One of the commenters, uneko, makes a very good point:
"But the moment you say "furry"... people automatically assume that you BELIEVE you are 'a cat in a human's body', that you have a fursuit, that you become aroused by animals, and that you are basically some kind of weird manchild who's priorities are totally weird. ... yet most of the furries I've known are very moderate. No sexy art wallpapering their walls. No believes of being in the wrong body, no alternative sexual practices.
And yet: "furry" is a dirty dirty word that people shy away from. I have friends who enjoy anthropomorphic art, who have a anthropomorphic persona... yet will deny up and down being furry even while they post anthropomorphic pictures.
I hate it because all of us become painted as the worst of us. My little pony fans are just as bad.. if not worse. it's nearly impossible to express appreciation for the show without people assuming you have sexual involvement with it. The hell guys? You tell me you like Star Wars, I don't assume you're interested in boning Luke/Leia/Han/Chewie... I assume you're into space and jedi and cool stuff like that."
I'm old enough to remember when just being a science fiction fan or interested in comic books (past a certain age) was enough to get you ostracized from mainstream society. It wasn't that long ago. So it's more than a little distressing to find fans turning on people who (for all we know) actually have 90% of the same interests we do...but the main focus of their interests is on things like Watership Down and so forth.
N.B.: My nickname actually doesn't come from furry fandom; it's a play on words stemming from the job description of a badger at conventions, with a military honorific tacked on. If someone assumes it does, though, I'm not going to flip out and have a stroke about it. It's just not that big a deal.