1.3 Sex, Gender, and Gender Identity

In the social sciences, sex and gender are recognized as distinct concepts. Sex is typically conceptualized as an element of a person’s biologicy, whereas gender, which is socially constructed, refers to aspects of a person’s psychology (e.g., behaviour, self-perception). While a person’s gender identity is congruent with their sex in many cases (cis-gender), it is possible for their gender identity to differ from their sex (transgender), or to fluctuate fluidly over time.

As our awareness of sex and gender issues continues to evolve, we have continually striven to find better ways to meaningfully assess these facets of a personality without unnecessarily constraining participants to dichotomous responses or responses that do not fit with their lived life. To this end, we adopted new measures to assess this facet of identity1, significantly building upon the methods used in previous years 2 while avoiding the pitfalls and mistakes we commonly found ourselves running into. While far from the last word on the subject, the present measure does take into account much of the invaluable feedback provided to us by participants from past studies.

Participants were asked to check off which of a number of options they felt described them. They were free to check off as many or as few options as they wished, and were given the option to write in their own option at the end.

 Furry Identification

Anthrocon 2018Anthrocon 2017Summer 2020 Survey
Category Prevalence
Male 65.7%
Female 20.9%
Transgender (Male to Female) 3.3%
Transgender (Female to Male) 2.6%
Transgender (Gender Nonconforming) 1.0%
Do not identify as Male, Female, or Transgender 0.8%
Non-Binary 3.9%
Genderqueer 3.4%
Genderfluid 6.5%
Agender 2.8%
Other (Please Write) 1.5%
Category Prevalence
Male 73.2%
Female 1.1%
Transgender 12.5%
Non-Binary 12.5%
Genderqueer 4.2%
Genderfluid 5.6%
Agender 2.9%
Other 1.8%

We next assessed participants’ gender identity,3 giving them a series of options to choose (including the abilitiy to write in their own option), and allowing them to choose as many options as suited them (which is why the results add up to greater than 100%). The results found that the majority of furries identify as male, although one-quarter of furries identify as female. Transgender, genderfluid, and non-binary furries are also present at rates considerably higher than observed in the general population.

In an effort to estimate approximate proportion of furries in the fandom who identify as transgender, participants were asked to pick one option from a choice of six which best described them (with an option to provide their own answer if appropriate).4This was done to avoid “double-counting” anyone who identified with more than one category. As the figure above illustrates, 12.2% of furries fall within the broad category of “transgender”, a number more than 20 times higher than that typically observed in the general population. In short, the data from these questions illuminates the importance of considering transgender, genderqueer, and other non-binary gender identities when understanding the composition of the furry fandom, as they make up a considerable proportion of the fandom.

Gender Identity of Furries (open-ended response)

Consistent with past research5, the data suggest that self-identified males were roughly three times more prevalent in the fandom than self-identified females. Even more fascinating, however, is the fact that the number of transgender furries is, all told, nearly ten times higher than that estimated for the general American population (estimated at 0.6%6). It should also be noted that a considerable proportion of the furry fandom indicates that they do not fall within a traditional binary gender dimension, considers themselves to be genderfluid, or to be without a gender identity altogether.

Later in the study, participants were asked to indicate the extent to which they believed that gender diverse individuals were accepted in the furry fandom. If it were the case that gender diverse individuals were not typically accepted in the furry fandom, we might expect them to indicate that this was the case by disagreeing with the statement more than those who identified with more traditional gender identities, who might be unaware from first-hand experience that this was occurring. The results showed that both groups agreed to the same extent that gender diverse people were well-accepted within the furry fandom (6.22 / 7.00).

Updates from 2021-2022:

Our best approach, to date, is encompassed in some of our most recent studies in 2021 and 2022. Across three studies, we presented participants with a forced choice from a set of six options that attempt to capture a range of gender identities while also differentiating cisgender from transgender furries and allowing for people who fall outside of these categories with the options “genderqueer” and “other.” While there’s no universally agreed-upon definition of genderqueer, it most commonly refers to people for whom their gender identity falls outside of conventional attempts to describe or define it, including concepts such as genderfluidity and non-binary. The results are shown in the table below. The data reveal some pretty striking findings, not the least of which is that upwards of one-quarter to one-third of furries do not identify primarily as cisgender.Table: Furry identification with different gender labels across three online and convention-based studies from 2021-2022.

