San Francisco Furry Pride!
Not all furries are LGBTQ folks. However, a significant portion are. According to the International Anthropomorphic Research Project (IARP) * , furries are 7 times more likely to be homosexual than the general population. Similar trends for the rest of the LGBTQ spectrum are evident in this research. That being said, there has always been furry representation in the LGBTQ community. This past Sunday’s San Francisco Pride Parade was no exception.
If you’ve never been in in such a parade, the whole experience is fun. Our day started off early, because we had to drive about 2 hours to get to San Francisco. We met our group for breakfast in SoMA, and fueled up for the day. Then it was off to the parking garage to change into our costumes before heading over to the staging area. If we stopped right there, this would already be a stellar furry costume event. So much fun can be had as a furry simply wandering a city street in costume. In fact, some furry gathers are just that. Two Fridays ago, about a dozen of us took to Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz for an evening.
With the pride parade, there is so much more to take in after just arriving in the staging area. The “hurry up and wait” at pride is actually fun. The staging area is packed with contingents, music, and dancing, as we all wait to step off, sometimes for hours. This year we were contingent number 168, meaning 167 other contingents had to go before us. We did’t leave for about 5 hours. What that means for us, is a 5 hour tailgate party! Before we even stepped off, I had 5 hours of dancing on our float to our DJ’s and a belly full of street food from the plethora of street vendors working the crowd. New friends are made, great conversations, networking, and a whole lot of love in the air. When we finally did step off around 3 PM, I was kind of sad to see our little party village break up.
Everyone should experience this in their life.
The parade itself is a different kind of joy all together. The crowd has an energy that fuels your own energy. On our float, with high energy music playing, I found myself lost in the music. It is a rush to hear the cheers, see the waving hands, and smiling faces. It’s a deep down feel good to know that those smiles are because you are there. I can only imagine that this is the same rush a celebrity or famous musician feels when on stage. I do know I was on a high, because I have been coming down from it all day today. If I was on that float in my human form, I do not know if I’d feel the same things. What I do know is that everyone should experience this in their life.
Even if you are shy, and introverted. Fursuits have a degree of anonymity. They change who you are inside, you can be bolder without worrying about what someone thinks of you. This is a big deal for many furries who have trouble being extroverted in their regular human form. The parade reminds us that other people tap this in different ways with different costumes, and different passions.
There has been a furry contingent in the SF pride parade on and off since as far back as I can remember. Even when there isn’t a parade contingent, there are always furry outings to the pride celebration. This year we were lucky enough to team up with a Burning Man mutant vehicle project called UNAVERZ. ** The vehicle became an ad-hoc platform for a float. There is already talk of grand plans for much more elaborate decorations next year.
Coordinating events like this with dozens of furries can quite literally be ‘herding cats.’
Furry social media is ablaze this whole month with images and video of furries at pride celebrations the world over. Social media has become powerful organizing and rallying tool for the furry community. As you can imagine, coordinating events like this with dozens of furries can quite literally be “herding cats.” As of late, the preferred social media tool has been Telegram. Furries form event specific telegram chats to organize events, whether it be a back yard BBQ, or a large pride parade trip. Even large scale furry conventions use telegram extensively. Telegram allows us to divide our attention into very specific, topical conversations . For the San Francisco Pride parade, there is a telegram chat just for that event. I will be doing a separate column that doves deeper into the social media tools, and web sites that furries use in a future installment.
Pride is universal. I know I am proud to be a furry. Furries are one of the most accepting subcultures you’ll ever find. Like any divergent group, furries can be the subject of ridicule, and unfair stereotypes. Participating in events like Pride celebrations really echo the sentiment of acceptance in furry because the LGBTQ community has many of the same challenges. For us, it’s very rewarding to be among throngs of people who accept us for who we are. It is no wonder so many of our straight heteronormative furries, and friends became integral parts of this celebration. This outpouring of love and support is truly heartwarming and uplifting. Pride like this brings me a sense of hope.
Upcoming Bay Area furrry events:
- FROLIC! – Saturday, July 1st, 2017 – Frolic! at The Eagle Tavern, 398th 12th St, San Francisco, 8 PM-2AM, $12 Cover, 8 with costume, 21+
- Death Guild – vs – Wild Things – Monday, July 3th at The DNA Lounge, 375 11th street, San Francisco. 8:30 PM – 2 AM, $3 cover before 10, $5 after, 18+ with ID.
- (*) IARP – International Anthropomorphic Research Project – http://www.furryresearch.org/findings/sex-relationships-porn/5-1-orientation/
- (**) UNAVERZ – Home page at http://unaverz.com/
- Photos: Click here to see more shared photos!