Furries are people who have an interest in anthropomorphic animal characters, often dressing up in fursuits and attending furry conventions. Like many subcultures, there has been discussion within the furry community about having an official flag to represent them. This article will explore the history of furry flags, examining some proposed designs and whether the furry community has adopted an official flag.
Background on the furry fandom
The furry fandom refers to a subculture interested in anthropomorphic animal characters, often with human personalities and characteristics. Some key facts about furries:
– Furries range from casual fans to enthusiasts who strongly identify with the community. Many create fursonas (furry personas) and attend meetups and conventions.
– Anthropomorphic animals have appeared in myths, legends, and stories for centuries. But the modern furry fandom emerged in the 1980s.
– Furry conventions like Anthrocon and Midwest FurFest now draw thousands of attendees annually.
– Fursuits (costumes of furry characters) are popular, but not all furries own or wear fursuits. Artwork, fiction, and online communities are major parts of furry culture.
– There is debate around sexual aspects of furry fandom, though studies show most furries see it as a non-sexual interest.
Like any community, furries have discussed adopting symbols to represent their shared interests. Flags are a popular way for many subcultures to demonstrate unity and pride.
Early furry flags
Some of the earliest furry flags were designed in the 1990s as the community grew and became more organized. These initial flags were simple designs made by individuals rather than official symbols, but they laid the groundwork for future flags.
One of the first was a flag featuring a blue pawprint over a purple background. The blue represented loyalty, while purple symbolized imagination. This flag was criticized for looking too much like a sports logo.
Another early furry flag had three horizontal stripes – tan, blue, and red. This was intended to represent the colors of common furry species like foxes, huskies, and squirrels. However, many felt it was too plain of a design.
A more complex flag created in 1996 featured a red fox, rabbit, wolf, and husky. It aimed to represent some of the most common furry personas. However, people thought the characters looked outdated.
While these initial designs influenced later flags, they did not gain widespread adoption in the furry community. More intricate, symbolic flags would follow.
Flag proposals with growing acceptance
In the 2000s, new furry flags were proposed as the subculture expanded. These more carefully designed flags started to gain some traction in the furry community:
In 2002, Mark Merlino created a flag featuring a white pawprint surrounded by a fox (orange), husky (blue), wolf (purple), and lion (gold). The pawprint symbolized unity, while the colors represented species diversity. This more polished flag gained significant use.
Furry Pride Flag
Craig Latendorf designed this flag in 2009. It had horizontal stripes of lavender, blue, aqua, green, yellow, and orange. The cool and warm colors conveyed inclusiveness of all furry personalities and backgrounds. This is likely the most commonly used furry flag today.
Also created in 2009, this flag from artist Vivisector featured a stylized blue fox with black and white accents. The minimalist design stands out, though the meaning of the fox image is not widely understood.
In 2021, the Fursterdam convention adopted a new flag with a background of furry blue, a white horizontal stripe, and stylized animal prints. The blue represents liberty, while the pawprints show diversity. The stripe connects the two.
These four flag designs have gained the most traction in the furry community over the past 20 years. Of these, the Furry Pride Flag appears to have the greatest adoption and recognition today.
Is there an official furry flag?
While some furry flags are widely used in the community, there is no single official flag that has been adopted to represent all furries.
Some reasons an official flag has not been established:
– The furry fandom is loosely organized with no overarching authority to designate official symbols. Furries value individuality.
– With diverse species, personalities, and backgrounds in the fandom, it’s difficult to agree on symbols that represent everyone.
– Proposed flag meanings and designs are open to interpretation and debate within the community.
– Widely-used flags have organically emerged, reducing the need for an official design.
There have been some unsuccessful efforts to hold an official vote or poll to determine a flag. But the furry community is unlikely to ever fully unite behind just one.
Many furries believe having multiple flag options allows individual expression, rather than forcing a single standard. So the community seems comfortable without an official flag for now. Popular designs have become de facto flags used by those who identify with each one.
Usage and display of furry flags
While there is no single official flag, furry flags are commonly displayed at conventions, in online forums, on apparel/jewelry, and at meets:
– Conventions often sell items featuring popular furry flags. Flags are incorporated into badge designs.
– Online communities like Fur Affinity may allow users to add furry flags to their profiles.
– Flags are printed on t-shirts, pins, hats, and other merchandise sold to furries.
– Individuals will sometimes wave or hang certain flags at gatherings to identify one another.
– Bars, stores, and hotels may fly a furry flag during conventions to show it is a furry-friendly establishment.
The Furry Pride Flag appears to be the most prevalent, though Mark’s Flag and Vivisector’s Flag also have strong followings. Displaying a flag is seen as a symbol of furry identity and welcoming all in the community.
Creation of new furry flags
New furry flags continue to be designed and proposed regularly within the fandom:
– Artists enjoy creating original flag interpretations representing different meanings or species.
– New flags are shared on furry forums and convention sites to gauge interest. Some gain followers.
– Species-specific flags have been created for wolf, fox, dragon, and other popular fursonas.
– Pride flags combine the furry and LGBTQ+ communities, with rainbow colors and furry imagery.
– Regional furry groups design flags to represent their local community.
– Furry servers/guilds on Discord or Telegram sometimes design custom flags.
While few new flags gain broad furry adoption, the continuous designs highlight the creativity of the fandom. The lack of one official flag allows for regular exploration of new symbols and meanings important to different furries.
The furry community has discussed official flags for decades, but has not rallied behind a single universal flag thus far. The Furry Pride Flag from 2009 seems to have gained the widest acceptance in the fandom. But many other designs remain in use, displaying different meanings to their followers.
Rather than selecting one official flag, the furry community seems comfortable without rigid standardization. The array of flags allows for diversity and individual expression of furry identity. New designs continue to emerge, though only a handful have achieved widespread popularity to date.
For a subculture centered around appreciation for all forms of anthropomorphic animals, perhaps flexibility and customization for showing furry pride is preferred over conformity. So while there are popular options, the furry community seems unlikely to ever fully unite under one official flag.