Harvest Moon FurFest: New BIPOC-led furry convention comes to Maryland in 2022.
by Dogpatch Press Staff
Written by @Mac_TheWolf
There will be a live Q&A about the event on YouTube from 3 PM EST on Saturday, July 11.
In light of recent events regarding the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police, activist movements have tried to raise awareness of the racial injustices which are still happening in today’s society. The issue of racial inequality has once again been brought to light by these events, and many people believe we have a long way to go until people of color feel safe in our communities.
Fandoms from science fiction to furry haven’t always been as diverse as they could be. As fandoms grow, previously overlooked members see each other and want to be seen. Now one group of furry fans from Maryland are aiming to take things into their own hands by running a convention mainly with the help of those from BIPOC communities.
Harvest Moon FurFest, which is set to take place on a 200-acre campground in Maryland, is the newest of a plethora of furry conventions that take place around the globe. However, unlike most, Harvest Moon FurFest’s main goal is to build the convention from its original foundation by people of color and of other marginalized groups. The board is mainly run by those from black communities, but the CEO of the con has assured those with concerns that people of all backgrounds are free to attend, volunteer, or apply for staff at the event.
Harvest Moon Furfest is a brand new BIPOC-led furry convention scheduled to take place in Fall 2022 on a beautiful 200 acre campground property in Maryland.
Fire Pits. S’mores. Team Games And Activities. Music. Fursuit Dances. Food Trucks. Camping. And So Much More! pic.twitter.com/2vuSKHv7Bu
— Harvest Moon Furfest 🌕🍁🍂 (@hmfurfest) July 7, 2020
The convention, which invites con-goers to camp on private grounds used for large festivals, is set to host a variety of events. They include fursuit dances, team games, and live music. The idea came into fruition after the CEO, Chise, helped raise over $9,000 for BIPOC communities over a four hour period during a charity stream.
“The idea was tossed around in the past and after seeing how well our stream did, we thought that if the BIPOC community could come together and make such an astronomical amount in four hours, imagine what we could do at a convention,” said Chise. “Not to mention it has been long strived for to have a BIPOC-led con board to help meet the needs and wants of a diverse fandom.”
She also felt as though concerns from the community around these issues have been ignored. “I think a lot of the concerns of those in the BIPOC community have gone unheard. Whether it is them feeling uncomfortable concerning hate groups that may be attending a convention or the lack of representation on certain con boards, this con seeks to eliminate those negative feelings.”
A small group of people on Twitter voiced their concerns about the con and even tagged the developers of the Harvest Moon video game series, Natsume, in hopes to stir up disapproval. The company voiced support for the convention, but one commenter complained that it was “sad to see that Natsume supports racial segregation.” These misconceptions about the convention being only for BIPOC have been quickly quashed by the con board.
The CEO told me that they are committed to stopping the spread of these lies. “You’re hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth. Our convention is open to absolutely everyone regardless of their race. Unless you hear it from myself or my board, it isn’t valid information.”
It took approximately a week to set out the initial plans for the convention. “I am the type of person when I have an idea and a vision, I don’t stop,” said Chise.
With over 6,000 responses to the first announcement, expect a bright rise for the first Harvest Moon FurFest in Maryland in the Fall of 2022.
— @Mac_TheWolf is a first time guest writer and 15 year old furry from Barnsley, England.
The campground is indeed ADA accessible. There are permanent structures on the property. We also have an ADA Department Head that will be addressing and taking into consideration all ADA needs to ensure the comfort of our attendees.
— Harvest Moon Furfest 🌕🍁🍂 (@hmfurfest) July 8, 2020
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I wish them the best but I honestly don’t trust this! I have no porblem with a minority led con but the fact that they go out of the way to emphasise their race screams identity politics and throws up so many red flags to me. A furry con who happened to have mostly white people on staff wouldn’t go out of their way to call themselves a “white led con” because that would be racist! so why does this get a pass? I hope my concerns are unfounded and the con does not devolve into racialized conflict. It would be nice to have another con in Maryland, and I like the idea of these outdoor campground cons.
