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“Made it to Philly, funny how a fifth of Jack Daniels makes the drive go faster.Always happy to meet new friends who hate commies like I do.” He knew he’d have to do most of that meeting outside the convention because he—and some of his friends—were banned from it for threatening furries.An attendee dress up as a fox moves into position for a group photo at the Midwest Fur Fest in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Illinois, United States, December 5, 2015.Over 5000 people gathered to follow the Furry Fandom based on anthropomorphic animals, animated cartoon characters with human characteristics, or ìFurriesî.They say they’re all about being inclusive and have welcomed people with niche gender identities and odd social quirks into their fold.But there are limits to that tolerance, and since the 2016 election, Junius and other furries have been confronting their version of the right-wing extremists who descended on Charlottesville.These “alt-furries,” as they’re known, hold similar views as the so-called alt-right, a white nationalist, anti-globalist movement that largely supports President Donald Trump.The alt-furries started as a joke on Twitter, as right-leaning furries used the #Alt Furries hashtag to share pro-Trump, furry-themed memes and promote satirical policies, like a ban on “species mixing.” But as the popularity of the hashtag grew, it attracted people who critics say are racist.
It’s hot outside, so not everyone is wearing a full-body fursuit; those are poorly ventilated, and many furries say they’re too expensive (they can cost more than ,000). The only requirement for being a furry, attendees tell me, is saying you are a furry.
Before Junius arrived in Philly, alt-furries had threatened him online for slamming them on social media, calling them bigots and fascists; some said they wanted to “break his neck.” One forum group attempted to find his personal information and release it online.
The threats don’t frighten him—but he is worried that a growing number of furries are vulnerable to recruitment by white supremacists.
Others have started wearing armbands strikingly similar to those worn by Nazis.
To many furries, what started as an online joke isn’t funny anymore.
“Like the Stonewall of the ’70s.”But when it comes to the alt-right, the furries are definitely passing judgment.