In the social sciences, sex and gender are recognized as distinct concepts. Sex refers to a person’s genetics (e.g., XX, XY, XO, XXY chromosomes), whereas gender, which is socially constructed, refers to aspects of a person’s psychology (e.g., behaviour, self-perception). While a person’s gender identity is congruent with their sex in many cases (cis-gender), it is possible for their gender identity to differ from their sex (transgender), or to fluctuate fluidly over time. Because of this, the IARP has begun assessing sex and gender independent of one another.

Sex and Gender of Furries

Category (Choose all that apply) % of Furries
Sex: Male 72.4
Sex: Female 27.4
Sex: Intersex 0.2
Gender: Man 67.1
Gender: Woman 23.3
Genderqueer/Non-Binary 10.0
The table above🐾 illustrates that the furry fandom is predominantly male—comparably so to the online anime and fantasy sport fandoms—but far more male than the convention-going anime fandom.🐾

1-3 sex of fandom members

A significant number of furries (2.0—2.5%) self-identify as transgender🐾 or as genderqueer/non-binary (indicating that their gender identity fluctuates or does not fall on the Man-Woman dimension). As the figure below indicates, furries are significantly more likely than members of other fandoms to identify as transgender. 🐾 Whether this indicates fandom-level differences in the inclusiveness of the two fandoms or perhaps a preferential pull toward some other aspect of the furry fandom remains a subject for future research.

1-3 transgender members

As a whole, the data suggest the possibility that of the studied fandoms, the furry fandom may the one most open to, or accepting of, people who eschew or challenge traditional gender norms. This may, in part, have to do with the content of the furry fandom, which allows a person’s created fursona to be any species, age, or gender, they wish—something that may appeal to people who otherwise feel limited in their ability to express their felt gender identity. This possibility is a topic of interest for future research.

Interestingly another study of furries🐾 revealed that those furries assigned female at birth were more than twice as likely to identify as transgender (5.5%) and genderqueer or non-binary (18.9%) than furries assigned male at birth (2.1% and 4.1% respectively). The reason for this considerable difference is not yet known, and likely to be a topic for future research.

Research on transgender and genderqueer people within the furry fandom also corroborates findings from the broader psychological research on these populations as well. Studies suggest, for example, that transgender people are at a significantly greater risk for suicide and are more likely to experience significant stress and anxiety. These numbers are also reflected in samples of furries, where transgender and genderqueer furries are also significantly more likely to have reduced psychological well-being and experience significantly greater difficulty developing a positive, distinct, mature identity.🐾 While we hypothesize that transgender and genderqueer furries may be doing better than those outside the fandom, it remains for future studies to test these hypotheses.

References

  • 🐾 Anthrocon 2016 Study (link) (AC16)


  • 🐾 2014 3-Fandom Survey (Furries, Anime Fans, Fantasy Sport Fans) (link) (F3)


  • 🐾 International Furry Survey: Summer 2011 (link) (S11)


  • 🐾 2013 Online Fursona Survey (link) (S13)


  • 🐾 Please see the 2012 Furry Fiesta and International Online Furry Survey III (link), 2011 Anthrocon and International Online Furry Survey II (link), 2014 3-Fandom Survey (Furries, Anime Fans, Fantasy Sports Fans)(link) (W12-S11-F3)