“There’s A Little Bit of That Magic Where I’m Becoming Something Else”: LGBT+ Furry Identity Formation and Belonging Online

Mary Heinz

Abstract


Active and open identi cation with animals and the creation of anthropomorphic (or zoomorphic) fursonas have become infamous on the internet, yet published research on the subculture is lacking. This ethnographic study explores this under-examined subculture by considering how individuals who identify as LGBT+ and as furry nd and experience community online in ways that contribute to feelings of belonging, inclusion, and overall well-being. Through a series of semi-structured interviews, it was found that participating LGBT+ furries experienced an increase in self-reported emotional well-being when allowed to engage with online furry fandom. Given that furry identity is inherently non-normative, the fandom becomes an accepting space for other non-normative identities, like LGBT+ identities. By creating accepting online communities, those without access to supportive communities in their o -line lives can learn about and explore non-normative identity without judgement. These spaces may allow for the accumulation of multiple non-normative identities, all of which are in relative harmony within online furry fandom, which serves as a “catch-all” identity. Existing within this space had positive a ects on the well-being of the participants.


Keywords


anthropomorphism; dialogism; furry fandom; intersectionality; LGBT+

Full Text:

PDF


DOI: https://doi.org/10.15273/jue.v10i2.10351

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


The JUE is a peer-reviewed online journal that publishes original ethnographic research by undergraduates working in a variety of disciplines. Submissions are welcomed. Contact the Editor, Martha Radice.

ISSN 2369-8721