The Furry Writers’ Guild and Politics

There have been some accusations of the FWG being “too political” which we would like to address.

The FWG is not, and never has been, a political organization. As much as practical, we prohibit discussions of politics in FWG-branded spaces; as a group, we take no political stances, advocate no ideologies.

But the FWG is also an inclusive organization. Our members come from all over the world, from all walks of life, across many spectrums. The furry fandom is diverse, and so is our community of writers. We’re proud of this diversity. We consider it one of furry’s greatest assets, and one of the FWG’s. As our Code of Conduct states,

The FWG welcomes and supports all backgrounds and identities. This includes, but is not limited to, participants of any age, experience level, nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, ability/disability, gender identity and expression, sexual identity and expression, or level and type of participation in the furry fandom.

This means there are times we do have to take stands. The Code of Conduct expressly prohibits harassment, including the advocation of hateful ideologies. We oppose—and will take action against—any such behavior. We will not accommodate hate speech, for doing so is no defense of free speech. Instead it silences the speech of others. We cannot and will not turn a blind eye to bigotry, however artfully coded. If you are someone who would denigrate or demean another person based on ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexuality, gender, disability, or lack of means, the FWG is no place for you.

If this opposition to bigotry makes you feel unwelcome, then we trust you know where to find the door.

14 thoughts on “The Furry Writers’ Guild and Politics

  1. Bravo! I myself am a very political horsie (I’m a county elected official), but that’s a relatively new thing. I’ve always believed in tolerence, acceptance, and sharing… i’m proud to belong to the Furry Writees Guild.

  2. And no matter how artfully you code your bias, it won’t be hidden. Dehumanizing people who don’t agree with you and calling certain ideologies harmful simply because they take a different stance than you is not only bad thinking, it is bad writing. You do not hate demeaning, you hate discourse. Prove me right by deleting this comment in which I said nothing hateful or downwards to any group of people. All that I am saying is that if you are going to be biased, own up to it. Your audience knows what you are and they will have no problem with it, but trying to indoctrinate young writers who see opposing viewpoints laid out in front of them as “violent speech” is disgusting and the antithesis of the learning process that the written word was created for.

    1. No one said “violent speech” but you, so what the hell are you quoting? Moreover, if you had the courage of your convictions you wouldn’t be hiding behind anonymity like a common troll.

  3. I suppose it could be my irrational distaste for authority, but political correctness posts such as these always make me cringe despite their best intentions. I try to convince myself it is because I do try to touch on controversial subjects in my stories, but I’m not convinced that my writing skill is at an adequate level for anyone to even notice when I do address something which could be questionable. Maybe I just don’t like to be told what I can write or how I should conform to societal standards. Maybe I think it is the responsibility of writers to address controversial subjects, or illustrate what we perceive as flaws in those standards. But, make no mistake, such statements do not make me feel ‘unwelcome’ or even uncomfortable. I feel challenged for sure, but a little sad. I am challenged to address those controversial subjects, shine a light on forbidden subjects, as writers should. I am sad because these statements do need to be said, because cruelty, mean hatefulness, and pure evil acts do exists in this world. Sad because I fear some of the human species will never rise above their hateful and predatory nature. Now, how to illustrate that in a story where no one will complain?

    1. No one is telling anyone what topics they can or can’t talk about in their stories. This refers specifically to how we expect members to behave in FWG spaces. This isn’t 4chan. We have some minimal standards to which we expect persons using our spaces to adhere.

  4. Interesting how two people here interpret the language of the post — no tolerance for hate speech and bigotry — to mean that the FWG will proceed to dehumanize and denigrate all people with ‘differing ideologies’, or that the FWG will dictate to its members what they can and can’t write. I would assume (hope?) that most everyone would agree that in clear-cut cases of hate speech, it’s the FWG’s right to remove the FWG platform of the one making it, for example to protect its other members who might be harmed by such speech. To me that’s just simple human decency. You know… if a fellow is walking around a bar insulting all of the other patrons, the barkeep has the right to throw them out. So the arguments against this platform, I assume, stem more from as-yet theoretical borderline cases (and probably one recent actual borderline case), and how they expect the FWG to treat those in the future.
    I get that. I submitted a story fairly recently that’s got me worried, because in it I explored themes of racism, the white savior complex, and the erasure of a people. It’s full of questionable content to the point I kind of want to write a foreward to be published alongside it if it in fact does get accepted to the anthology, explaining myself and apologizing in advance. Whether it’s true or not, there’s this assumption that producing any hint of questionable content nowadays will summon mystical hordes of raving White Knight SJWs to eat you alive.
    I guess what I’m saying is, obviously I agree with the principle of the message portrayed in this post, and what I hope is that it’s also implemented in a careful and considered way. But of course, mistakes will be made, and I also don’t disagree that it’s preferable to err on the side of those traditionally less privileged (to use a nice buzz word) folk. If I end up on the wrong end of the SJW shotgun, as a white cisgender male I’ll just try to take it with some measure of grace.

