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Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Leave furries alone

The spectrum along which furries might place themselves.
Sophia Jones-Papanastassiou
The spectrum along which furries might place themselves.

Gabriel Marin-Luna, you all should know, is not a zoophile. 

This is to say that Gabriel has no desire to have sex with animals, which, as per the Journal of Sexual Medicine, defines zoophilia. Nor does he want to do his business in a litter box. Nor does he have a “fursuit”which, for him, is a particularly persistent myth.

“I’ve heard definitions where it’s like, ‘Oh, to be a furry you have to own the fursuit,” Gabriel, a junior, told me. “If that were your definition, I would not be a furry. I am buh-roke; they are thousands of dollars.”

However, under a more general definition, Gabriel is a furry: that is to say, he has a strong interest in half-human, half-animal characters, per them magazine’s explanation of the term. For Gabriel, and for legions of others, that interest takes the form of drawing such creatures. Still others enjoy dressing up as them on one way or another.

If none of this sounds particularly perverted, that’s because it’s not–in spite of how your average piece of media or public opinion might portray a furry. The fact of the matter is that this fandom is a persecuted group, at the mercy of everything from idle jokes to discriminatory laws. In 2024, when respect for people who are somehow targeted is supposed to be a bedrock of human decency, it is long past time to leave furries alone. 

I could mention that, as per the findings of the International Anthropomorphic Research Project, many furries are trans or non-binary–meaning that anti-furry rhetoric attacks a much-needed safe place for many trans people. I could also note that furries have to deal with the stress of full-on laws being proposed against them–like one in Oklahoma, where any students who (per the bill’s text) “purport to be an imaginary animal or animal species” are disallowed in schools. As reported by Rolling Stone on Jan. 17, any student who broke these rules would be taken home by parents or guardians–or even animal control.

But for the sake of my word limit, I’ll just ask this:

When it comes right down to it, what makes furries worthy of such contempt?

“They think they’re animals.” (That’s a blatant lie. By definition, furries see themselves as human: they simply find the concept of human-like animals fascinating. You might be thinking of therians or otherkin folk, who, as them reports, do claim an animal identity–and even then, not understanding such people does not require you to lambast them.)

“They want to have sex in animal costumes.” (Even if that were generally true about fursuits–which, as them notes, it’s not–sex is a private act between consenting adults, and whatever that involves is not yours to mock.) 

A certain undertone runs through both of these ideas. In essence, one might say, furries are bad because…they’re weird?

I see. 

If that’s the case, why don’t I get in touch with Oklahoma State Representative Justin Humphreys, who proposed that anti-furry bill from before? Perhaps he can give me some tips: there are a few people I’d like to see locked up myself. 

If being considered weird is all it takes to get someone thrown out of school, then why do I have to sit in class with people who toss around made-up words? “Skibidi?” “Mogging?” “Locking-in?” All of these sound like random syllables–gibberish, arguably, made up by adolescents who still aren’t mentally capable of making routine good decisions. I can’t think of anything weirder, at least to me, than the way my classmates talk. 

And yet somehow, while their made-up vocabulary gets to be “normal,” people look upon the furry fandom…and voice disgust. These are both cultures built by human beings. Both, it would seem, provide something to their members–and neither truly poses a threat. Therefore, there is no logic in demonizing one, but not the other. 

“But I still just don’t understand furries.”

Well, okay. 

Not understanding a fandom is not a crime. But that’s not the furry fandom’s problem–it’s yours. It requires you to be self-aware, to have confusion around a certain group of people and still know that you do harm by mocking them. You get to be perplexed, but not to make fun. 

Yes, some furries do objectionable things: Reddit users might remember one furry who built a fursuit with a Confederate flag theme and design. Being a furry doesn’t mean you’re a saint, and it doesn’t have to. It simply doesn’t have to be used against a person, either. 

Ultimately, Gabriel said it best.

“The way I feel it right now,” he said about people’s perception of furries, “is that not only is it not tolerant, it can be like a hatred, almost. When I don’t see where the hatred arises from.” 

Neither do I, Gabriel. Neither do I.

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About the Contributor
Griffin Larson-Erf
Griffin Larson-Erf, Reporter
Griffin Larson-Erf is a junior at Niles North High School. When not writing for North Star News, he can be found reading, writing fiction, and being confused for his twin brother.

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