As Florida Governor Ron DeSantis attempts a presidential run, he’s still finding time for his ongoing hobby of angering different communities with his legislation and bad views on people and things. Now, it sounds like he’s got a new community to add to that list: furries.
Megaplex, a furry convention dedicated to the art of making and wearing costumes of anthropomorphic characters based in Orlando, has announced it will have to raise an age restriction in response to Florida SB 1438, or the Protection of Children Act that makes “knowingly admitting a child to an adult live performance” a first-degree misdemeanor. The legislation was primarily enacted to target drag performers because right-wing evangelicals have ascribed drag performance to a sexual display, even though that is not inherently true. But because of its vague wording, it makes sense that a furry convention would be naturally cautious, because ignorant people also view furries as intrinsically kink.
As Rolling Stone points out in its report on the situation, though furries are not inherently sexual, there are subsections of these communities that do engage in sexual content related to dressing up in their costumes. Megaplex has been an all-ages event up to this point, but it sounds like event organizers are trying to keep their attendees and staff safe now that Florida’s legislation could be weaponized against them.
“This decision has been a difficult one,” event organizers said in a statement on Twitter. “But Megaplex has not forgotten about or abandoned our younger fandom members and is looking into options for events and activities to include all age ranges and their family members.”
Broadly, DeSantis is on a lot of people’s shitlist in Florida for his support of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, such as the colloquially known “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prevents discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. This affects the furry community because swaths of them identify as queer in one way or another.
His digging his heels into bigoted nonsense has also resulted in an ongoing feud with between the president-wannabe and megalithic corporation Disney, which called for a repeal of the bill last year. So far, the feud has reportedly cost the guy a billion-dollar development plan.