|According to CSI, this is the Furry Murder Rush, right before they EAT YOU.|
And yes, a group of them does enjoy adult pursuits while wearing the big furry outfits. It's called "yiffing." This is the laser focus for what most people know about Furries, and certainly what I knew about them. I had thought it was just a sexual thing, and a gross sexual thing at that. And that's the thing these days, isn't it? If something's a little off, it must be perverted. That's why people think Bronies are child molestors, after all.
Then, last week, I first heard of Lieutenant Pandez.
|The one on the right, in case you were wondering.|
The Lieutenant first appeared on my radar on Reddit this week, when he shared this set of pictures:
|The look on Patrick Stewart's face.|
Someone asked the giant anthromorphic man what his favorite story of meeting a Star Trek celebrity was. He told us about the first, second and third time he met Levar Burton.
The first time was fairly standard. He came to one of the tiny photo booths they have at conventions, snapped a picture with Levar, exchanged a few kind words, and that was that.
The second time, he wanted a picture with his real face in it. So when he went into the photo booth with Levar Burton and Brent Spiner, he took off the Panda head. Levar still recognized him (possibly because he was still wearing the feet), and remembered his Furry name.
...At this point, my brain is filled with a mental image of Levar Burton saying "Hey, Pandez! Good to see you!" This fills me with joy.
Anyway. He leaves the photo booth, puts his head back on, and goes back to the convention floor. A few minutes later, he gets a tap on the shoulder. Levar Burton is standing behind him. He looks him over, now in the full Cat/Bear suit, and simply says "Much better."
Star Trek has always been about tolerance. In the 1960s, Gene Rodenberry had to fight every day to keep a black woman on the bridge of his ship. In the 80s, the crew of the Enterprise took a member of the race that had been their greatest enemy and welcomed him to the crew with open arms. Even the more war-heavy Deep Space Nine is filled with the message that the universe can only move forward if we are all more open minded. The cast of Star Trek has embraced this. When I went to a Star Trek convention in San Francisco, I was constantly impressed with how much they took care of their die-hard fans, no matter how socially or physically awkward.
With that said, Levar's reaction is not surprising. But it is a good example of what my wife calls a "teachable moment." I looked at that story, and thought long and hard about how I'd been acting. And then I did some research. Turns out, most Furries are not in it for the sexy times. Most furries genuinely feel better in a different body, and with a community of people that understand and accept them. Who can blame them?
Really, in the end, isn't that how we all got here? We're geeks. Nerds. Freaks, even. And we've gathered into this tight knit little group because we were outcast and tortured for who we are and what we love. For years, sure, we tried to make ourselves the cool kids by excluding and looking down our noses. But the reason geek culture has grown so much in the last two decades is because we left that behind, and started opening our minds and our hearts.
|No, not like that.|
After all, they're just like us.