By now, everyone probably knows the situation in the United States. On May 25, George Perry Floyd, Jr., a respected member of the Christian community of Houston's Third Ward, who had moved to Minneapolis in search of work and was recently laid off due to COVID-19 cutbacks, was killed by Officer Derek Chauvin, a former colleague from previous work as a nightclub bouncer, during arrest on unproven allegations of attempting to buy cigarettes with counterfeit money. During a widely-filmed sequence of events, after having manoeuvred Floyd into the back of a police car, Chauvin pulled Floyd out and restrained him on the pavement, pressing his knee to Floyd's neck as fellow officers Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane restrained his torso and legs, while a fourth officer, Tou Thao, prevented public intervention. Despite calling out multiple times "I can't breathe," Floyd remained restrained and ultimately lost consciousness; despite protests from multiple onlookers, Chauvin continued restraining Floyd by the neck until paramedics ordered him to withdraw. The neck-hold lasted 8 minutes 46 seconds; Floyd entered cardiac arrest during ambulance transit, and was pronounced dead at 9:25 PM at the Hennepin County Medical Center. Following a backtrack of the initial police statement and two autopsies, Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter; two days later the charge was upgraded to second-degree murder, with Kueng, Lane and Thao charged as accessories. Floyd's murder was the breaking point in a pattern of police brutality, and protests erupted nationwide; since May 25, regular protests have been held both in major cities and small towns; police have engaged in violent clashes that have turned into riots; other departments are joining the call for reform; an 'Autonomous Zone' was established in downtown Seattle evocative of the Paris Commune; Minneapolis city council voted to disband its police force altogether; Donald Trump has responded by channeling Herbert Hoover, Walter Headley and George Wallace, threatening to sic the military on the nation's citizens; on the orders of Attorney General William Barr, unmarked federal police agents in military gear effectively occupied Washington, D.C. in contempt of the city government; countries throughout Europe have engaged in solidarity protests of their own. To put it simply, all the fault lines of America—racial, political, social, medical, economic—have converged in what one may dare to call a revolutionary moment not unlike what swept the Arab world in 2010. But the scope of this thread is much narrower. I am not a furry; I orbit in the Fandom's outer rings largely ignorant of its peculiar dramas. Yet the way in which it has received the George Floyd protests has been loud, shocking, and illuminating, and this thread was written in large part simply to help me process it. Furries have long endured stigmatization that I needn't repeat here; their general response has been to tout a key tenet of inclusion and tolerance, bringing together different niche interests and backgrounds within a shared community—what in politics is known as a 'big tent' party. This is the message it continues to broadcast to the world, and which, as the social niche of all the other social niches, has led to common association with the LGBTQ+ movement. Think of furries, and the stereotype probably resembles a metrosexual, college-educated liberal. In fact, statistics appear to confirm this. However, there is never a perfect consensus within any group, and long before now the community has grappled with defining its core identity: the Burned Furs (anti-eroticism), Nazi/Soviet Furs (fetishization of armchair history), Bronies ("do they really count?"), to say nothing of the hardcore fetishes that prompt double-takes even by the kinkshame-averse. But prevailing over all this confessionalism is the common belief that furries exist beyond race and politics and all the other human frailties. It is a transcendental mythology, utopian in vision, admirable in its aspiration if not its actual feasibility. It's a world in which all the different species live in perfect harmony while somehow still meeting their dietary requirements, where sexually transmitted infections don't exist, where libertines are the norm rather than the exception, where no-one is looked down upon for the shape of their body, the colour of their skin (or fur, feathers or scales), and least of all their sexual orientation. It is escapist, yes, but compared to a world where a single species habitually tears itself asunder over far less consequential differences, does furrydom not offer the happier alternative? All mythology, be it the heroic epic of the gods or contemporary nationalism, is a form of storytelling. Human beings (and yes, that includes