10.3 Bullying

Given that furries are often the subject of ridicule and harmful stereotypes,1 we investigated whether furries, compared to a sample of the general American population, were more likely to have experienced bullying. In focus group and interviews, many furries suggested that their interest in furry and strong connection to the furry community manifested as a result of feeling like an outsider and being picked on, which led to a sense of affiliation with a community of other self-identified outsiders. We wanted to test whether there was truth to these claims, some of which have found support in other areas (e.g., interests pre-dating finding the fandom and feelings of isolation;2 belongingness;3 the fandom as social support.4)

Participants were asked about the extent to which they experienced different types of bullying at different points in their lives.5 Even after statistically controlling for the fact that furries are more likely to be non-heterosexual or transgender,6 both of which, themselves, are associated with a history of bullying, furries still experienced significantly more bullying than the average person, whether measured as being physically beaten up or as teasing or ostracism. 48.3% of furries reported being bullied from the age of 4-10 (as compared to 37.1% of non-furries), 61.7% of furries reported being bullied from the ages 11-18 (as compared to 39.2% of non-furries), and 15.1% of furries report being bullied from the age of 19-24 (as compared to 10.2% of non-furries). This suggests not only that furries are more likely than the average person to be bullied (almost twice as likely in some age groups), but that the majority of furries are bullied at some point in their lives. The differences in bullying were also most prominent during the ages of 11-18, an age critical to the formation of a person’s identity. This suggests that there may be some truth to the lay hypothesis of many furries that they were, indeed, picked on more as children and that this may have had an impact on their identity and on the groups (in particular, furries) that they chose to associate with later in life.

Future research will further investigate the role of bullying in the development of identity in furries, and to determine what effect engaging in the furry fandom has on counteracting the negative effects of bullying.


  1. See 10.2 Experienced Stigma
  2. See 2.1 Time in the Fandom
  3. See 2.10 Furry Motivation
  4. See 11.1 Wellness
  5. Anthrocon 2012 and IARP 2-Year Summary
  6. See sections 1.3 Sex and Gender; 5.1 Orientation


  1. Juliana chapman

    Furrys should not get bullied you guys should let them be who they wanna be and you never know how much money they spent on that outfit so if you wanna bully you should get bullied back.

    • jasmine

      i agree

    • Anthony

      Thank you I am a furry myself I thank you and will confront my bully wish me luck.

      • Lenny

        Godspeed Anthony, Godspeed

      • Jhonny mccock

        I suggest dont, you dont know how strong he is.

    • Jhonny mccock

      But they spend so much on shit that will not fit them as they get older and throw those presious dollars away forever

  2. Nathan

    As someone who is working on getting a license to practice psychotherapy, this is incredibly helpful and opens up many questions for future research. Bullying is especially prominent in American school systems and is a life changing experience. By dissecting these major experiences in an empirical, qualitative, and qualitative ways, we can learn how to treat individuals who are suffering in their lives, and in turn, educate others on such experiences. In my experience, furries are advocates for connecting with nature through creativity and pop-culture, putting empathy and inclusivity first, and showing the world that being yourself is one of the greatest gifts and must be respected.

  3. joey

    being part of this fandom is awesome but the bulling NEEDS to stop


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