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Apr. 11th, 2009 @ 03:05 pm Score!
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Date:May 20th, 2009 10:18 pm (UTC)
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"What can I do to help clean our image up?"

Unfortunately, precious little. If you see something you don't care for, you might try sending an e-mail or PM to the offending party to politely (emphasis on politely) ask them to tone it down a bit. May be that'll work and may be it won't. What will definitely not work is creating a public drama-storm over the issue.

You can not control the behaviour of others, but you sure can control the company you keep. Sometimes, you just have to walk away from a situation that makes you uncomfortable.

"I absolutely LOVE the squeaky-clean rainbows and gumdrops surface of the fandom..."

If this is what you like, then lend it your support.

"...I LOVE being a fursuiter and a furry; but I HATE that I can't share that love with my Army/straight-laced friends."

Why can't you share it? Not saying that you should proselytize to everyone you meet (you'll get a rep for being a pest that way) but those who already know what you are like, well, already know what you are like. You might be surprised: your Army buddies and "straight-laced" friends have probably already figured it out. Telling them that you're a furry will probably not be news to them.

As for your original question, it is not possible to change everyone's perception all at once. These organizations with all their sound and fury can not compare to the power of the MsM. However, you can change perceptions one person at a time. It isn't spectacular, and you probably will never see your successes. Nothing, but nothing, sends furbash bullshit to mental /dev/null faster than this thought: "I met one of those furry's once, and he wasn't like that at all".