The Diversity of the Latin American Furry Fandom – by Rama and Patch.
by Patch O'Furr
This started with a guest submission by Rama the Golden Liger, a fur in Honduras. I collaborated with a lot of editing to smooth out the language and add extra info and another point of view. Fred Patten helped connect with even more furries who sent info at his request. Thanks Rama and Fred! – Patch
The Diversity of the Latin American Furry Fandom
We know how furry fandom started in the U.S. As it grew there, the mainstream media, the internet, its memes and popular YouTubers, and other influences put the fandom within a stone’s throw for many young people. Now across borders, different cultures are experiencing a growth of furry fandom among many international influences they already have.
Latin American furries are a result of all this exposure. The internet helped many young people get interested in the art, behavior, and culture of the furry creatures they see on the screen. Many Hispanic furry fans are males mostly from around age 15 to their 20’s. They came across fandom through friends, memes, anime, manga, and fan art. There are popular YouTubers like Khazoo, who spread the term “furry” through his videos. Of course, there was also Zootopia spreading popularity of anthropomorphic animals around the world.
(Patch): International reach reminds me of studying animation under an “old master” who in 1989, helped lead a nonprofit mission to Latin American countries to reduce AIDs among street children. They traveled around to test screen educational cartoons on the side of a van. The audience was poor kids who were vulnerable to exploitation and had low access to schools. The films they were shown were life saving, and most importantly to this story, the language of cartoons was universal across borders to all levels of literacy. Of course internet users in 2018 are the main topic here.
Khazoo is an example of how furryness spreads now. This teenage Spanish-language Youtuber from Mexico may not be known to English speakers. He was born in 1999 and only uploaded his first video in 2016, but soared to 31.5K followers on Twitter and nearly 600,000 youtube subscribers so far – much more than any specifically furry internet celebrity! How did he start? According to a wiki about him (use Chrome/Google Translate), Khazoo started with general teen audience content like gaming and cartoons. While he joked about being in love with Judy Hopps, fans called him “furry” but he denied it, until finally admitting it to everyone – a story I’m sure we can all laugh about in any language!
Latin American fandom does have old school furries; those who joined the fandom in the beginning or have been there for more than 15 years. From talking with some of them, they all got into it through comics with art from – for example – Nakira, JK Willard, Kese, or K9. And of course cartoons and books. Later on, the boom of the internet brought them to a community of those who loved anthropomorphic animals.
Even if furry fandom in these regions is still following development in North America, it’s already showing exponential growth; not only in the number of people who join every day, but also in the quality of fursuiters, artists, gamers, and more that have come from it.
Some examples are:
- The amazing works of Coby Wong, the fursuit maker from Brazil. She’s considered one of the most qualified makers in Latin American fandom.
- Talented artists like GAB SHIBA, Anhes, Peritian, Señor Nutria, and more from Mexico and Argentina.
- E-sports gamers like Noah Fox from Mexico, right now living in the U.S.
Some of them answered questions for this article.
One furry who spoke was @NoahFFox. He discovered furry fandom when he was 16 years old. He’s been in the fandom for four years, and since he moved to the U.S. he’s become a big Hispanic representative on Smash. He’s recognized as the only one using the Toon link.
From the comics partnership of GAB SHIBA – Zurdo is the artist (and Cross is the writer.) Zurdo shared his story about the fandom and how things started. He joined furry fandom 13 years ago when he was 16 and a friend showed him anthropomorphic art. He sees in the Latin American furry community a big opportunity for improvement. It can get a little chaotic because it’s now populated almost entirely by youths, but as it develops you can see how much good it can do, as more join year by year. There’s fear of the young population misunderstanding what furry fandom is; what role it serves, and that it’s not only about porn or yiff art. But he hopes to see more and more mature furries in Hispanic fandom as it grows with time.
Gab 98— GAB SHIBA (@gabshiba) January 26, 2018
From the same who brought you UBEAR, we bring you the ubearPOOL pic.twitter.com/Q7vm3ksbxw
(Patch): GAB SHIBA has a smart approach. The comics are frequently wordless, or posted with dual-language for wide appeal – but they don’t just stay G-rated. Some are mildy sexy and others are even explicitly adult.
The same for Señor Nutria’s art. Maybe in the U.S., one may think of some Latin American countries as having conservative religious traditions or maybe not being the most tolerant, but some of his art is up there with the hottest gay yiff porn – showing that wherever furries are, they may spread a certain freedom or even counterculturally unbound expression in their creativity.
