Supporters of Florida’s longtime “furry” festival have criticized Gov. Ron DeSantis after the annual event was forced to ban children under 18.
A Rolling Stone magazine writer even went so far as to say that the Republican presidential candidate “sucked the pleasure out of life’s many little joys” after Orlando-based convention Megaplex announced that she would not would not allow minors to attend this year’s event in accordance with Florida law.
“Many have raised concerns about recent changes to Florida law,” the group said in a statement Wednesday. “After reviewing Florida SB 1438, it has been decided that for legal reasons and to protect our attendees, our venue, and the entire convention, attendees at Megaplex 2023 must be 18 years of age at the time registration support.”
Florida SB 1438, or the Protection of Children Act, prohibits a person from “knowingly admitting a child to an adult entertainment,” defined as “any performance, exhibit, or other presentation before an audience that, in whole or in part, depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, sexual arousal, or specific sexual activities. »
It was signed into law by DeSantis earlier this year.
An annual furry festival in Orlando has been forced to ban children under 18 from attending
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (pictured May 5) has signed into law a bill prohibiting a person from ‘knowingly admitting a child to a live adult performance’
Megaplex said in a statement Wednesday that its organizers decided “for legal reasons and to protect our attendees” that convention attendees must be over the age of 18.
Although the decision was made by the organizers of the annual event, which is dedicated to “people who enjoy dressing up or making art with anthropomorphized creatures”, Rolling Stone lead writer EJ Dickson said criticized DeSantis for seemingly ruining the event.
“Florida Governor and GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis has successfully sucked the fun out of many of life’s little joys, from drag brunches to adult Disney TikTok,” she began. his essay.
“And thanks to the passage of SB 1438, or the Child Protection Act, DeSantis can now bring the ax down to the furs.”
She dismissed the link between furries and “adult entertainment” as part of “common misconceptions” that furries are “inherently sexual”.
Rolling Stone lead writer EJ Dickson (pictured) slammed DeSantis for seemingly ruining the event
“While it’s true that there is a segment of furrydom that treats it as an issue, it’s not a representation of the wider community, and many furries don’t consider their interest in creatures at all anthropomorphic as sexual,” Dickson explained.
“While many conventions cater to the NSFW aspects of furry fandom, they usually save this programming for later at night to ensure the rest of the con is family-friendly, or isolate the adult vendors so that they are not visible to all. other participants,” she said.
“The fact that the furry organizers felt compelled to ban children from attending the convention is another example of how [the law’s] been viewed as an attack on LGBTQ rights,” Dickson continued.
“The furry fandom massively skews LGBTQ, with almost 80% of furries identifying as such,” she explained.
“Also, many furries identify as transgender and ‘wouldn’t feel safe at a convention in Florida'” due to its laws restricting bathroom use to that of gender which has been assigned.
She quoted a ‘furry transgender and the owner of furry adult toy company Lycantasy’ who said he agreed with Megaplex’s decision but said he didn’t want to go to the convention this year because that “I don’t want to find myself in a confrontation”. or worse, in jail or dead, just for going to the bathroom in Florida.
She wrote in an article for Rolling Stone that the law is an attack on LGBTQ rights, as many furries identify as part of the community.
Dickson went on to champion the “furry fandom as a safe haven for children, arguing that the community attracts those who are ‘marginalized’.
“Many furries are marginalized in one way or another: in addition to identifying as LGBTQ, a significant percentage of furries are also neurodivergent,” she wrote. “As a result, they tend to view the community as a sort of safe haven.
“Over the past few years, children have increasingly turned to fandom for this reason, as Rolling Stone has previously reported,” she said.
“The rise of furry influencers on platforms like TikTok has made the fandom increasingly popular among young people, with the Pittsburgh-based Anthrocon conference reporting that 16% of its attendees in 2019 were under the age of 19.”
To complete his essay, Dickson interviewed the founders of Moms of Furries, one of whom said it was “heartbreaking” to “think of young furries having no space to connect.”
Dickson argued that over the past few years more kids have found a community with the ‘furry fandom’
Megaplex remains optimistic about the future presence of minors at its convention, saying in its statement, “We hope this change is temporary and that we will be able to welcome members of all ages next year.”
“This decision has been difficult, but Megaplex has not forgotten or abandoned our younger members of the fandom, and is exploring event and activity options to include all age groups and their families.”
His event last year included many events marked for 18+ that took place at night.
But more took place during the afternoon, some of which were advertised for general audiences, including “How to Be Queer”, “Babyfur/Kidfur Meet Up” and “Transgender Furs Meet and Greet”.
This year’s Megaplex convention is scheduled for September 15-17 at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando.