Behind the mask of the South Okanagan furries community

Penticton furries community member said it’s not a sexual thing

Dressing up in large animal suits is not a sex thing, says a member of the Okanagan furry community.

Submitted photo

Cody Richards of Naramata posted a photo in a local Facebook group this week of a group of his friends dressed up in costumes hanging around Penticton. Costumes ranged from foxes to huskies and the pictures include the group hanging out at the Peach concession and other notable Penticton landmarks.

Within minutes of the public post, comments starting pouring in from people, some happy to see the people dressed up and others depicting the costume wearers as sexual deviants and possible pedophiles.

“I wasn’t surprised to see the comments. There is a stigma around the furry community, ‘oh, you know they dress up as animals. It’s all sexualized,’ but it’s really not about that. The community is about having fun, taking pictures with people, making people smile. I relate it closer to mascotting,” he said.

Richards said he’s been around the furry community for the last eight years, since he was about 13.

He acknowledged for some there is a subculture sexual component in the furry community.

“I think the community used to be more noticed for the sexual side,” he said. “The furry community as a whole is very accepting so there’s a lot of LGBT people and unique people that might not fit in in other places. The furry community is very accepting and provides them a community to fit in with,” he said.

Richards is on several furry social media groups and says there are at least 50 people in the Okanagan that are part of the furry community, and online there are over 500 members in B.C. furry networking group.

Submitted photo

An annual convention dubbed Vancoufur held in Vancouver had more than 1,300 participants this year.

Furries are often seen at Comic-Con shows such as Penticon or other large events. Richards said those in the furry community will wear their suits at Halloween or on random public outings.

“They pay a lot for their suits so really any chance they can get to wear them they usually do,” he said.

People in the furry community have a special connection to animals and often create a character, back story and even art pieces from their chosen animal.

Suits range in price from $1,000 to $5,000 and often can take years to create.

Richards recently ordered his first suit.

His animal is a Sabre Tooth Tiger and he expects to have the suit in about four months.

Submitted photo

“Within the furry community there are lots of us that like to draw but not everyone is a tailor. It’s quite expensive to have one made. There are people who make a living exclusively for making suits for the furry community,” he said.

Over the years his role has been handler. He explained that when furries go out in public they need people to keep an eye out to make sure people don’t pull their tails or they don’t walk into anything.

“You can’t see very well as you can imagine. So we’re there to make sure no one is pulling at the suit or to make sure they don’t run into lamp posts that kind of thing,” he said.

Richards said by putting photos out on social media and doing this article he hopes to reduce some of the stigma around the furry community.

“We’re normal people, not weirdos. We’re not here to do anything creepy. We’re just here to have fun, take pictures with people, share and bring smiles to people’s faces and enjoy ourselves,” he said.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Warm temperatures over the weekend made it great reason for Okanagan furry community members to suit up. (Submitted photo)

Just Posted

Nolan Foote named captain for Kelowna Rockets

Kelowna management made the decision Friday, Foote becomes the franchises 25th captain

West Kelowna Warriors look to continue streak in Silverbacks visit

The Warriors host Salmon Arm Friday night at Royal LePage Place

ALC prohibits land exemption status for three Westbank school sites

The decision means a new secondary school won’t be built along Webber Road

Start to finish: Okanagan Sun conclude regular season this weekend

The Sun visit the Westshore Rebels in the final game of the season on Sunday

RDCO to host Repair Café to help Kelowna residents fix household items

‘If you can carry it in under your arm, they’ll do their best to tackle the problem, with your help’

Kelowna pot shop looks to the future on Canada’s first cannibersary

Kelowna’s Hobo Recreational Cannabis store has been in operation since July 25, 2019

Kootnekoff: BC Teachers’ Federation vs the Province of B.C. (Part 2)

In part 2 of a 3 part series, Kelowna lawyer details the legal battles from 2002 to 2014

LETTER: The importance of universal pharmacare

Most people can’t afford their prescription drugs

Small town Okanagan business shines in big city

Cherryville jewelry now offered at Vernon shop

North Okanagan’s haunted happenings revealed with ghost tours

Two unique versions of ghost tours offered

VIDEO: Meet your Kelowna-Lake Country candidates

All seven Kelowna-Lake Country candidates answer questions about themselves and their policy

VIDEO: Meet your Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola candidates

Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola candidates answer questions about themselves and their policy

Valley First feeds a big Okanagan need

Feed the Valley succeeding in fighting hunger

Famous Forgeries displayed by Okanagan Artists of Canada

Okanagan Artists of Canada prepare for 75th anniversary with 75-year-old art

Most Read