At Further Confusion in January 2018, I met Señor Nutria on his first trip to a fur con outside of Mexico. He was super friendly but still a little shy of being on camera, so I got a pic of work in progress at his dealer table instead. He said his younger brother, a teenager, had recently gotten into the fandom from seeing furry art.
Let’s not forget Paco Panda, the popular Mexican artist already widely known in fandom. And – Dogpatch Press has generous website admin support from Mexican fandom.
Latin American furmeets and cons
Many countries already have active communities and cons where they gather to exchange experience and knowledge, and socialize with other furs of their region. Some Hispanic countries started to do this as recently as two years ago, some four years. They are getting bigger and bigger. As new as furry fandom is in Latin America, you will notice how the media is interested in it and seek to interview these new animals in their lands. You can also see how many of the fursuits are hand made mostly by fans for themselves. Only a few can afford to buy a professionally made suit. But that’s the lovely part. You can see the large amount of effort and love this community is putting into its hobby and fandom.
The biggest gathering right now is the Brazil FurFest. Then there’s Vidafur and Fursummer in Mexico, and furmeets in Argentina and Chile. Here’s videos, with info about the first con in Mexico below.
(2/22/18) BrasilFurfest sent appreciation and a comment: “Brazilians aren’t Hispanic. Latin America is made of countries that speak Spanish, French, Portuguese. Hispanic refers only to people who speak Spanish.” (Apart from this, many from the region probably do meet there.)
BrasilFurfest – Brazil
Vidafur – Mexico
Furmeet – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Furmeet – Santiago de Chile
(Patch): There was rare media coverage of Peruvian furries in 2015. The standard “furries 101” article added useful tidbits: It was “still somewhat unusual” to see furries in Lima because their group was little more than four years old, and “the members of this tribe in our country are no larger than 100.” It also claimed: “In Latin America, Chile is a privileged country for furry fandom.” I’d love to know more.
Mexico’s first con – info gathered by Fred Patten.
Leonardo Davalos wrote:
The fandom is growing and very quickly and expanding to other countries, for example here in Mexico, the fandom isn’t unknown like it was before, and I’m happy that I had become one of the new members of this fandom.
In Mexico, the first meet was held in Guadalajara in 2008. It was a FurMeet called VidaFur. In 2010 it was held in Mazamitla, and in 2013 it was held in Guanajuato. In 2014 there was no event. The theme in 2017 was Furs in Space. This year it became a great convention with approximately 170 attendees. The name is now changed to Confuror, to be held in November 2018.
There were 27 staff members for the 2017 event. Some of them were Hugo Nieto, Henry J. Doe, EddBear, SoraDezWolfox, Zachary Huslion, An Ju Hope, Nathan de Xolotl, Foxhell, etc.
The activities were the following:
- Dance competition
- Drawing, traditional drawing, and sock puppet workshops
- Writing, character creation and GAB SHIBA speeches
- Fursuit Parade and Photoshoot
- Relay race
- Lazer Wars
There were more than 30 fursuiters in the event. There was no donation. Here is a blog of one of the attendees, Koidel Coyote.
“8 years celebrating local furmeets in our city… We all finally evolved this event to a new level turning it in to a Convention.”
Growth of Latin American social networking and more
Mike Retriever of Furryfandom.es, in Madrid Spain, writes:
I’ve read that article in Spanish, from Furry Amino. Amino is like a ‘Facebook’ kind of website/platform. Latin Americans like to use it. I don’t know of any other furry groups using Amino, only Latin Americans. It has some kind of integration with smartphones or something. Honestly I don’t get very good vibes from it, it seems very commercially-driven, like Fandom Wikia. It’s a social network geared towards fandoms. I’m very suspicious of non-furry websites catered towards furries. Flayrah’s GreenReaper says of Amino Apps they’re doomed to fail because they don’t allow porn! That’s a funny fact!
In 2008, Greenreaper’s Wikifur site launched a Spanish project in collaboration with Latin American furs. It was one of the first on the wikifur.com domain in a foreign language (along with Russian), showing them on the edge of growth.
On Wikifur I found that in 2014, when Mexico’s Vidafur didn’t meet, the members collaborated in a different gathering of many fur groups in another city, Fursummer. It lists the groups as: Vidafur, GTFur, Enfurry, Urban Clawz, Bicifurros and Tonalli Furs.
How cool is that? Getting small groups from across a country to pitch in and make a bigger meet shows the DIY ethic of fandom around the world. I love that art doesn’t need one language, and look forward to sharing more about the diversity it brings. In a small way, this international conspiracy represents a nicer future for everyone.
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