I’ve had a long-term, back-burner love affair with therianthropic — human/non-human animal creatures — from my earliest days.
Mermaids also figured largely in my childhood interests. I thought they were glamorous, fascinating and magical even before Disney’s animated Little Mermaid appeared in 1989 and popularized such creatures. After the mermaid’s infiltration of mass culture, I still persisted in finding them eminently awesome, though I was more interested in Andersen’s Little Mermaid [and the rest of his sick, twisted fairy tales], mermaid lore in general and, again, a realistic schematic for merpeople. [My sister and I pondered the realistic biology of merpeople extensively. We spent much time wondering exactly how a fish part and a human part could fit together into a cooperative body. If merpeople had piscene nether regions, did they then lay eggs? Did they have gills? Could they breathe underwater? Would they really have all the hair that they are traditionally depicted with? Eventually we decided that realistic merpeople would be more like human-dolphin hybrids, air-breathing, viviparous, mostly hairless, very streamlined and entirely mammalian.]
Before the Age of the Internet, my interest in therianthropes existed in an enjoyable vacuum, far away from others who shared my interest [except for Jill]. Therianthropophilia was a harmless, offbeat interest based in mythology and fairy tales. About 5 to 7 years ago, though, with the democratization of the Intertubes, therianthropophilia’s frame of reference changed. Furry subculture — in which people enjoy a broad spectrum of identifying with, dressing up as, discussing, producing artwork about and getting turned on by non-human animals or therianthropes — became much more visible. [Witness Creature Creator for Victoria 4.1, a set of horns, hooves, tails and paws to make the 3-D model Victoria 4.1 into a deer girl, a cat girl, a devil, etc.] As furry subculture became more visible, the mainstream made fun of it as a collection of sex perverts in mascot costumes. The general derisive attitude toward furry subculture spread outward and tainted the general view of anything remotely related to therianthropes.
So, anyway, now I feel really odd and self-conscious about my therianthropophilia [which explains why you haven’t seen any therianthropes I’ve been making in Daz — also because they are really BAYUD]. I feel like I can’t just rave about how cool mermaids and centaurs and sphinxes and such are; I have to justify myself by explaining that I’m not sexually attracted to them. Stupid stereotypes aren’t even true, and they tar everyone with the same brush.