It’s very difficult to estimate, with any meaningful accuracy, the number of furries that exist on planet Earth. But for the moment, let’s do a rough estimate.
Estimating the Furry Population in 2022
In 2018, a reasonable estimate was between 100,000 and 1 million people. That’s quite the range, but either number is a good starting point.
That was four years ago.
Furry conventions seem to grow consistently at a rate of over 20% per year, pre-pandemic. This means furry convention attendance has a doubling time of about 4.5 years.
If there were 1 million furries in 2018 when that article was published, and the growth rate of furry convention attendance was indicative of the growth rate of the furry fandom at large, then there might be as many as 2 million furries today.
It’s probably still less than 2 million as I write this, but not by very much.
The estimate could also be as few as 100,000 if we lowballed the initial estimate and assumed zero growth. But anecdotally, I think that’s less likely than 2 million.
Why Does It Matter How Many Furries Exist?
There’s an old saying, “One bad apple spoils the bunch.”
And while there is some truth to that cliché, it isn’t, “One bad apple spoils every other apple in the fucking universe.”
A lot of people on the Internet hate furries. They hate us for a lot of reasons–mostly queerphobia, of course! Anti-furry sentiments are old enough to drink. They largely originated with the early days of Something Awful, and the motivation was always to make gays feel excluded.
However, homophobia has largely fallen out of favor with the general public (even if transphobia is still common), so Internet trolls and the people they influenced cannot mask off with “We hate furries because we hate queers”.
So they instead cite a few bad apples to disparage the rest of us. This is like saying anyone who ever worked for Subway is despicable and should not be trusted around children because Jared Fogle turned out to be a pedophile.
It doesn’t make sense, because it’s not meant to make sense. Hate is spread through appealing to negative emotions. Anything resembling the structure of a logical statement is meant to stave off one’s reason from interfering with this emotional resonance.
And if that doesn’t work, then they’ll just appeal to the human need to be part of the in-group.
That’s part of the reason furry-haters are so prone to the emotion of shame that they think “MFF offering free HIV testing to attendees” is somehow a bad thing.
To be clear: Knowing your status and getting tested is a form of protection against sexually transmitted infections. If you know your status and all of your partners’ statuses, you’re safer than a bunch of idiots who don’t know their status bumping around with contraception. (For examples, Condoms don’t prevent HSV infection, and a lot of people carry it.)
Everywhere, Some Apples Are Bad
It is impossible to gather any significant number of people without a bad apple cropping up. It’s hard to divine where exactly the line is, but once you get up to about 1,000 people, you’ve almost certainly crossed it already.
The inevitability of bad apples is why governments have law enforcement. (Even anarchist governments have some form of community protection in their design! This isn’t a pro-cop idea.)
The thing that matters isn’t, “Does your community have a spotless record?”
What matters is, “How do you respond when someone shows how awful they are to the rest of you?”
If you’re demanding a spotless record, you’re incentivizing people to participate in cover-ups and sweep problems under the rug before they can be recorded as a permanent imperfection. This is toxic as fuck, and that’s precisely the outcome you’re going to get.
Instead of demanding conformity and perfection, we should be focusing on responding to the inevitable bad actor that crops up within our communities. There is a lot we could be doing better to protect victims and oust offenders, but we won’t get to there from here if we’re constantly being attacked because at least one offender existed at any point in the furry fandom’s history.
Our Responsibility is As Limited As Our Power
One paragraph above, I noted that there’s a lot we could be doing to better protect victims and oust offenders in the furry fandom. And that’s true, but this statement needs to be tempered with the realization that, for the overwhelming majority of members of the furry fandom, there’s fuck-all we can do.
The reason for this is simple: The furry fandom is decentralized; there are no gatekeepers outside of isolated, local scales.
What this means is: Sure, the head of security for a furry convention could be doing more to prevent animal sexual abusers from attending. And they should. But I’m not the head of security for the hypothetical furry convention, so no matter how I feel about this topic, I can’t actually make anything happen.