otherkin) innately interpret the world through stories. Contrary to popular assumption, our memories are not only malleable but actively rewritten in order to organize the fractious nature of reality into a comprehensible narrative. But crafting a story necessarily means emphasizing certain details over others, promoting specific plotlines and discarding their counterpoints, and in the case of most outright fictions, drawing it all to a convenient and definitive conclusion. It is not that myth is necessarily a brazen lie, but that to understand the way in which all group identities are rooted in acceptance of a common foundational narrative, one must recognize that no founding story can account for every possible permutation within the personal stories of its members. Generally speaking, the larger the scope of a community, the more generalized its binding story, and vice versa: Movie fans beget Sci-Fi fans, Sci-Fi fans beget Star Wars fans. Star Wars fans war with Star Trek fans, whose internal factions skirmish over the Original Series, Deep Space 9, NuTrek, etc. No matter where one pegs the scale, a conflict of perspectives will occur—the general story collapses in the face of the particular. So it is with the Furry Fandom. When everyone can comfortably sing along to the lofty-but-vague promises of the General Story, the community appears cohesive. When it's all just fantasy, everyone's having fun. But once the real world creeps in, the once-solid community quickly splinters into its smaller tents. Nowhere does this manifest more clearly than e621.net, which on a good day resembles Furry Reddit, on a bad day 4chan-lite. In a community that so thoroughly fetishizes non-normative sexuality that mass uploads of futanari porn is considered "one of those days", the hostility to actual LGBT activism and transgender users is genuinely arresting. Moderators are constantly screening horny users sharing TMI on pictures of lesbian tribbing, yet uploads for Pride Month or calls for trans rights are downvoted out of spite with jeers of "get your politics out of my porn", if they're not outright denying the social reality. The recent overhaul of intersex tags away from vulgar colloquialisms was denounced as a further intrusion of "PC culture". Years before the current climate, virtually every upload featuring a swastika provoked mid-key flame wars between calls to refuse any breathing space for symbols of intolerance, and those that insist on absolute freedom of speech, even as the message itself turns their stomachs. Opportunistic trolling is, sadly, to be expected, and partisan firebrands exist in every fandom. But what stands out to me are the 'radical centrists' who, at the same time they claim "no interest" in these arguments, try to sweep them under the rug. They're the ones who insist it's "not the place" to make a statement, that there are "better venues" to air one's grievances, that it's "embarrassing" to speak as a furry against real-world issues. Never mind the fundraising done for animal shelters, or ALS research, or the Australian bushfires—once a furry starts signal-boosting political causes, even ones directly relevant to one's own life, one becomes fair game for the mob. I can't pretend to speculate individual motivations, but based on the exchanges I've seen, people don't want to be roused from the dream. The people so eager to defend the hakenkreuz on the grounds of 'free expression' are tellingly absent when artists are pilloried for speaking from the heart. The Fandom invites you to be yourself... provided your real self remains safely out of sight. The George Floyd protests have raised this hypocrisy to a new pedestal: artists who are black, or mixed-race, or transgender, who even within the supposed rainbow village of Furrydom constitute a slim minority, who are channeling their experience into this moment, are attacked as "slacktivists" and "attention-whores" for reminding the escapists of what they'd rather forget—never mind they could very well be living on the front lines. It's worth noting that while the overwhelming majority of furries are male, the actual content creators are majority female, making the common refrains of "I came here to fap!" and "Stick to drawing porn" all the more revealing as to whose story is presumed to take priority. We've heard this before, of course: in 2016, it was Colin Kaepernick's branding as "traitor"; in 2003, it was the Dixie Chicks' "Shut up and sing!"; in the Sixties, it was "Negro, stay in your lane!" Many see furrydom as an escape from reality, its artists the abettors of that escape; deviating from their allotted role upsets the precarious façade of a harmonious community. But whom is a community for, if not its constituents, and how does a fandom predicated on otherwise-boundless individual expression