First off, it takes quite a bit to get me mad or upset at someone. If I do get mad, I usually just move on and in a day or so, it’s forgotten. For the most part, I try to understand that people make mistakes and sometimes have bad days, I also try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I do so because I would hope others would extend me that same understanding when I have an off day. Maybe it was the fact that I was a little tired from being up early that day, but the other night I got so upset I physically left a conversation taking place at my own house. Topic? Furry fandom.
Since the weather was so nice this particular day, we reached out to a few vanilla friends to see if they wanted to come over after the baseball game and just sit on the deck. One couple are pretty close friends and frequent our deck parties, I will call them C & B. The other couple only comes occasionally. I will call them K & J. On this particular evening only K came by with the kids, which was fine as J was studying for final exams taking place the next week.
The kids were all in the yard playing kickball while the adults were all on the deck around the firepit enjoying an adult beverage. I don’t recall exactly how it came up, but somehow a comment was made by K about furries. My ears perked up. Curious, B said something like,
“What is a furry? I’ve not heard of this before.”
Now I’m not a furry myself but some of my best friends in my kink / ABDL life are. I don’t consider myself an expert on Furry fandom by any means, but I felt I could answer her question. Obviously I had to be careful and tread lightly with this group as none of them know anything about the kinky side of me. Just as I collected my thoughts to say something, K blurts in with something to the effect of,
“Oh my god! They are these freaks that dress up like animals and go to conventions to rub against each other. It’s so disgusting!”
My first thought was, WTF dude?!?! Where the hell did that come from?!?! K had no idea what he was talking about. Knowing this description was incredibly unfair, I chimed up and said,
“I don’t think that’s fair. I think any unconventional group of people has members on the fringes that make good news headlines.”
Had I been thinking on my feet, I would have added,
“…Just look at our political system today.”
B nodded but K wouldn’t let it drop continuing on with his own interpretation that contained words like “freaks” “geeks” “weirdos” and “nerds”. This proceeded for several minutes with continued insults about them probably sitting around also playing Dungeons and Dragons.
With every word he spoke, my anger level continued to build. There was clearly going to be no reasonable discussion with this individual on this topic. I had finally gotten so mad I was to the point I wouldn’t be able to talk rationally to him without just completely going off. I finally just got up and went inside to get another drink. In fact I stayed inside and cleaned up the kitchen while I cooled down. When I finally returned, the topic had shifted, but I was still pretty upset.
The party ended a short while later and after our own kids were put down to bed, I talked to my wife about how mad I was. She could tell I had gotten upset and had figured that’s why I had left the conversation.
She is aware of my close kink and furry friends. I couldn’t instantly pinpoint to her why I had gotten so mad. I think it was because I myself am part of a community that has its own unfair stereotypes. I was mad too because, while K was bemoaning on, I saw the faces of my furry friends in my mind and it was as if he was verbally attacking them right in front of me. Now I obviously understand that he had no way of knowing, but I still felt like that.
My emotions were complex. I was mad and sad at the same time. Mad that he was unfairly attacking a community of some of the most accepting, loving, caring, smart, and funny people you will ever meet. I was also mad/sad that I couldn’t somehow, in an eloquent way, change his perception of that community and chose just to walk away.
That night I saw a level of intolerance in K that I didn’t care for. I don’t hang out much with K and I don’t consider him a close friend, but did I see a side of him that I didn’t like at all. Now like I said above, I know everyone has bad days, but this hadn’t been the first time I had observed him judging a group based on stereotypes like that. After talking for a while, both my wife and I agreed that those weren’t the type of friends we wanted to spend quality time with. Life is too short to surround yourself with people full of judgement and negativity.
For better or worse and at the risk of me possibly outing myself as a kinkster, the next day I sent B a text message that said,
“A little more fair representation of furries…” with link to a Huffington Post article titled, Syrian Refugees Get Put Up in Same Hotel As Furries. Kids LOVE It.
B never responded to my text message but knowing them like I do, they will file that one away and likely bring it up at some point in the future. Perhaps the next time we are enjoying some beverages on the deck.
To my furry friends, I think you are absolutely fantastic. Just keep being yourselves!
Have you ever had to defend a community against an unfair stereotype? How did you handle it? Would you have done anything different? I would enjoy hearing your story. Please share in the comments below.