my story goes all the way back to the mid-2000s, roughly 2005 or so. back when my older sister was in high school she was really into anime/chibi stuff and a lot of the art she drew had characters that she called “furries”, although they were really more like regular humans with animal ears and stuff. that was the first time i’d heard the term “furry”, although it would be another year or so before i’d really start getting into wider internet culture. i think i discovered the actual furry fandom through, of all things, encyclopedia dramatica, which unsurprisingly left a poor impression on me. it wasn’t until around 2008 when i got really into somethingawful.com that i began to have a change of heart and start thinking “hey, these guys seem harmless enough, i don’t know why they get so much hate” - undoubtedly the fact that i had just turned 13 and was on a voyage of “self-discovery” almost certainly had a bearing on that. on that point, through encyclopedia dramatica i discovered the crazy hyper/macro art of gideon, which led me to discover vcl and paheal and all the semi-old-school artists on there like roary, e.k. goya, ayame emaya, even some of nightweaver’s old stuff. i was already hooked but kinda in denial about it, then in 2009 i discovered e621 and that completely sealed the deal for me.
funnily enough, e621 is also where i first discovered mlp, all the way back in early january of 2011 when someone uploaded a bunch of mlp memes. my initial reaction was incredulity that they’d reboot something as uninspired as the my little pony franchise, followed by curiosity once i saw that people were actually praising the show and that it was created by the lady who did powerpuff girls and foster’s home; a year later i got fully into the show, all thanks to the furries.