Protests in Poland “a premonition for what will happen” if LGBT rights are lost in the USA — Q&A with furry artist Jeanwoof who does charity for rights in Poland.

by Patch O'Furr

The 2020 U.S. election is in progress, the future is at stake, and a tipper sent me this story. “It may be a premonition of what will happen here if abortion and LGBTQ rights are suspended by the supreme court.”

Maybe you’re sick of relentless gushing doom about politics. Sorry I can’t make it stop with the fabulous power of furry news reporting. But I can make a story for furries in and out of the U.S., and help you think about protecting rights everywhere. This won’t just tell you to vote, it’s about using fandom power!

Soatok Dhole explains why it matters.

Politics? In My Fandom? 

Soatok says “The furry fandom – which you can think of as the largely queer sector of geek culture – has a problem with negative peace”; and it’s hurt by the Trump administration’s effort to overturn marriage equality plus 33 more steps to push anti-LGBT hate worldwide.

The problem is not just about Trump — it’s about ultraconservative attacks on rights everywhere. You can’t get peace from it by turning off the news, so to make better news, let’s meet a furry who does art charity to advance people’s rights in Poland.

Hi Jeanwoof, can you give a brief bio about yourself?

Hi, I’m a 26 year old woman living in Northern Poland. I’m very active in the fandom — drawing furry art for 6 years, and for 3 years I’ve been doing a small furry convention (Kungfur) with friends. I attend local conventions and sometimes you can see me at Eurofurence in the Dealers Den or Artist Alley. I’m a fursuiter too, but I don’t wear my suit as often as I want to.

by Jeanwoof

Can you talk about your art, and how to see it or reach you for commissions?

Recently I’m most known for military art, but I do simple animations and NSFW art as well. I always try to find something non-usual to do, that’s why I started to make detailed pieces and focus on guns and army-related themes, which seem to not be that popular still, ha! My style is headed more towards realism, but I’m fine with drawing some toony styled art such as Telegram stickers as well! I’m posting my art in my Telegram channel and I do have a Patreon page. You can find me on Twitter and Furaffinity as well.

Can you talk about furry subculture where you live?

Furry community here is way smaller than in western countries such as Germany or the U.S. but we are very active and social — we do lot of parties, fursuit walks and events. We have fantastic artists, joyful fursuiters and amazing conventions, even if it’s 3 per year currently. Fandom is growing every year, and many young people are joining the community! I still consider myself new to the fandom, or maybe I had so much fun over those years I didn’t realize how long I’ve been here?

Let’s talk about Poland’s Abortion Dream Team:

Poland has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the European union, and in practice, it’s all but banned. But four women, nicknamed the “Abortion Dream Team,” are pushing back, holding workshops around the country teaching women how to obtain and self-manage a medical abortion. With Roe v. Wade at risk of being overturned in the U.S., is their story a cautionary tale, or a possible roadmap for American women?

The ruling conservative party, Law and Justice, backed a 2016 effort to ban abortion outright (the government backtracked after millions of Polish women and men poured into the streets, in what became known as the “Black Protests.”)

What made you do a charity benefit for the Abortion Dream Team, and how did it go?

I’m against abortion restrictions and I want every woman to decide about their bodies! We want to be free, we want to be safe, especially when the government is not willing to help you much after you give birth to the child, especially a disabled one. I really wanted to do something, but I’m still not sure about going out to protests because of the Covid — I was thinking about a charity livestream, and what motivated me to do it was MissDako who texted me first about the idea! That was amazing to see that someone has similar thoughts about it — we talked to other artists and made a stream with Tevayra and Drakness as well — we had many watchers and grabbed some commissions.

“We are doing art for ADT (Aborcyjny Dream Team) – an organization who fights for women’s rights and legal abortion and helps women to get a safe one as well! Link to fundraiser — Poster made by Tevayra, thank you!”

Even if the situation in the world is tough, some people were kind enough to help. For the first stream we gained 460 PLN (~$116 USD) and the next (with a team of me, Tevayra, Wasylthefox and Eldritch Beast) even more – 550 PLN (~$140 USD). I didn’t expect a lot of money from it but it was so awesome when people started to sign the petition, spread the word, and stay aware about the situation in Poland. I was flattered with the amounts anyways and I’m glad we did the streams. Talking via Discord in the meantime with other people with same thoughts and fears was very calming and wholesome and I am very glad I could be part of that. We plan more streams too!

Another thing is I saw a lot of YCHs and Commissions offered by other artists who were gaining money for ADT and similar organizations and fundraisers – like CyjanekAxie or PredatoryDuck, and I’m very proud of them! Fandom is more and more educated about the situation, and we all are trying to help each other!

The protests in Poland seem like part of conflict between right-wing and progressive beliefs around the world. How much awareness of it is there in the furry fandom?

With how far I spoke with others about the situation, I think almost the whole furry fandom is against new restrictions. Most of us are pissed off at the government moves, especially when they attack LGBTQ+ community with hateful speech in media and more! More and more people unite with each other against the same enemy. We are scared but we are strong — we are the young voice against old traditionalists and we try to fight the government which contains mostly old, cis-males, very strict catholics. This years election was a blast, so many young people voted, we all want change! Protesters want better laws and more tolerance, they want to be who they want and love who they want and especially decide about their own bodies. Even if there are people who are not liking how the protests are going, we all hope for better times and try to help each other — educate our grandparents, talk to our friends to assure them they are not alone! We do charity events, peaceful marches and more! We care about each other and try to cheer ourselves up in times when it’s hard to keep jobs, earn anything or even go outside safely.

Thanks Jeanwoof for talking, and I hope this inspires furries wherever they are to vote, and use their talents and communities like you do.

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