I have never attended most furry conventions. I’m far from a “popufur”. I don’t make any important decisions about most furry fandom activities. I’m not well-connected to any of the big content creators or influencers in furry. (Hell, I don’t even have a TikTok account.)
And most individuals in this fandom are even less influential than I am!
Furries are already doing better than many communities in this front: When someone reveals themselves to be a bigot or rapist (of any variety), they’re quickly and loudly decried by the furries near them on the social graph. This is why Nazis have consistently failed to infiltrate most of the Furry Fandom (300 or so idiots notwithstanding).
Most of us are powerless, and most of us are innocent. Trying to dupe bystanders into believing otherwise only serves to make the world a worse place, and it’s already pretty bad.
So with that in mind, let’s address some of the dumb talking points brought up by anti-furries.
Addressing the Talking Points of Anti-Furries
A lot of furry haters outsource their entire reasoning facilities to YouTubers rather than have an original thought for themselves.
For that reason, you’ll hear many of them name-drop RainFurrest when trying to spread hatred against furries; simply because a dude calling himself the Internet Historian made a YouTube video which claimed the real reason RainFurrest got shut down was out-of-control sexual debauchery and those gosh darn diaper fetishists.
Reality isn’t nearly as scandalous as myth. Here’s a YouTube video where the actual story gets told:
If you don’t want to watch the whole video, here’s a short list from the video description:
- Two attendee drug overdoses that required medical response and hospitalization for both attendees;
- Over 2000 spend nitrous oxide cartridges which are used as an illegal inhalant were found discarded in a guest corridor after the group checked out;
- A drug arrest in the adjacent parking lot of a person that police believe had ties to the RainFurrest group;
- A RainFurrest volunteer staff member was reported to have sexually assaulted a female attendee (the responding Sheriff charged the man);
- A guest room smoke detector was tampered with and discarded in a guest corridor;
- An elevator inner door cable was broken by an attendee trying to force the door open;
- A RainFurrest security staff member was seen using marijuana;
- Hilton received a phone call and follow up e-mail from an attendee complaining about rampant drug use and alcohol consumption that was allowed by RainFurrest staff.
Notably absent from this list: Used adult diapers being left in hotel rooms, sexual promiscuity, homosexuality.
Let me be clear here: Drug abuse is a problem, and I offer no defense for it. Sexual assault is never okay. I don’t even know how you break an elevator inner door cable.
RainFurrest had 99 problems that led to its contract not being renewed, but fringe sexual fetishes wasn’t one of them. Any narrative that tries to claim “A furry convention (i.e. RainFurrest) got shut down because of rampant degeneracy” is an outright lie.
Also, stop using the word “degenerate”. It’s a Nazi term.
If you’re going to cite an event as a justification to hate an entire community, you owe it to yourself to learn the actual events that happened rather than trusting some dude with a YouTube channel to think for you.
Let’s be generous and play Devil’s Advocate for a moment: If the furry fandom was actually as bad as the baseless rumors about RainFurrest would have you believe, why aren’t more furry conventions getting shut down? Why aren’t there more data points to support this narrative?
RainFurrest was 7 years ago at this point, and there are a lot of furry conventions every year (and the linked website isn’t comprehensive).
Cum Pizza Guy
The guy goes by John Wolf / Manedwolfy, but okay.
The most important thing to know about Manedwolfy is that he’s a constant source of stupid fucking drama in the furry community. Here’s a short list of things he has done in the past six months to piss virtually the entire furry fandom off.
- Ableism: Mocked the communication preference badges based on the guidelines from the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network at Midwest Furfest 2021.
- Called an indigenous woman a “battle axe” (????)
- Advertised a room party in his “apology” for his previous transgression
- Advertised a “Cumming for Cancer” room party at FWA 2022 to raise money for testicular cancer patients.
