A New Milford, Connecticut councilman, Democrat Scott Chamberlain, has been forced to resign his post after constituents discovered that Chamberlain likes to dress up and participate in the "Furry" subculture.
Chamberlain is heavily involved in the Furry community, it seems, a subculture of adults who dress in life-sized animal costumes not dissimilar to the kind that typically represent sports teams as mascots. There are Furry conventions, Furry meet-ups, and, of course, online groups and social media pages devoted to fleshing out fur-covered alternate identities.
The councilman, who goes by his alternate name, "Gray Paws," when at Furry conventions and among his four-legged friends, had his secret identity revealed when one of his constituents posted screenshots of Chamberlain's profile from a private Furries-only website.
Although members of the Furry community don't necessarily see dressing up as part of a sexual fetish — most say they do it as a form of social interaction and as part of a "fandom" — Chamberlain's profile did list a few red flags on that account. According to the New Milford News Times, Gray Paws had a list of "loves, likes, and hates" some of which were "sexual in nature." His profile also mentioned "that he 'tolerates' rape."
Now it's getting weird.
Chamberlain tried to diffuse the situation by claiming that he participates in the Furry subculture as a "harmless hobby." “It’s nothing to do with sex; it’s an interest in cartoon animals," he told local media.
But it turns out, the mayor and his fellow city council members weren't easily convinced. The Mayor told the News Times that Chamberlain should drop out of office because government officials need to be held to a "higher standard" than community members — even the Furry ones — and another councilman casually mentioned to media that Chamberlain told him that he dabbled in writing "science fiction adult literature."
Chamberlain also pens a "soap opera" for other Furries, and his characters, yes, do engage in adult activities.
Most of the commenters who responded to the Facebook post about Chamberlain's extra-curricular activities seemed to feel the same: that what people do in the privacy of their own homes is their business, but this might just be a step too far for a quiet town in central Connecticut. His party felt the same way, and on Friday, Chamberlain was asked to tuck his tail between his legs, turn over his gavel, and resign.