In prior studies7, we compared the furry fandom to three other fandoms: the online anime fandom, the anime convention fandom, and the fantasy sports fandoms. The proportion of furries self-identifying as male is similar to the proportions shown in the online anime and fantasy sports fandom, but far more male than the convention-going anime fandom.


While the ratio of self-identified males to females within the furry fandom does not appear to differ significantly from other online fandoms, the furries in this sample were significantly more likely to identify as transgender or genderqueer/non-binary (indicating that their gender identity fluctuates or does not fall on the Man-Woman dimension), compared to the other fandoms in the study, as the figure below shows8. Further research may show whether this indicates fandom-level differences in the inclusiveness of the groups studied or perhaps a preferential pull toward some other aspect of the furry fandom.


Interestingly another study of furries9 revealed that those furries assigned female at birth were more than twice as likely to identify as transgender (5.5%) and genderqueer or non-binary (18.9%) than furries assigned male at birth (2.1% and 4.1% respectively). The reason for this considerable difference is not yet known, and likely to be a topic for future research.

Research on transgender and genderqueer people within the furry fandom also corroborates findings from the broader psychological research on these populations as well. Studies suggest, for example, that transgender people are at a significantly greater risk for suicide and are more likely to experience significant stress and anxiety. These numbers are also reflected in samples of furries, where transgender and genderqueer furries are also significantly more likely to have reduced psychological well-being and experience significantly greater difficulty developing a positive, distinct, mature identity.10 While we hypothesize that transgender and genderqueer furries may be doing better than those outside the fandom, it remains for future studies to test these hypotheses.

As a whole, the data collected through our current survey methods supports our prior findings: across the fandoms the IARP has studied, the furry fandom may be the one most open to, or accepting of, people who eschew or challenge traditional gender norms. This may, in part, have to do with the content of the furry fandom, which allows a person’s created fursona to be any species, age, or gender, they wish—something that may appeal to people who otherwise feel limited in their ability to express their felt gender identity. This possibility is a topic of interest for future research.


  1. Anthrocon 2017 Study, Anthrocon 2018 Study, Summer 2020 Survey
  2. 2014 3-Fandom Survey (Furries, Anime Fans, Fantasy Sport Fans)
  3. Anthrocon 2018 Study
  4. Anthrocon 2018 Study
  5. Please see the 2012 Furry Fiesta and International Online Furry Survey III; 2011 Anthrocon and International Online Furry Survey II; 2014 3-Fandom Survey (Furries, Anime Fans, Fantasy Sports Fans)
  6. Williams Institute, Flores et al., 2016, “How Many Adults Identify as Transgender in the United States
  7. IARP 2014 3-fandom study
  8. Please see the 2012 Furry Fiesta and International Online Furry Survey III; 2011 Anthrocon and International Online Furry Survey II; 2014 3-Fandom Survey (Furries, Anime Fans, Fantasy Sports Fans)
  9. Anthrocon 2015 Study
  10. Anthrocon 2015 Study


  1. ben

    “Sex refers to a person’s genetics (e.g., XX, XY, XO, XXY chromosomes),”

    Find me a single dictionary that corroborates this.

    • Nathan

      sex [seks]

      3. sexual intercourse
      chromosomal sex – the sex as determined by the presence of the XX (female) or the XY (male) genotype in somatic cells, without regard to phenotypic manifestations. [Also called] genetic sex.

    • Char

      These surveys dealt with Gender Identity, which is distinct from chromosomal or hormonal sex.

      • Admin

        Which is why the first sentence reads “In the social sciences, sex and gender are recognized as distinct concepts” 😉

    • francium

      My brother in christ you are missing the point. sex doesnt equal gender my man that is the point they are trying to makr

  2. No Name

    Furries arent tolerant at all. Not even close. Neither are Trans people. They hate gays (like myself) and lesbians.

    • Admin

      We’re sorry this has been your personal experience; however, although this doesn’t invalidate your experience, the data don’t support this generally. In one of our current studies, N=414, 91% of furries strongly agreed (defined as reporting 6 or 7 on a 1-7 Likert Scale) that they were accepting of transgender and gender non-conforming furries in the fandom. 96% were strongly accepting of gay and lesbians. 96% were strongly accepting of straight furries.

      • SirvieBlueFur

        Hello all! :3 I am very sorry if you feel that the furry community hasn’t given you a good experience. We really are a loving, beautiful community! You just have to meet the right ones! x3

        I’m fully tolerant and accepting! 💕

        I am willing to do anything I can to help our community! We’re a family! UwU and we’d love to invite you into our home.