I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating: There is a subgenre of furry that mostly consists of young twinky misogynistic fuckboi gay dudes. These are the same vain assholes that perpetuate the “30 is Gay Death” tropes within furry, unironically. A lot of them are heavy into drugs. I would personally never leave a drink uncovered if one of them showed up at an event I was attending.
Manedwolfy and his associates are part of the furry fuckboi scene. If you want to use his conduct as a reason to hate on the fuckboi contingent within furry: Knock yourself out, I don’t really care. But it’s supremely foolish and wrong to claim that they represent the rest of us, when we hate them for their antics as well. You will look like an idiot if you do this.
About the whole cum pizza thing: I grew up very poor, so the thought of getting a bunch of dudes to jerk off onto a pizza is frankly disturbing. The economy isn’t great, why are you going to go and waste food like that? It’s just stupid.
That being said, the pizza wasn’t actually left out in the public’s eye. They rented a suite and left it outside one of the suite rooms (i.e. only people with suite access would have been “exposed” to it, which is the same people that participated in the activity).
The only reason some people believe otherwise is simple: Someone was shitposting on Twitter.
Still gross, but not a public health hazard like people claim in their moral crusades.
Kero the Wolf
Joshua “Kero the Wolf” Hoffman was among the darkest things to happen to the furry community, for a lot of reasons. He’s the favorite shitty person for furry haters to cite as a reason to hate the furry fandom.
What Kero did was heinous, deplorable, and downright unacceptable for the furry community. Trust me: Nobody hates Kero more than the furry fandom.
But what makes Kero’s story so disgusting isn’t just the acts he committed and supported others to commit. It’s also the fact that he was a wildly popular Furry YouTuber in public, while perpetrating this in secret. It’s also the fact that a few dozen or so zealous idiots continue to support Kero in a weird microcosmic cult of personality. And many of these fervent supporters of his are quite young, so there’s certainly an element of exploitation to all of this.
A lot of people say the darkest day of the furry fandom history was when Kero and his zoophile/zoosadist accomplices were exposed, but that misses the point: Bringing their true nature to light was the end of several very dark years.
It was certainly a wake-up call for many that, yes, terrible people fucking exist in this world. Wake-up calls can be quite traumatic. But as far as the revelation goes: I’m glad he isn’t free to abuse animals in secret while pretending to be a normal furry.
Also, every time anyone invokes Kero’s name to try to make the furry fandom look bad, they’re shooting their own argument in the foot.
Furries never covered for Kero. As soon as the zoosadist ring’s criminal activity was exposed, we blew it the fuck up. That’s the entire reason non-furries ever heard about his heinous acts.
We publicly questioned his dumb “hacker” narrative and exposed the sloppy lies. I, personally, validated the authenticity of the messages (and their timestamps) that implicated Kero as a member of their ring over the years leading up to the leak. (The timestamps are important because only someone with privileged access to Telegram’s servers could have forged them, and nobody would burn this capability on just framing some random furry.)
The vast majority of furries are not zoophiles.
I’m greatly interested in hearing any ideas on how to drive the percentage of sexual abusers in this fandom towards zero without committing crimes or violence.
Most furries will agree with me on that.
There’s nothing more to say about this today.
Why Write All of This?
Furry hate has really not evolved in the 20+ years that it’s been an online phenomenon. It’s always been thinly veiled queerphobia stacked on top of logical fallacies and half-truths in order to paint a narrative that “furries are bad” and “it’s okay to hate on furries”.
Since the discourse against furries is mostly the same tired bullshit, rather than waste time arguing with haters in one-off Twitter/Reddit discussions, it would be a better use of my time to write it once and then send hyperlinks when people try to mislead the public.
The Furry Fandom doesn’t have a Public Relations team.
There will always be bad apples, and there will always be bad press. It’s important for furries to strive to always be better than them, and for everyone else to recognize that they don’t represent us.
I’m going to continue enjoying my community and doing good where I can, whether or not it gets public recognition. Actions speak louder than words.