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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

Review: Furry community lets loose at Anthrocon, celebrates creativity and city of Pittsburgh

A+furry+at+the+Fursuit+Parade+at+Anthrocon+outside+of+the+David+L.+Lawrence+Convention+Center+on+July+1.+%0A
Pamela Smith | Contributing Editor
A furry at the Fursuit Parade at Anthrocon outside of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on July 1.

The desire to express themselves is what brings many from far away — even outside of the country — all the way to Pittsburgh for Anthrocon. It’s what brought siblings Andy and Dylan to Pittsburgh, all the way from Georgia, for the first time.

“Being around other people who don’t understand furries can be pretty isolating,” Andy said. “I’ve made the biggest journey coming here because I feel like I can be myself here. I feel like I can walk up to anyone and become friends.”

The isolation Andy feels has been no stranger to the furry community ever since it came into public light.

Most furries prefer to give press their “fursona” name or just their first name and rarely their last. But when given the opportunity to talk about why they enjoy being a part of the furry community, the air in the room seems to lift. In their element, surrounded by other furry friends, those attending Anthrocon become larger than life. 

Anthrocon, the world’s largest furry convention, hosted in Pittsburgh since 2006, boasted a flock of fursuit pride made up of attendees from all across the entire world from June 29 to July 2. 

Inside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center at Anthrocon on July 1. (Nate Yonamine | Senior Staff Photographer)

With furry art, dancing, music and a parade that marched its paws around Penn Avenue for a full crowd of Pittsburghers who cheered behind barricades for two hours, Anthrocon in Pittsburgh stands as a testament to the changing perceptions of furry culture and the joy the community creates for not only themselves — but the people of Pittsburgh, too.

“This is my favorite con because the people of Pittsburgh come out and interact with us — they love us,” “Grii,” a fox-furry, said right after marching in the parade. “Just seeing all the people that aren’t furries come out and just watch and give high fives, it’s amazing for us. We love to perform.”

In addition to the parade, another major source of spreading joy and pride through the community at Anthrocon is through art. In the David Lawrence Convention center, halls A and B, dubbed “The Dealer’s Room” during the con, pack with booths from artists booths selling pins, prints, clothing, fursuits and more. 

Furries at the Fursuit Parade at Anthrocon outside of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on July 1. (Nate Yonamine | Senior Staff Photographer)

For many furries, stylized, anthropomorphic art was their pipeline into the furry community. But it doesn’t stop there — art, in all its forms, is the creative heart of the furry community.

“It’s hard to separate the furry community and art,” Matt Dieck, a furry and Anthrocon attendee, said. “If you think about it, the furry community is art. Without artists, there can’t exist a furry community.”

With art as such an indispensable part of the community, many artists make or support their livelihoods with their furry art. Anthrocon is a chance for them to celebrate their hard work and gain more traction. 

For TaniDaReal (real name Tanja), a German furry artist, her furry art is a creative break and support to her main job as a designer. Standing in front of her booth at Anthrocon and interacting with fans in real life as opposed to the internet, Tanja said she feels a wonderful sense of community.

“I don’t have children, but these feel like my children,” Tanja said. 

A furry pets a bunny in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center at Anthrocon on July 1. (Nate Yonamine | Senior Staff Photographer)

A major factor behind the deep sense of community and friendship that feels like a family for many furries like Tanja, is, in Anthrocon director John Cole’s (also known by his fursona “K.P.”) opinion, one of the furry community’s greatest strengths — it’s egalitarianism.

With over half the most popular selling artists and creators being women, K.P. said he feels that the furry community is one of the most respectful and supportive ones out there. 

“If you can come up with a product that sells, you can become popular. Under the fursuit, no one cares who you are, unless you’re being offensive,” Cole said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight, man, woman, white or Black or anything — we’re all furries.” 

It’s in Cole’s personal experience as well, that corroborates the experiences of many who feel like they can be themselves at these types of events.

“I’m comfortable here,” Cole said. “If I create something, I’m not being judged… I can be tougher than I normally am, or more outgoing. Nobody’s gonna say, ‘that’s not you.’”

A booth inside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on July 1. (Pamela Smith | Contributing Editor)

Regardless of the occasional negative comments or judgment, the people of the furry community said they love Anthrocon for the freedom of expression it gives them.

“It’s fun to just be someone else for a bit,” Grii said. “Everyone around has got normal lives, normal jobs — for a weekend, we get to come here, and just be someone else.”

And in getting to be someone else, the furries of Anthrocon certainly shine a powerful, creative light onto Pittsburgh too. In K.P.’s opinion, the end of Anthrocon leaves a paw-shaped hole in the heart of Pittsburgh that will have to wait another full year to be filled again. 

“One thing I can tell you is that when Anthrocon is over, the world doesn’t quite seem as colorful,” Cole said. “The world seems a little more boring.”

About the Contributor
Tanya Babbar, Senior Staff Writer
Tanya Babbar is a junior English nonfiction writing major with a minor in creative writing. In her free time, she likes to roller skate, read on the front porch, talk about her cat Juppi and imagine herself as the Walmart Joan Didion of South Oakland.