Sonicfox Just Won Best Esports Player – and the Future of Furry is Bright – by Tempe O’Kun
by Pup Matthias
You might not be into pro gaming. Maybe your interest in gaming is limited to what you play yourself and the occasional piece of fan art. That’s cool.
But let me tell you why you should care.
- Furries are visible.
You might not have noticed, but we’re rainbow animal-people. Midwest Fur Fest just passed 10,000 in attendance, a world record for furry cons. In some ways, the fandom will always be our weird little club, but we’re not some unknown niche anymore. Not when one of us breaks into the trending topics on Twitter.
So somebody is going to be the face of the fandom—or rather, various people are at different times. And we’re lucky that our two recent high-profile furries (SonicFox at the Game Awards and Bucktown Tiger on Jeopardy) have been really upstanding guys.
And it’s not just a public persona. As it happens, I talked to SonicFox at MFF last weekend. I ducked away from my book launch for a few minutes to say hey. And, even in suit, he made a little time to stop and chat with me. Just as you see in the video, he comes off as a sweet and sincere person. He’s absolutely someone we want as a go-to example of a furry.
- He’s on the right side of history.
“I’m black, I’m gay, and I’m a furry. Pretty much everything a Republican hates.”
– SonicFox, in his acceptance speech
It’s easy to forget, but this isn’t just a furry posting on social media. He’s speaking to a crowd of hundreds, to a global audience of millions. That’s the big time.
Esports hasn’t been around for a century, like the rest of professional sports. We’re not used to thinking of it as a major platform. SonicFox is a public figure, a champion, a role model. He’s also the exact sort of person the fascists, bigots, and other primitive types are terrified of. He’s living proof that the injustices of the past are bugs, not features. A black, gay, furry gamer has nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to apologize for.
And SonicFox lives that.
“bitch shut the fuck up it literally is the most hypocritical shit ever when you can’t even be civil yourself let alone take accountability on your racist bullshit that you’re called out on daily. and no you’re not being debated. I don’t fuck with nazi-apologists”
– SonicFox @SonicFox5000 11:37 PM – 22 Aug 2018
Pseudo-centrist cowards might call that “being political.” But existing as anything but a straight cis white man has always been political. In an age where losers whose entire identity is built on nothing but being a straight cis white man are desperate to do anything to stay in power, your life is now political too.
We gain nothing by letting others tell us who we should be and what we are worth. The arc of the moral universe bends toward justice not as a natural law, but under the weight of a million tiny acts of bravery and compassion. Our acts.
Too long have we allowed ourselves to be silenced to protect the delicate feelings of our oppressors. No more. We’re the future. Folks like SonicFox know it. We aren’t going to debate for our right to exist. We deserve to be here.
- You gotta see it to be it.
Everybody needs heroes. Not perfect idols, but folks who exhibit qualities we never realized we could ourselves embody. Without heroes, we have to reinvent the wheel for every aspect of our character growth. Be they fictional or real, heroes bear the touches that illuminate the possible.
SonicFox as the public face of the furry fandom does meaningful good for our image as a community. What’s more, the fact that a sweet gay black guy with an interest in cartoon animals speaks to hard-won progress. Countless young people watched that acceptance speech and saw someone like themselves. They found a hero. They’ll have one more source of inspiration for their own personal ethics fursona. And that means they can be maybe heroes for somebody else sometime, in the most public of spectacles or the most private of gestures. That’s how civilization progresses.
Today was a big deal. Not just because one of us made it into the limelight, but because a man took the stage and was celebrated for being true to himself, for being sincere in his passions, and for being brave in his love.
That’s a big deal for furries.
That’s a big deal for people of color and LGBT folks.
That’s a big deal for all of us.
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