‘Furries’ Throw Tantrum After DeSantis Signs ‘Protection of Children’ Law

desantis furries
Torsten Maue, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Editor’s note: This article’s headline has been updated.

Florida Governor and newly announced GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis has made a name for himself as a protector of children against left-wing ideologies. Making waves with various legislation, including the inaccurately nicknamed ‘Don’t Say Gay Bill,’ the Governor has incensed even more on the left with his ‘Protection of Children’ bill. 

The bill has various protections for Florida youth, including criminalizing purposely exposing them to adult performances. But, unfortunately, this seemingly innocuous and common sense law is not without controversy, with the mainstream media all too eager to latch on.

The latest ‘victims’ of something as fascist as keeping children from seeing performances meant to sexualize children – so-called “furries.” This subculture has gained momentum over the last few years and has latched its movement onto the LGBTQ activist movement, so let’s take a closer look.

I’m Sorry… What Now?

For those unfamiliar furries enjoy dressing up as or, as some on the left would call it, ‘making art’ out of anthropomorphized creatures. To put it plainly, people dress up as animals in costumes reminiscent of sports mascots and take on the persona or, as they put it, the fersona of the creature they have created. 

I first became aware of this world about a decade ago when I was fascinated by a show called “My Strange Addiction” on the TLC network. The fact that this ‘hobby’ was featured on a show called “My Strange Addiction” is all anyone should need to know about this world.

However, fast forward about ten years, and this is increasingly becoming not just a popular activity but widely accepted by parents. It’s so popular that the subculture has conventions throughout the year where furries from far and wide descend in their woodland creature costumes to engage in all manner of interactions.

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This brings us to how this world and the Florida Governor’s crusade against sexualizing kids cross paths.

Megaplex, an Orlando convention for furries, recently announced that due to the Governor’s new bill, attendees must be 18 years of age:

“After reviewing Florida SB1438 it has been decided that for legal reasons and protection of our attendees, our venue, and the overall convention, Megaplex 2023 attendees must be 18 years of age at the time of registration pickup.”

Why is it that something as innocent as grown adults and children dressed in exaggerated cutesy animal costumes pretending to be not just a different person but a different creature must be restricted to those over 18?

A Disturbing Trend

To dive into this issue appropriately, it’s imperative to understand the bill that has sparked this change for Megaplex. SB1438 levies punishment for “knowingly admitting a child to an adult live performance” as a first-degree misdemeanor punishable with one year in prison or a $1,000 fine. 

The bill defines adult performance as:

“a presentation that depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, or specific sexual activities”

There’s the first clue. Remember, the furry group dropped out voluntarily because sex acts can’t be shown to kids.

While this bill seems like something that should be self-evident, the requirement on the books was born out of public libraries, schools, and parents sanctioning and taking their children to drag shows where kids were exposed to ‘twerking’ and other sexually provocative activities. How this relates to furry fandom is its well-known association with kink.

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A recent Rolling Stones article explained that:

“Though many conventions do cater to the NSFW (not suitable for work) aspects of the furry fandom, they typically save such programming for later at night to ensure the rest of the con is family-friendly, or cordon off adult vendors so they are not in full view of other attendees.”

While you may be like me and not understand this desire to dress as a doe-eyed deer or a frisky little squirrel, the question remains – if the ‘adult’ activities are restricted from the view of underage attendees, why would the convention need to make such a public statement about not allowing under age furries? It sounds like a political move to me, but let’s dive a bit deeper into this world of furry fun.

An Unhealthy Message

The Rolling Stone article had some interesting data points on who seems to be the most attracted to the world of furry friends:

“The furry fandom overwhelmingly skews LGBTQ, with nearly 80 percent of furries self-identifying as such…”

This shouldn’t be all that surprising if you think about it a spell; the trans community is all about the idea that you can choose what gender you wish to be or that you believe you should be. This concept is not all that different from a subculture that professes you can choose not to be what you are but instead become a whole different creature.

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The article went on to explain:

“In addition to many identifying as LGBTQ, a sizeable percentage of furries are also neurodivergent. … Over the past few years, children have increasingly been gravitating toward the fandom for this reason.”

Being neurodivergent can cross the spectrum of being dyslexic to autistic. In a 2019 Rolling Stone article, director of communication at Anthrocon John Cole elaborated as to why neurodivergent children seem attracted to this world:

“Some of them like this aesthetic, they like the idea of creating somebody, and they like the idea of being someone other than who they are.”

But is this a good thing we should elevate for our children and young Americans?

Part Of The Problem

Like most dangerous and unhealthy trends, the world of furries went big on Tik Tok. In general, Tik Tok and social media are widely viewed by both sides of the political aisle and within the medical community as detrimental to the mental health of youth in America. 

After the Surgeon General announced that the mental health of our youth is the “defining mental health issue of our time,” he went on to implore:

“Policymakers need to step up and help ensure that we have strong safety standards, to help protect our kids from exposure to harmful content, and to also protect them from excessive use.”

Let’s remove the obvious issue of furrie-dom association with kink and sexual deviancy. As I read more and more articles related to this subject, I was surprised at how many parents were distraught that their children wouldn’t be allowed to don their furry outfits and take on their ‘fersonas’. 

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They spoke about how it was the only way their children would interact with others and that bills like the one in Florida keep their children from being what they choose to be. But this is where the problem lies.

We shouldn’t encourage our children and young Americans to create a false reality of their identity because they are unhappy with their true and wonderfully imperfect selves. But, unfortunately, parents, from generation to generation, beginning with the Boomers, have slowly preferred bending to their children’s whims to be more of a friend than a parental guide through life.

Instead of telling your child that it’s acceptable to be someone or something they are not because they haven’t figured out how to accept the person they are, it is our job to help them understand that life’s journey is all about discomfort. It’s discomfort with social interaction that helps mold you into who you are to become as an adult and is natural.

Dressing in a costume and losing yourself in a world that doesn’t exist is not the way, and pretending it’s innocent good fun is to be complicit in its inherent abuse of children’s minds and souls.

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USAF Retired, Bronze Star recipient, outspoken veteran advocate. Hot mess mom to two monsters and wife to equal parts... More about Kathleen J. Anderson

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