(NewsNation) — Furries in Florida are feeling the impact of a new law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis that bans children from attending live adult entertainment.
A large furry convention set in the Sunshine State for the fall has decided that in order to comply with SB 1438 or the “Protection of Children Act,” it will no longer allow anyone younger than 18 to attend.
The law prohibits people from “knowingly admitting a child to an adult live performance.” Those breaking the law could face criminal punishment.
A study published on the National Library of Medicine defines furries as “individuals who are especially interested in anthropomorphic or cartoon animals” and who “often strongly identify with anthropomorphic animals and create fursonas, identities of themselves as those anthropomorphic animals.”
Megaplex cited “legal reasons and protection of our attendees, our venue, and the overall convention” as reasons for the change to their convention.
“Megaplex has welcomed younger fandom members and their families since its inception and making this change was very difficult,” the convention shared in a statement.
Meanwhile, State Sen. Tina Polsky said the state law has “nothing to do” with furries.
“This furry thing has nothing to do with the bill whatsoever,” she said. The lawmaker was concerned the legislation could have a “chilling effect” on other events planned in the state.
“I don’t know these people. I don’t know why they did it, except I read their statement. And they said that in an abundance of caution because of this bill, they don’t want anyone to get into trouble, they could lose licenses or even worse. So that’s the point I’m trying to make is that way beyond the words, the text in the bill, is the chilling effect of any kind of ‘adult entertainment’ or even non adult entertainment, like a furry convention, which is not necessarily sexual in any way, is being affected,” Polsky said during an appearance on “On Balance with Leland Vittert.”
A 2019 survey of 334 male furries said the majority of respondents had some degree of sexual motivation for becoming furries.
“Like with any other fan interest (video games, comics, etc.) there are sexual themes present,” Vox writes, but for many, the hobby is not erotic at all.
“It’s the parents,” Polsky said. “Let the parents decide what’s right for their kids. If they want to take their kids to a drag show brunch with someone who’s dressed up as Mrs. Doubtfire reading a book, let them.”