I'll say this about Furry Fandom - it's just as good as factionalising and feuding as any other group of people!
I was going to write a bit of a piece about they whys and wherefores of the whole dispute and aggravation, but then I found that Allen Kitchen's excellent article "No FurTher Debate Please" in the e-zine "Fuzzy Logic" had beaten me to it. Humph :) It gives both a good description of the sides of the debate and also a stance on the debate which I heartily agree with.
Adding to Allen's article, from my perspective the "Burned Fur vs Lifestyler" business in the fandom is yet another product of too many people taking a fun thing too seriously, plus the maxim that the bigger the group, the more nutters come out of the woodwork - on both sides. Besides, aren't we overestimating furry fandom's image in the great scheme of things?
How many people outside of the fandom have even heard of "Furries" - or know what it means?
We have a much smaller profile in the eyes of the general public - at least, outside Planet USA - that say, Trekkies or X-Philes.
To both the Burned Furs and the Lifestylers -
For myself, how do I explain what I do in the way of furry artwork and stuff? It's not that much of a secret, I've shown workmates some of it and it's not that big a deal. If I called myself a "furry fan", the term would be meaningless anyway. So I say, "I like cartooning / animation / comics, and I just happen to like looking at and drawing cartoon animals." And if they want more detail, I can explain how furries are an offshoot of comics and/or SF, how they have been used in storytelling etc, mention some of the greats of furry comics and stuff like "Albedo", "Zaibatsu Tears" as well as WB cartoons and stuff. Simple and effective.
In the fandom, well I tend to the "fan" side of the spectrum. I find the concept of a "furry lifestyle" to be an oxymoron at best, and a case of self-delusion at worst - but then, most ordinary people find me a bit weird, so whatever rocks your boat...!
As for your sexual predilictions - it's none of my business unless you make it my business.
Am I a "Burned Fur"?
Am I a "Furry lifestyler"?