Face to Face with the Furries

The fur has started flying downtown.

If you haven’t noticed it, you soon will. Three thousand people have descended upon Pittsburgh for Anthrocon 2008, a convention that celebrates the lifestyle of the furries. For those not aware of furries, these are people who revel in the human-like characteristics of animal from the cartoon and comic book world. This often involves wearing animal-like tails or ears or even going so far as to wear and entire fur-covered costume.

It’s quite a sight to see … and I got an up close and personal look at the furries on Thursday as I was assigned to cover the annual furfest as conventioneers checked into Pittsburgh.

Before I discuss some of the oddities, let’s talk about some of the more nomal occurances at this event. Anthrocon brings up to $2M into the local economy at a time where there is very little going on. They have been here three years and have been embraced by the local business community. Anthrocon participants tell me they love Pittsburgh and it’s people and given the natural glances and curiosity they often receive, furries tell me they feel right at home on the Three Rivers.

Face time with the Furries: I got up close and personal with the members of Anthrocon 2008

Now, to the strange stuff. Only about 15% of these folks actually go with the “full furrie look” as it were and wear the costumes which can run into the thousands of dollars. While there have been rumors that this furrie convention is no more than a cover-up for a sexual fetish involving animal costumes, the truth is those that do subscribe to that belief are most likely in the minority. Most of the people here are adults who are just living out their childhood fantasies and that fantasy world happens to involve animals. Is it different? Yes. Is it wrong? Probably no more than people like me who are into golf and wear the items our favorite golfers wear. We are just dressing up like our heroes.

My take on all this? These are people who happen to like animals – really like animals – and they come to this convention to share their passion with kindred souls. In the end, it’s just a group of people who have found others that share a common trait and it gives them a feeling of belonging. Isn’t that what we are all searching for?


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