have furry-specific apps like Ferzu to meet other like-minded people.

What is the difference between furries, otherkin, and therian?

Furries don’t actually identify as animals, which is one of the most common misconceptions about them. While furries have an interest in anthropomorphized animal personas and sometimes create their own, they do not believe they are actual animals.

The confusion might, in part, be from conflating furries with otherkin or therians, people who identify in some way as not fully-human or as a non-human. Otherkin is considered by some to be an umbrella term that encompasses those who identify broadly as non-human. Therian is a more specific identity term within the otherkin umbrella which refers to those who identify as an animal that has existed on earth at some point (i.e. dinosaurs or wolves). There can be overlap between these identities, but it’s important to never conflate the two or assume things about someone’s personal identity.

What are some common misconceptions about furries?

Because furries have been thrust into the conservative news cycle over the last few years, myths about them have spread like wildfire. From the misconception that “furry” is a sexual orientation to the idea that they’re somehow nefarious or dangerous, these assumptions just perpetuate harmful rumors about the subculture. Below are just a few of the the many false claims people make about furries:

False: Furries are people who think they are animals

People who are unfamiliar with furries often believe that they think they are actual animals. This is not the case; furries are just people who have an interest in anthropomorphized animals. While some furries have fursuits and dress up as their fursonas, they do not believe they are actually the animal they are embodying. Think of furries as just another genre of cosplayers dressing up as their favorite characters.