        I promise that you will find the right furries out there.

    • LexVes

      You’ve met the wrong ones. I’ve met nothing but very kind and very gay furries since joining in 2019. I would like to mention i have never been to a con, but have met my friends through Telegram. I too am very sorry for you’re experience. It is truly a beautiful community.

      • SirvieBlueFur

        Yes! It is! We’re really a very loving and beautiful community! Thank you for helping the fandom! :3 I appreciate you!

    • Finnley M

      Trans people don’t hate gays and lesbians *facepalm* I’m trans and in a gay relationship so that just don’t check out. That’s like saying “tall people hate people with brown hair!”

      Please don’t generalize whole groups of people.

    • SirvieBlueFur

      Hey! I’m so sorry you felt that we’ve treated you that way! I apologize on behalf of us. If you felt we weren’t tolerant, we would appreciate it if you could give us another chance to share our thoughts. :3

      I’m a furry and I’m fully accepting and tolerant!

    • Gray Hoy

      I’m trans and gay my man

  3. Jalex

    why did the demographic of people identifying as Female change so drastically ? 30% going to 1,1% is quite a big drop, Were transgender Women also counted under the “Female” category as well as aFaB People?

    • Admin

      Thanks for the question. Can you clarify exactly what you’re looking at? Are you comparing two or more charts or year to year? Can you point specifically where you’re seeing this change?

      FYI We measure gender two ways: the first is a “check that apply” (e.g., cis-female, trans-female, and gender fluid may check female, which is likely why we see that category changing as the number of trans-women and gender fluid furries in the fandom increases); second, we use a “select the best category that fits you,” so that we can do certain types of statistical analyses.

      • john

        the “summer 2020 survey” tab in the first table

      • Jalex

        I was comparing both Anthrocon Surveys at the top under the “Furry Identification” headline, with the survey from Summer 2020 under the same tab.
        I think I was specifically confused about the huge difference under the Female Category. Since it seemed like it dropped from the Anthrocon 2018 and 2017 surveys to much less than before, while the male identification didn’t.

      • Nin

        I think they are referring to the first table of statistics on the page. The summer 2020 survey shows 1.1% in the Female row.

      • Name

        Liked the work, however confrontation between fandom is misleading by the use of percentage instead of raw numbers. If the furry sample is a minority compared to all groups it must be specified.
        The only true information given the percentages is that queers and trans are “less minority”

  4. PaulaFox


  5. Scale Shift

    This is amazing! Thank you so much for getting this information out there!

  6. Jules

    In your “What’s a Furry?” article (this: https://furscience.com/whats-a-furry/ ) it’s said that “approximately 84% of furries identify as male, 13% female, and 2.5% are transgender”, while in data shown in here approximately 70% of furries identify as male, 20% female, and 12% are transgender (c. 4% mtf, 3% ftm and 5% nonconforming).

    So does the article have incorrect numbers in it or is the data used in the article missing here?

    (Note: both mtf and ftm are included in the data’s male and female percentages)

    • Admin

      The page cites studies from 2012 through 218, and in the middle of the page there is an “Updates from 2021-2022…” section that further refines some of the clarification you seek. As I stated in my previously reply to you on a similar data rage: “The percentages represent data collected and published at the time, and refers to specific studies which depend on the sample size, year of study, cons attended, participants recruited, length of study, etc., so there is and will always be a range to these numbers”; however, as I also mentioned, “We are in the process of overhauling the Research Findings‘ page once the new book is published based on the latest data sets and analyses. This may help to refine the range.” In the meantime, if you need a more definite data point, please feel free to reach out to me, Malicious Beaver at admin@furscience.com and I’ll make sure you get the most definitive answer available, even if we haven’t updated the site to reflect the newer data range. Thanks, again.

      • Jules

        Thanks for the answers.

        What was bugging me/I was worried is that the article is giving misinformation to the reader with the percentages, as they don’t fully match with the data you have collected over the years (especially the ones with c. 10% differences), even if trying to keep data range in mind.

        Hopefully the latest data and analyses will give more accurate numbers that matches with the article, or alternatively in case the data and article still don’t match, can you update the article to have the correct data?

        And for the definite data, I can wait till you have updated the site.

        • Admin

          Thanks again for your understanding, and we appreciate your patience and your feedback. All articles in the Research Findings should be corrected and/or updated when the new book is published. That’s the plan anyway 😉



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