    1. We’re not out to get anyone, we’re simply reiterating standards which were in place all along.

      1. I am aware. But all standards have fuzzy boundaries in their application at some level. That’s both where the FWG will be the most targeted by those who have problems with the concepts of inclusion and/or political correctness (and by trolls, assuming maybe generously there can be but overlap), and where the FWG needs to be the most cautious in how it responds to controversy. We’re talking about fiction, a subject in which it’s often argued that an author’s intent can or should be ignored, so one can easily imagine cases in which an author writes a piece of fiction meaning to illustrate one thing, but ends up accidentally communicating the opposite thing [read: to some readers] and in so doing hurting people. If the FWG is asked to weigh in on such a case, then in siding with the author those already hurt will feel further victimized, and in siding with those hurt the author (and the author’s supporters) will feel victimized. Both sides might mean well, but often the argument is framed in such a way that someone has to come out the other side damaged.

        I’m not saying I know the right way to deal with cases like that, by the way. Maybe there isn’t one. But general statements like “The FWG is an inclusive organization” does little to acknowledge the existence of such nuances. In fact, this:

        “We cannot and will not turn a blind eye to bigotry, however artfully coded.”

        is a bit chilling from that perspective. It implies that in such cases, the FWG will by default assume the author was trying to do harm and act accordingly (because who gets to decide whether or not something was coded bigotry?). That’s the sort of thing where I think there still can be legitimate dissent.

        And I hate how the alt-right has distorted the argument so much that even acknowledging that makes me feel like I’m playing into their hands, but I guess that’s the world we live in now.

        1. No, we are NOT talking about fiction. The FWG management does not tell authors what they can or cannot write in their own oeuvre. This post is about standards of behavior within FWG-branded spaces, period.

          1. Thanks for clarifying. I think the grandiose language in the post confused this for me.

            Of course now I’m imagining a scenario in which an FWG member gets some hateful story published by some pro-fascist e-zine, and the subsequent call for said member’s removal from the guild despite their bigotry not taking place in FWG-branded spaces. But I guess I just love to dig around in the bottomless muds of what if.

  5. The Frog & The Fox

    A frog had claimed the doctor’s art,
    With skills to cure an ailing heart,
    An ailing mind, or ailing frame;
    For healing illness was his game;
    With all these boasts achieving fame.

    One day in selling to a crowd
    Of beasts the cures which made him proud,
    A fox sprang up and laughed out loud:
    “Don’t buy from such a useless hack;
    “This doctor’s nothing more than quack!
    “He’s sick himself, and yet he’ll preach
    “Upon the cures outside his reach!

    “So put these words upon your shelf:”
    The fox then scoffed, “Physician, heal thyself!”

    1. “Our club should be open to all kinds of animals,” said Mr. Fox, “and Mr. Frog won’t stop making vicious jokes and jibes about the mice even though we’ve warned him repeatedly.”

      “Come, you can’t throw him out!” said Mr. Crow. “To do that would be to deny his free speech, and is this not a club that supports free speech?”

      Mr. Fox spread his paws. “There are many in the club who are afraid to speak at all when we give him free reign. If we don’t take a stand, we’ll be seen as supporting his bigotry.”

      “No!” Mr. Crow insisted. “If you do not tolerate the intolerant, that makes you just as intolerant as them.”

      “All right,” said Mr. Fox.

      “Great, and who cares about the mice, anyway!” said Mr. Frog.

      And the mice quietly left, and more of Mr. Frog’s friends showed up to take their place. They joked about killing the wolves, but it didn’t sound like they were joking.

      “Surely that crosses the line,” said Mr. Fox.

      “No!” screamed Mr. Crow. “How dare you stifle the spirit of free inquiry!”

      “All right,” said Mr. Fox.

      And the wolves left. And other frogs came in, and they spoke in the same vicious way about the cats, and the rats, and the squirrels, and the foxes. One by one, they all left, too. Mr. Crow insisted their speech was surely just as protected as that of the frogs, and the frogs heartily agreed. Yes, this was only about free speech! What a tolerant club this was! Bravo!

      Then, as one knew they eventually must, some frogs “joked” about how stupid crows were. About how they were never *really* part of true civilized society. About how the world, let alone the club, would be better off if there were no crows.

      Mr. Crow protested, “That’s hurtful! That’s hateful! That’s speciesist! That isn’t what our club is about at all!” But as he looked around, there was no one left to support him, not even Mr. Fox. Everyone else had been driven away.

      Mr. Frog responded, “Well. It’s what our club is about *now,* isn’t it?”

      1. You add length to the fable, while subtracting from its meaning.

        Originally, it served a two fold purpose. Your reply revealed you had no sense for the sardonic wit it contained. Its first purpose being that it proposes a solution, while its second purpose is as a condemnation of hypocrisy.

        As for the first, when someone makes outrageous and bigoted claims, our response should be to mock those ideas and reveal the flaws in their thinking. Silencing their voice only lends a sense of currency to their ideas in the minds of others, despite how outrageously flawed they are.

        As for the second, its basically me putting the above point into practice. Its a charge against hypocrisy. I see almost as much bigotry, although disguised through a different form, in such ideologically driven people as I might from recognized hate groups.

        Perhaps I would list such grievances, but I don’t think it’s worth the effort. Nobody would ever listen to me anyway.

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