TFF’s new policy sparks hate and controversy.
Furry Fiesta is a furry convention that is held in Dallas, Texas, USA. It occurs each February or March at the Hyatt Regency Dallas. Dedicated to the advancement of the furry fandom as a whole and the enjoyment of its attendees, it includes a variety of events centered around the concept of bringing people together for social enjoyment.
The Dallas Regional Anthropomorphic Meeting Association (DRAMA) was formed as a non-profit governing organization in the first half of 2008. Officers were elected, by-laws were documented, and it became an entity in its own right.
Texas Furry Fiesta was my first-ever Furry Convention, so it holds a lot of memories for me. While the convention is massive (4,844 Furries attending in 2019) and is well-known for many of its charitable doings (Donating 25% of funds to C.A.R.E which in 2019 equaled over $29,000)- it has also been surrounded in various controversies. TFF has been trying to make several changes to their convention in order to be more friendly towards the community. This even means a lot of “quality of life” changes such as making a family-friendly area for their 2020 gathering.
However, one change comes in the form of costume regulation:
Props and costumes are not unheard of at Furry Conventions…as people are trying to fill out a certain character. This has also meant that there are a lot of Furries walking around with (at times) questionable attire, and calling out certain conventions over what they allow is a constant exchange on Furry Twitter. Just last year, Fetish gear hit the spotlight, with people lumping in Pup Hoods, harnesses, and anything leather with fetish-gear, and arguing that certain things should not be allowed in a public convention space (because there are children and families present).
Conventions also take place at hotels, where there are business men/women, and people on vacation…and all this was part of the discussions of what should be worn at a con, and what should not be worn at a con. Most of this discussion aims towards creating a positive outlook on the Furry Fandom. Whereas most embrace sexuality and sexual activity, there is always the matter of when it is appropriate and when it is not.
TFF’s new policy against wearing military or law-enforcement gear/uniforms was seen by a large number of people to keep out confusion. Someone in crisis might see the uniforms and mistake a suiter for some sort of professional in that field. But others seemed to also take into account the current state of the USA and its political crisis.
It’s not a surprise that certain sensitivities are at an all-time high, especially in the Furry Fandom (based on their demographics and statistics)- while very few argued against the policy, there was a large number of commentators that decided to hop on the policy post, to spread hate for those wearing the uniforms. What should have been a universal understanding of a new rule, quickly turned into a dumpster-fire of personal beliefs, and hatred towards those who serve around the world on a normal basis:
A lot of people from the ACAB movement (All Cops are Bastards) hopped on the post to show their support and to also give out some hateful words towards our men and women in the service. Those that wore the uniform in costume were called “Bootlicking Pretenders”, and our men/women in uniform were all likened to hateful bigots and Nazis. A lot of people said they had been blocked and were being harassed because of their veteran status (even though they never wore uniforms in suit), and others even threatening violence. At the time I was reading through the thread for the policy, TFF had done nothing to delete any comments or de-escalate the situation. But it seemed that the thread itself was later deleted. I only pulled some of the comments, but the fires raged on as the policy quickly just became a place for people to spread their opinions and politics.
After the new policy was released, a lot of Furries with a German Shepherd fursona quickly saw themselves blocked by others on Twitter. It was then noted that due to the policy and G-Sheps being the ones usually in said-costumes due to their character-roles, a lot of Furries had blocked German Shepherds, citing them also as bigots and Nazis. The amount of hate this flared up, shows a deep-rooted problem in our community. Going on a “Witch-Hunt” is not uncommon in the Furry Fandom, recent drama being fights over POC (people of color) having their own spaces at cons, and even women hosting their own parties since they feel unwelcome in many of the after-dark events. Witch-hunts are often fueled by a policy or some drama post which is then followed by a string of harassment to certain individuals online or threats.
While it was sad to see so many people blocked and mistreated just because they chose their favorite breed of canine to portray themselves as, it was even more sad to see that no one was doing anything about it. I tried searching up non-shepherds that were talking about this issue and how wrong it was, but I found very few. The posts I did find were all in support of blocking German Shepherds, purely on their species…and not on who they really were, or what they really believed. Even if a Fursona is make-believe, this is a form of discrimination, and I do feel that TFF should have addressed it rather than just delete the issue and pretend it never happened in the first place.
I feel like they did this from a business standpoint, as standing against wrongs (in any kind) might mean a loss in business…and a lot of the Furry Fandom acts as a hive-mind and often follows the trend on how they should act, behave, and believe.
Although, I praised the new policy for several reasons:
- It does get rid of that confusion. We do have children at the convention and they should know who is a real officer and who is not.
- In terms of military gear, we do have several ‘real’ soldiers and veterans attending, and stolen valor (even if for cosplay/costuming) is not cool.
- Actual military is not supposed to wear their uniform when not on duty, this is just part of the regulations, and it shouldn’t be broken.
- And due to the political climate in the USA, no Fursuiter or cosplayer should put themselves at risk by wearing the uniform.
The policy brings more good than it does harm (though there were those that opposed the policy since the uniform is an integral part of the fursuit or character as a whole)- and I agree that it was more-or-less used to curb those wearing attire that was ‘historically accurate’ but sparked a lot of controversy or feelings of being uncomfortable at conventions (like re-enactment uniforms from civil wars and etc). A convention should never be a hostile environment and is a place to have fun where everyone feels safe.
I guess, as a closing statement; No matter how many claim that the Furry Fandom is “accepting”, if you head to Furry Twitter, you will see that a lot of the time, it is the opposite. As someone that has been in the fandom for over 13 years, I have seen a major shift in Furry-tolerance among its own members…and it has not been for the better (in most cases). This is my personal opinion, and I have known several people to leave the fandom due to what it has become. But, like with all things, you have to find the good in it…and work hard to create the kind of change that you want. I write this blog in order to shed some light and truth on situations no matter how dark or grisly they are. While a lot of people in the fandom like to sweep issues under the rug, I do feel they need to be dug up at times and really addressed and fought over so we can forgive, evolve, and move on.
But what do YOU think?
Feel free to leave me you comments and opinions in the comment-section down below. If you are going to leave a political comment, I ask that you make it civil and something to host discussion. Blatant hate and disregard of our service-members will be deleted. Personal opinions are fine as long as you address it in a calm manner…and respectfully. But, that’s all I have for this entry. Thank you all for your continued support of this blog. If you want to attend TFF, the con runs from February 28th- March 1st of 2020.
See you all in the next one!