Venus In Fur

Her eyes are huge, and their bright green color pops against her scarlet hair. But the most striking things about her are her ears, mainly because they're pointy and the size of pizza slices. As we talk, she gesticulates with giant fuzzy paws. No, I haven't just swallowed a tab of LSD - I'm talking with a "furry," one of the many men and women across the globe who identify with anthropomorphized animals. They draw pictures of their animal personas ("fursonas"), sometimes dress in full-body mascot-style costumes, have meetups with other mem- bers of the community, and occasionally even identify as part animal. The woman I'm chatting with is apart-time EMT who has attended 15 furry conventions since 2007. She's dressed in a head-to-toe catcostume: her fursona is called K2. "I'm actually a cat who thinks she's a dog," she had a thing for that movie as a kid. But pretty much anything that had some sort of an animal star in it, I was all about." Pam, an Idaho-based student whose fursonais a house cat, discovered her furry side seven years ago, almost by accident. "A friend had seen a self-portrait I had drawn, and I didn't draw myself as I am in real life - I drew my fursona but didn't realize that's what I was doing. He saw it and said, 'You do realize that you're a furry, right?' I didn't know that other people like me existed."

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