Orlando in 2023 NASFiC bid chair Adam Beaton today announced the bid has been cancelled.
With a heavy heart, we write to inform you that Orlando is backing out of the 2023 NASFiC race. This was an incredibly difficult choice to make so close to the vote at Chicon 8 – Chicago Worldcon 2022. There were some factors to our decision that were in our control that helped guide us and some sadly not in our control.
On behalf of the rest of the Orlando committee, thank you to everyone who supported us from our announcement at DisCon III to today and had planned on voting for Orlando. All of us on the committee are so sorry we could not bring the NASFiC to Central Florida.
Winnipeg is now the only remaining filed bid for the 2023 North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC). Since 1975, NASFiCs have been held whenever the Worldcon is held outside North America, as provided by the WSFS Constitution. The selection of Chengdu, China to host the 2023 Worldcon opened the way for a NASFiC the same year.
The Orlando NASFiC Bid had superseded the Orlando in 2026 Worldcon bid.
In March, the Orlando NASFiC bid had tried to position itself as a more acceptable alternative to attending the 2023 Chengdu Worldcon:
There isn’t an actual mechanism to take away the Worldcon based on the actions of what that committee’s government chooses to do or even not do. We can say, though, that the power of boycotting has always been a way for many diverse voices to be seen and heard, from the Cogadh na Talún in Ireland to the Swadeshi Movement in India. Such actions can and should always be considered by any of the members of WSFS.
The NASFiC can never be the Worldcon, and no one can promise you that. What we can promise you, however, is our deep commitment to running for you the best alternative to the Worldcon we can–a convention that celebrates the diversity and inclusivity that empowers us all as fans and commits our spirit to “keep moving forward,” as Walt Disney once said.
It’s also vital for us to recognize that some in the community have strong feelings about our own government here in Florida and perhaps even the American South at large. It would be hypocritical to not point that out in a statement like this, and we see and hear all of your opinions and feelings regarding this topic.
As the statement implied, they were already having to labor under the political baggage created by passage of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, leading to weeks of public acrimony between state Governor Ron DeSantis and Disney over the company’s opposition to the law which limits how educators discuss LGBTQ issues in the classroom. Then, the state legislature retaliated by voting to revoke a special tax district created in 1967 to facilitate the operation of DisneyWorld.
The bid committee therefore unexpectedly found themselves having to address the question “Is Orlando a safe space for LGBTQIA+ fans?”
Today’s announcement did not specify all the factors behind the withdrawal, however, the state’s political and cultural news profile must have been one of them.