While in Pittsburgh last weekend for a wedding (mazel tov, Anne and Aaron!), I witnessed something that, in a small way, made me proud to be an American.
It was the largest gathering of “furries” in the world.
I’m no expert on these creatures, though I did ask quite a few questions this weekend; but I learned that every year, thousands of “furries” – people who enjoy dressing up as animals and drawing anthropomorphic figures – descend on Pittsburgh for the Anthrocon convention.
All weekend, the Furries walked around downtown Pittsburgh dressed in their “gear.” Some wore a fluffy tail or cat ears; others looked as if they were auditioning to be Willie the Wildcat.
Those people in full-on mascot gear did not talk, but often had vocal friends tagging along (body guards?). One of these non-costume-clad sidekicks told me that the Furries do not talk because they wouldn’t want to “ruin your imagination,” which is good, because I wouldn’t want a teenage male voice to ruin what I had always believed a five-foot-seven lime green wolf would sound like.
Local Pittsburghers told me that while Anne and Aaron’s wedding hotel welcomed the Furries (with open paws?), other hotels are not always so Furry-friendly. Each Furry takes on its own animal character; and they really live their parts. This could include, apparently, requesting litter boxes from the hotel.
There’s truly nothing like 4,000 Furries in the same hotel as a black tie wedding to really make you love this country. I am grateful that people – and animal-people – of all kinds and of all species can live together in peace and harmony. We live in a country that accepts humans who literally walk with a tail between their legs; people who, even for one weekend a year, come together to be who they really are. This is America.
Happy Independence Day, Furries and non-Furries.