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Welcome to MNFurs, a local community site where fans of anthropomorphic animals and artists can gather to meet each other locally in the Twin Cities and surrounding area; forming friendships, meeting new people, educate others, and help out the local community. To access chat, forums, and the additional features of this site you must register for a free account or log in.

Help! My Kid Is A Furry, What Do I Do?

A Simple Resource for Parents and Others

So, your child mentioned something about this “Furry” thing. After a bit of searching on Google, you’re confused and concerned. What does it mean? Who makes up the furry fandom? How does the Minnesota Furs fit into the fandom? Is it safe? What can I do to help my child? All of these are valid questions, but with some solid information, each one can be answered and hopefully help you arrive at the answers you need.


Understanding ‘Furry’

There may be some confusion about what it means when someone says they’re Furry or into Furry. Just what does that mean?

Furry is shorthand, used to describe fans of anthropomorphic animals. This means animals with human characteristics such as walking on two legs, having intelligence, and/or the ability to talk – just to name a few. Think Bugs Bunny or Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger, they walk on two legs, have hands to manipulate items, and talk. Members of the Furry fandom write, tell stories, draw art, and even dress up in costumes of their “fursonas” as a way to express themselves.

Each person has a different answer of  what it means to be Furry. We can compare this to how sport fans give different reasons for playing or enjoying a particular sport.  

It seems daunting right now as it’s something new. But, a little education and understanding  can go a long way to build community.. 

Here are some basic things to know.

What is a fursona?

YCHA fursona (furry + persona) is a character invented by a furry that is used as an avatar in the fandom for that person—that is, a way to represent themselves to others in the community. A fursona can be any animal species or a combination of multiple species and is not limited to real-world animals (e.g., gryphons, unicorns). Most fursonas are animals imbued with human characteristics, including the ability to walk and talk, wear human clothes, and have human personalities. Most fursonas tend to be fairly anthropomorphized (human-like), though some can appear closer in appearance to animals, from Furscience.

What is a fursuit?

A fursuit is a costume that looks like an anthropomorphic animal. They are typically made of fake fur, plastic, and foam rubber. The idea of fursuits originated from sports mascot costumes, Disneyland costumes, and theatrical stage costumes. They range from special-effects realistic to neon-colored cartoon creations. Taken from Furscience.

Does my child need a fursuit?

No. While all the pictures one seems to see of the furry fandom captures colorful, photogenic  fursuits, only about 20-25% of the fandom owns fursuits. The fandom does encourage the wearing of animal-based clothing, accessories, or even “ears and tails,” [Look for photo in our archive.]  Even then, those owning fursuits do not wear them for every Furry event.


The Merits of the Furry Fandom

One of the biggest and most important things about furries is that they form communities. Groups can be local or regional where folks meet up and socialize. COVID times has also brought a resurgence in online communities. These are communities that provide a sense of belonging. It’s like being part of a sports team, or a club. They connect to a larger “identity” which they can use in exploring themselves, as well as a lens to see the world through.

The Furry community looks out for one another. It helps keep a protective eye out and helps to organize resources and responses for those in need. One such case happened in Mississippi where Furries stepped in to help raise operational funds when the mayor held back the library’s budget when LGBTQ+ books were not removed from the stacks.

Being in a group provides a huge psychological benefit. It provides a sense of comfort and foundation. Study after study has shown the benefits of belonging to a social group. These benefits range from increased self-confidence, better focus on studies, to becoming more outgoing. This sense of community is what keeps many of our members around.


Minnesota Furs’ Place in the Fandom

We have been talking about the community of the Furry fandom, but how does Minnesota Furs (MNFurs) plug into it? MNFurs is an educational 501(C)(3) nonprofit based in the Twin Cities. It is a family-friendly organization, and most events are considered all-ages unless otherwise specified. Our mission is to provide resources to the community to help cultivate education and acceptance through year-round events within Minnesota. Our events attract Furries from around the United States and the world. Then members also share their knowledge and experiences with other Furry communities.


The Media’s Image and Misconceptions

If you have been curiously searching “Furry” before finding this page, your Google searches may have brought up some sensational results. As you know, the media tends to blow anything that is outside of what is considered “normal” into something that grabs the attention of viewers. As with other fandoms, the people who participate in the Furry fandom cross a wide range of activities and interests. Here, we hope to provide you with the information to navigate this politicized environment.  

Over the years, TV shows and newspaper articles have portrayed the Furry fandom incorrectly, but now we also have the political arena to cope with. The most commonly referenced misrepresentation is the CSI episode, “Fur and Loathing” (season 4, episode 5) where it focuses exclusively on the adult aspect. It would be like portraying Star Trek as all about Captain Kirk’s romantic exploits. But more recently, Furry has become part of the political landscape with the “litter box” agenda where various officials mistakenly touted the hoax of youth needing said boxes in their school bathrooms.

The short and simple answer is that Furry is a form of artistic and self-expression and while the majority of it is innocent, there can be an adult element for some.

Recently there have been many more positive articles about the Furry fandom and community at large. Local media in several major cities have run stories on how the “people in animal costumes” are considered a boon to local businesses, bringing in millions of dollars in revenue. Anthrocon held over the fourth of July weekend in Pittsburgh is one such convention. Over the years, Furry has experienced several positive pieces in Minnesota media.


Coping with the Real World

Youth come to the Furry fandom as a means of finding their way and their people. This fandom becomes a safe harbor to explore who they are and what they want. The support they receive in the fandom allows them to grow in new ways. Hobbies and interests developed during this time can lead to careers in robotics, law, entrepreneurship, medicine, and even the arts. 


As A Parent How Do I Support My Child?

You have taken the first step by reading this page! 

The next few steps could be posting in our forums, attending an event with your child and asking the event staff any questions you may have, or sending us a message. We do need help from you to hold events for your child to attend both as a potential volunteer and a chaperone for your underaged child. And besides, now that your child is a furry, so are you.


When In Doubt, Check It Out!

A list of resources about Minnesota Furs and information used in this article.

This page was originally posted on November 8, 2017, and updated January 25, 2023. We would like to thank the Youth Program staff in 2017 for their hard work and effort to create the program and this page.


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