reconcile this perceived need to suppress dissent? This is the moment when the most vulnerable citizens have the spotlight, when the purported values of the furry 'big tent' are most in need: love, brotherhood, acceptance, anti-discrimination, and perhaps most importantly, peer-to-peer support. Yet no such solidarity has emerged: the discourse has degenerated along traditional partisan lines, hate speech runs rampant, and those that try to use their voice, even as simply as declaring "This is wrong", are accused of dragging "unnecessary" drama into an irrelevant sphere. The peanut gallery that besmirches an artist for using her vocation to address the issue instead of taking to the streets, is the very same group of consumers furious that she's not catering to their escapist fap-fantasy. The apotheosis of #FirstWorldProblems crashing head-first into a genuine national crisis might have been hilarious, had any of the perpetrators possessed a sliver of self-awareness. On July 31, 1914, the prominent French socialist Jean Jaurès was shot twice in the back while dining in Paris; he died five minutes later. The de facto leader of the pre-war pacifist movement, Jaurès had attempted to organize an international general strike to force the great powers off the warpath, and was scheduled to hold a conference August 9 in a last-ditch attempt to abort what became the First World War. His assassin, the aptly-named Raoul Villain, was a nationalist who as a student held membership in the revanchist League of Young Friends of Alsace-Lorraine. In the wake of Jaurès's death, the tenuous Franco-German worker solidarity collapsed, with the assassination itself used as a jingoistic call to arms. Socialist internationalism lost to nationalist tribalism. Tens of millions paid the price. Observing the Furry Fandom's reactions to May 25 is observing the collapse of its founding myths. Long have furries pretended they're a big tent transcending nationality, ethnicity, sex and gender in a liberal utopia of universal brotherhood. Everyone is welcome, no-one is judged: your fursona is an escape from the confines of the immediate material world, a means of realizing your 'true' self beyond the boundaries of prejudice. But for all its lofty aspirations, the promise of a true parallel (if not superlative) society has proven an abject failure. Try as they might, the gatekeepers have never been able to enforce an "apolitical" fandom, only mediate a temporary cease-fire between its constitutent cliques. When the dream collapses, as it has in the midst of the current protests, furries do not flock to the big tent but flee to their individual camps—the ranks break and the shattered community retrenches along familiar fault lines: whites against non-whites, cis against trans, haves vs the have-nots. Individuals that found therapy and genuine self-actualization through the Fandom, arguably its most deserving members, are savaged by those clinging to the escapist delusion that everything would all work out if you just stick to the fantasy. There is no furry Jaurès, but Villains abound. The death of George Floyd has prompted a Black response, a blue-collar response, a medical response, a capitalist response, a transgender response, conflicted police responses, and a thug response from the POTUS himself. There will be no Furry response. For all its lofty ideals and claims to community, in the face of adversity the Fandom's central story has proven too weak to outweigh its members' other, non-furry narratives. It is not that the Fandom is inherently deficient, but that its social aspirations ultimately cannot overcome the intersectional friction of its membership. What this means depends on who's asking: if like me, furrydom is a hobby, nothing is really at stake; to others, whose identity and self-worth are deeply seeded in the Fandom, the loss of friends and followers over one's response to this upheaval may be catastrophic. It is never easy to learn the friends you thought you had were never really yours. In the end, this thread is my effort to weave the fractured furry feedback to the George Floyd protests into a coherent story of its own. Even knowing the dark underbelly belying its 'kumbaya' face, I am genuinely shocked at the sheer hostility in the Fandom over current events, how quickly (almost eagerly) its professed comradery has buckled under pressure—how little the community seems to mean when put to serious test. Perhaps, some day in the distant future, the furries will have realized their utopian vision. Racism will be abolished, class inequality erased for good, and social harmony taken for granted in the "post-political" global village. They will look back on history and wonder how they ever let such petty divisions rip their community apart. Until then, they remain all too human.