Adults who engage in sexualized animal role-play and men who dress up as exaggerated caricatures of women are outraged that Republican-backed laws may prevent them from performing in front of children.
The Protection of Children Act, which recently took effect in Florida, bans children from being admitted to "any show, exhibition, or other presentation in front of a live audience which, in whole or in part, depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, [or] specific sexual activities." Tennessee legislators recently passed a similar law, which is held up in the courts.
The laws have led to pushback from "furries" and drag queens, with the Orlando "furry" convention Megaplex describing the Florida law as "heartbreaking." To comply, Megaplex has made its event adult-only, Fox News reported. The move likely indicates that convention organizers thought minors attending the event could have been exposed to sexual activities.
The term "furries" refers to people who wear animal costumes and role-play as anthropomorphized animals. While many "furries" deny their interest is sexual, the majority of them report being sexually attracted to animals, and a site linked by convention organizers says that the "acceptance of bestialitists is a hotly contested topic" among "furries."
Drag queens in Tennessee, meanwhile, are facing similar challenges, the New York Times reported. A recent law prevents minors from attending sexual performances in the state, leaving drag performers and activists unhappy that children's access to drag shows could be limited. Enforcement of the law is pending federal litigation.
The Times attempted to tie the legislation to far-right groups such as the Proud Boys.