I think it’s because, for the most part, cons are typically chaired by all white folks. It’s not that minorities/poc have been excluded from chairing those cons on purpose, (that would be hard for me to imagine in this fandom) they’ve just been purposefully *included* in this case, to give them more representation in the furry fandom. Which is great. Everyone should feel included, especially now.
I am worried that the fact that they’re advertising it so prominently might lead to problems within certain groups, or people feeling alienated because of racial issues, but I think more representation is a good thing overall.
I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Outdoor cons sound like a really cool idea~
Why so many red flags? You may be grappling with some things related to white fragility. I do it too, and it took a lot of turmoil to be more at ease with the concepts. That is something you will absolutely have to figure out on your own if you are so inclined. Personally, I believe in promoting growth, learning and awareness, so I hope you might consider taking some time to look into and think about when you have time.
I can’t think of a con that isn’t “white led” because that has been the default. It was only 1964 when Segregation was actually outlawed in the USA. My parents were young adults then and they are both still alive. It was NOT so long ago that black people couldn’t officially lead any event whatsoever. Many people who lived their lives under forced, mandatory segregation are still alive and voting, and even if they want to think they have no prejudices, all humans hold prejudices. Life is not so different that racism has simply evaporated, and people have become more subtle and clever about how to be racist without directly saying it. So much that, as a kid in the 80s I heard all kinds of untrue nonsense that I’ve still been unlearning today.
The main reason they are emphasizing the BIPOC leaders is specifically because they are people who are really effected by a lot of slights that have occurred at cons, and are rarely in lead positions at ANY cons.
Complaints against actual racist behavior, in general life, or at conventions, have very often been minimized or even ignored in may spaces. If a white person shouts a slur, and people speak out against that person, a LOT of white folks leap to make explanations for the racist remark, rather than being able to help mediate a more mature and measured response.
There are sometimes room parties for PoC so they can meet other PoC. This is kind of like someone hosting a Lesbian only mixer in their room, they make the rules and others can choose to go, or not. If they don’t allow anyone who isn’t a lesbian ( or trans or whatever) , there are a surprising number of furs who get upset and throw fits over being “not allowed” but those same folks are not generally throwing their room open for a free for all party for anyone who wishes to attend.
There’s been issues with Nazi furs trying to storm and influence other conventions, so actively saying it’s open to all with the leaders all being PoC is letting anyone who may not otherwise attend a con for fear of harassment can attend knowing that their safety is a big concern. If indigenous people ask kindly for someone white to reconsider using a very sacred item as a frivolous “fuck me I’m cool” party gear and they are shouted at to fuck off. Clearly most furs don’t support those shitty behaviors in theory, but by not speaking up against racist behavior, it can make some events or places less safe-feeling for those who are more targeted because of their race, gender, etc.
I’m not assuming you’ve done any of these things, or defended anyone who HAS, but it can be exhausting to constantly have to argue with this level of defensive behavior. I had a cismale ex who actually laughed at my past, since I was raised to be afraid of strangers and aware that adults could sometimes hurt kids and I shouldn’t trust strangers blindly. Some men are trying so hard to not be scary bad guys that they need to deny that any woman has a reason to fear, when they could be much more productive and helpful by trying to address problems that women (obviously not all women, but MANY) can experience, rather than immediately assume any man who is called out for behavior is wholly innocent.
There are many big events that are LGBTIA specific, but they don’t deny straight people. Drag shows are open to anyone regardless of orientation and many of them celebrate their all queer casts. This con isn’t “getting a pass” it’s just an event with the goal of celebrating everyone who supports diversity. An event can be a “women’s retreat” or a “jazz lover’s gathering” or “kinky queers discussion” and one would assume the main leaders of those events would be pretty heavily invested in the reason for the gathering.
The phrase Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean, and has never meant “all other lives suck”
It does mean: All lives can’t matter UNTIL black lives matter.
I hope this isn’t too long a ramble, appreciate the sticking it out, I’m a bit sleepy so hopefully it’s legible.