Furries have been maybe the single most maligned and harassed online community since the inception of the Internet. Furries are a fandom subculture that grew out of sci-fi and anime conventions in the early '80s and they're devoted to the celebration of anthropomorphic animals. Furries make artwork, write short fiction, and create "fursonas," which they use to interact with each other both online and in real life.
What is being a furry really about? What do furries actually do? Thanks to shows like CSI and misinformed exposes in publications like Vanity Fair, the furry community has been wildly misunderstood in popular culture. Targeted online bullying on 4chan, Reddit, and other online forums has added to the problem, fueling a misperception of the furry subculture as nothing more than a bizarre sexual kink, fetish, or half-baked "alternate species" equivalent to being transgender or gay.In fact, the furry community is pretty much just a fandom, except that instead of being a fandom for an existing show, comic book, or video game, it's a fandom for sort of a loose concept, consisting entirely of original characters, and focused on creative expression and role play.
Fursuits Are Expensive (And They're Usually Handmade)
There's no warehouse in Temecula that mass-produces fursuits. They're almost all made by hand, either by fans themselves or by a select few private artisans who create them to exacting specifications. Furries hold workshops - and exchange tips online - sharing the best techniques and often shell out a minimum of $2,000 to $3,000 for one fur costume.
Most Furries Are Basically Hobbyists
Furries typically don't live out their entire lives dressing and acting as their fursonas. They aren't even necessarily 100% devoted to the furry fandom. Lots of furries love to geek out about a range of nerdy, subcultural subjects - games, anime, classic science fiction, etc. The furry fandom began as an outgrowth of comic book and sci-fi conventions, and many furries remain as devoted to those communities as they are to furrydom.
Not All Furries Wear Fursuits
According to the Anthropomorphic Research Project, only about 15% of people who participate in the furry fandom own their own fursuits. Plenty of furries go to conventions wearing minimal costumes (like face paint and fake ears), or they go in street clothes. Some furries stick to writing fiction and making artwork, and don't dress up as their "fursona" at all.
Furries Have Been Around Longer Than You Think
Most people think of the furry community as an Internet phenomenon, but it turns out their origins are more obscure than that. The earliest recorded presence of furries in sci-fi convention literature was in 1983, but it's likely they had been around for at least a few years prior. People in anthropomorphic animal costumes have been a fixture of science fiction events and subcultures for at least the past 35 years.