Hong Kong’s community of ‘furries’ – people, who enjoy dressing up as anthropomorphic animals – is small and close-knit, and a source of fascination for many outsiders. Two members of the community opened up to the SCMP to reveal their passion for dressing up as furry creatures.
For some it’s about sex, for others it’s just a lifestyle choice. We meet some of the 50 or so Hongkongers who dress up as animal characters.
Josh Ye reports: When Kush first saw people presenting themselves as animal characters on the internet several years ago, he knew immediately that he had found his calling.
Kush, still in school at the time, learned that they called themselves furries. Dressing up as fictional animals that display human personalities and characteristics, they said they felt more comfortable expressing themselves as animals than humans.
“I remember thinking to myself, ‘That is exactly me’,” says Kush, who, like others, prefers to go by his furry name.
Unable to afford a costume – known as a fur suit and often costing more than US$3,000 on the internet – Kush spent a year designing and handcrafting his own furry persona, or “fursona”. It was a “fantastic dragon” in royal blue and white fur.
Kush, a 23-year-old design student, is one of about 50 furries in Hong Kong. (About half of them are expats, another furry says.)
Although it is gaining traction globally as a role-playing subculture, when Kush became a furry, no one around him had a clue about it. The idea of a local furry community was unthinkable.
“Almost all of the local furries in Hong Kong first met on those now defunct old-school forums,” he says. “I’m glad that we now have social media, which really helps us to better find each other.
“Being a furry is a lifestyle,” Kush says. “People feel more in their own skin in a fur suit for various reasons. Some do it as a gateway for sexual pleasure. Some do it because they want to live like an animal.”
Kush says he has known of furries who eschew eating meat because their character is not supposed to do so.
Furry subculture, which originated in the 1980s in the US, has become increasingly popular in recent years. The largest furry convention is Anthrocon, which takes place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, every June, and is preparing for its 20th annual convention. Last year it attracted more than 7,600 attendees.
Another Hong Kong furry, Essex Man Ying-laam, 22, says although the subculture locally remains largely underground, it has been gaining visibility in other parts of Asia … (read more)