Some weeks ago, Koogrr offered the following simple definition of "furry": "Animal People Are Beautiful." (I think those were his words.) This is an inclusive definition: if you think the idea of anthropomorphized animals is cool, then you're furry.
One of my friends told me I was too 'normal' to be a furry. My response was: 'For me, saying I'm not "furry" because I don't, I don't know, proclaim my sincere belief that I am a fox mistakenly incarnated as a human, is just as silly as for homosexual man to say he's not gay because he isn't a member of a gay activist organization. I play on a furry muck. I draw pictures of furry people. The book I'm writing now doesn't have any furries in it, but one I write in the future probably will.'
Another friend offered that he preferred the term 'anthro fan' because 'fur' had come to have the wrong connotations. Just as the 'Trekkies' are the obsessives of sf fandom, so have 'furries' and 'furs' become the obsessives of the anthro fandom.
That seems fair enough. In my example above, this is the equivalent of a homosexual refusing a particular label because that label implied 'person obsessed with his sexuality' rather than simply 'person attracted to members of the same gender.'
However, it also means conceding the label. It means admitting that an otherwise reasonable and descriptive term is off-limits because some people have narrowed the field of what it can be applied to. My friend offered that this is the outcome desired by those who embrace the label 'furry' most. The people who vehemently identify themselves as 'furry' don't consider mere afficionados, like me, a part of their world.
And this last is what I wonder about the most. Would the furries of the world rather disown me as too 'normal', as not 'furry' enough, because I don't identify with a totem animal or take to cuddling in large groups, or do whatever else it is that 'real furries' are supposed to do?
Am I furry?
Or is the English language as a whole aided, if I gracefully yield the term to those more devoted than myself, and turn, instead, to 'anthro fan'?