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Paw and Order? Oklahoma's Ridiculous "Anti-Furry" Bill

It’s one thing to be a silly goose. It’s another thing to laugh like hyenas. But, for some inexplicable reason, a Republican legislator from the Sooner State seems to want to think that children identifying as furries at school somehow makes it fair game to strip them of their right to an education.

On January 16th, 2024, State Representative Justin Humphrey (R-OK) recently brought forward the framework for HB 3084, a proposed legislative bill seeking to ban anyone identifying as a “furry”—that is, a person who expresses an interest in anthropomorphic animal characters for various reasons—from attending public schools across the state, going further to mandate that animal control services be used to forcibly remove students caught in violation from campuses if parents or guardians cannot pick the child up from school themselves. 

“Students who purport to be an imaginary animal or animal species, or who engage in anthropomorphic behavior commonly referred to as furries at school shall not be allowed to participate in school curriculum or activities,” the bill dictates, although it does not go on to define what that behavior entails within the context of an academic environment. 

The Republican lawmaker—who unironically proposed the creation of a Bigfoot hunting season throughout Oklahoma state, and also tried to pass legislation in advocacy for cockfighting two years in a row—refused to comment or expand on what actually constitutes the definition of the behavior he suggests is running rampant in public schools.

“People are going to call me insane for running this bill. Hell, I’d say they’re insane,” Humphrey stated in a 30-second video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, about the alleged “epidemic” of children openly identifying as furries. He would even refer to his own bill as “crazy, but important”, going on to further insinuate that "we ought to neuter them and vaccinate them and send them to the pound.” Referring to this specific comment and the use of government resources to forcibly remove students, he stated that these proposals are to make a "sarcastic point”, almost as if he’s coyly calling attention to the not-so-subtle fact that he’s wasting literal taxpayer dollars in a half-baked scheme to marginalize fringe minorities.

He pointed to the bogus rumor from last year that a Michigan school district had been providing litter boxes in bathrooms for students who identified as furries, which has long since been discredited by basically everyone with a functioning brain stem as a right-wing hoax.

“I don’t want to see some kid go into the bathroom in a litter box, in the kitty litter. Those people up bear (sic) have lost their mind letting these people pretend to be animals in the classroom,” Rep. Humphrey continues in his rant. “If they’re gonna be animals. Let’s send them to the pound, let’s send them home. How do you teach a cat math?” Humphrey has referred to students identifying as animals as suffering from mental illness and in need of psychiatric assistance. When asked about any artistic components toward their self-identification as furries, he stated, “there’s nothing artistic about mental illness.”

If allowed to pass into law, HB 3084 is slated to go into effect in November of this year. Because nothing apparently brings Justin Humphrey more joy or gratitude on Thanksgiving night than telling little Timmy he needs to be neutered and dehumanized because he likes pretending to be a talking pink wolf every now and then. 

On pure estimate, there are approximately 250,000 people in the United States alone who identify as “furries”, a subculture and fandom whose members enjoy animal characters with anthropomorphic, or human-like, qualities and characteristics. Some members of the fandom derive satisfaction from the act of dressing up as such a character, others are interested in the culture as part of a sexual fetish they may have, but more often than not it simply serves as a platform for self-expression and community, a way to make friends and form connections. People from all walks of life—doctors, lawyers, IT specialists, artists, writers, teachers, students, parents, children, entire families—form an inclusive and colorful society of individuals who want nothing more than to be permitted the ability to express themselves without fear of prejudice, just like any other culture.

Even if he had proposed this bill to “make a sarcastic point”, Rep. Humphrey has opted to lean on harmful and dangerous rhetoric that not only paints an already marginalized community of people as little more than “delusional victims of mental illness”, he goes on to further suggest, with complete self-awareness, that government resources and taxpayer money be committed, dedicated, to cruelly punishing these people—schoolchildren—by taking away their right to an education for simply daring to be different than the way he wants them to be.

That sounds suspiciously familiar…

And it should, because none of this is new behavior among conservative-leaning communities. Right-wing “outrage” over the existence of furries in public settings has always had its connections with their greater contempt for more widely acknowledged minority groups, and Rep. Humphrey’s rather blatant efforts to paint young children as criminals for wanting to identify however they want closely mirrors the many transphobic comments he has continued to make for as long as he has held office.

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Make no mistake here, everybody: Humphrey’s just testing the waters to see what he can get away with, and if this is allowed to pass into law, it will open the doors for further marginalization and inhumane treatment of minorities in the state of Oklahoma. A child pretending to be an animal is not harming anyone; an adult pretending to be an animal does not harm anyone, and it certainly doesn’t give Republicans the authority to strip away their basic human rights on the grounds that “they don’t believe themselves to be human anyway”.

Elevate Your Kinky was founded to serve as a beacon of inclusivity and self-expression for everyone, no matter what walk of life they’re from. We don’t condone or tolerate Rep. Justin Humphrey’s endeavors to abuse the powers of office—hackneyed and trite they may be—with the express intent of denying children their right to an education.

Seriously, dude, you’re mad because kids are playing make believe at school? What the fuck is wrong with you?

State of OK with a paw and a stop circle

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