Ron DeSantis Campaign Reeling After Losing the Coveted Furry Vote

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Ron DeSantis just officially launched his 2024 campaign, and while he’s pledged to stay in for the long haul, he might be staring at an early exit after this latest development. According to Rolling Stone, the Florida man has made a crucial mistake and has lost a key demographic: Furries.

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(Also see: DeSantis Stands Firm on Taxation, Welcomes Bill to Abolish the IRS)

“Many have raised concerns about recent changes in Florida legislation,” the statement read. “After reviewing Florida SB 1438 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.” (Megaplex declined to comment when reached by Rolling Stone.)

So what does a law about exposing kids to sexually charged content have to do with people dressing as cartoon bunnies and foxes? While SB 1438 does not specifically target minors dressing as furries, it prohibits children from attending adult performances, which it defines as “a presentation that depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, or specific sexual activities.” And, like drag, there are pervasive misconceptions that this mode of expression is inherently sexual.

You have to love that game is given away immediately. As the article notes, SB 1438 is not ambiguous about what qualifies as an “adult performance.” It is a “presentation that depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, or specific sexual activities.” That’s in the statute. So what exactly is the problem? Is it really so difficult for this furry convention to avoid sex stuff so that they don’t have to ban kids?

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The answer is yes, it really is that difficult for them. Rolling Stone glosses over that uncomfortable reality by pretending that simple misconceptions could lead to violating the law in question. When was the last time you just accidentally exposed yourself to a kid? Or performed sexually in front of one without realizing you were doing so? Those are not things that happen.

Sure enough, Rolling Stone goes on to pretty much admit the problem: That furry conventions are inherently filled with sexualized content. To excuse that, the writer claims that conventions “typically” save that stuff for later in the evening and that adult vendors are cordoned off. But are they really? I’d suspect not given this convention felt the need to ban kids. If there weren’t going to be sexual displays and the event was truly family-friendly, why do so?

While it is true that there is a segment of furrydom that does treat it as a kink, it is not a representation of the wider community, and many furries do not view their interest in anthropomorphized creatures as sexual at all. Though many conventions do cater to the NSFW 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.

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Regardless, I’m glad that kids were banned from this event. There’s nothing good that can come from minors participating in furry culture, which is just a symptom of some broader form of mental illness. At the very least, it’s evidence of some seriously unresolved issues that should be dealt with in other ways than cosplaying as a dog to fulfill a fetish.

As to DeSantis, we’ll see if his campaign will survive this huge blow.

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