The term furry has wound its way into popular culture in recent years. But what, exactly, is a furry? According to UC Merced’s furry club, UC Furced, the definition depends on the person. To some, being a furry can be as innocent as liking a hat with cat ears. Others enjoy gazing at furry artwork, while for others, being a furry means creating furry artwork. As in all groups, there is a outgoing sect that enjoys attending furry conventions, whether as themselves or dressed up in fur suits similar to costumes, in much the same way people attend Comic Con.
The club is not yet an official club, narrowly missing the club registration deadline for the Catlife website at the beginning of the Spring 2016 semester. It boasts ten current members and hopes to add more in the coming months. Among its members are three artists and a few convention attendees, displaying a variety of interests within the club. The club was conceived as a place where people can be themselves in a world that is prejudiced against the idea of furries. Because of the intense judgement towards furries and other similar fandoms, some members who identify as bronys (male adult My Little Pony fans) seek sanctuary in the furry community but do not themselves identify as furries. The club is open to all. Moreover, the goal of the club is bring together the furry community.
According to Coleman Hampton, the group’s de facto leader, the few times the group has advertised on UC Merced classifieds the response has been mixed at best. He claims most comments are negative, with those genuinely interested in the club messaging him privately to express interest. Hampton serves as the group’s vetter, with all potential members instructed to message him. He then decides if the person truly wants to join or if the potential member is a “troll”, or a person that makes offensive comments with the sole purpose of upsetting a certain person or group. All vetted members join a mandatory group chat, although physical meetings, held semiweekly since the beginning of September, are optional. While the club is not sure what to expect once they go public, they are sure of staying together and helping each other through and potential adversity.
Photo Credit: Maria Talania