Photo taken by Tzara Regina Northcut, Twitter: @Mecknavorz
The student body at UT Dallas is one that is diverse to say the least, it is near impossible to list all of the different communities within UTD. There is one I am a part of however, that seems does not get proper representation. That being the furry community.
The community is more of a fandom, one simply of anthropomorphic animals, or animals with human characteristics. And since that is not possible to actually have in life, it is mostly lived out through art. Because of this, artists of all kinds are an integral part of the community, cartoonists, 3D modelers, anything that can portray a being, furry or scalie. Anyone can simply join the fandom by having an interest in anthro animals, like in some Disney movies and mascots. Nothing else is required to become a part of the community.
Another large aspect is the fursuiting, which can be seen as simply cosplaying as their fursona, a custom portrayal of someone as an anthropomorphic animal. And although they are a big part, they are also relatively rare. People who do wear fursuits are often times glad to give hugs or pictures, but it is always varies on the person underneath.
During my time at UTD I found that the DFW area might have some of the most people in the community. Texas alone has a lot of furs as Dallas’ annual convention is the fifth largest in the world. I have even met several of my closest friends within the fandom.
The furry fandom has to be one of the most inclusive and wholesome things I’ve been a part of. With the majority of furs also being LGBTQ+, along with the fandom essentially being the internet’s punching bag at times, almost everyone is beyond accepting of people. A student at UTD, who would like to remain anonymous said, “The furry community, especially the UTD furry community has been one of the most welcoming communities I’ve interacted with,” to which I must agree. Since joining myself, I have been more comfortable with who I am because of how normalized it was, no big deal just about coming out. And several of the closest friends I have made have been through the fandom. Another student, who would also like to remain anonymous said, “The UTD furries have been very fun and friendly towards one another, and have been a genuine joy to get to know better. It’s been a hard year, but good friends have made it better. Furries accept your gender, race, and sexual orientation openly, and I think that’s great.”