In a show of support for the LGBTQ community, Disney heirs have pledged $500,000 to the country’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Standing in solidarity with their child, Charlee Corra, who has come out publicly as transgender, Roy P. Disney and his wife Sheri are speaking out against passing legislation like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Disney faced backlash from the LGBTQ community, allies, and advocates when it was revealed that the company – co-founded by Charlee’s great-grandfather – had donated to campaigns of sponsors and co-sponsors of the highly controversial bill. CEO Bob Chapek sent a companywide email proclaiming support for the community, but his lack of condemnation of the legislation left many skeptical.
His assertion that DeSantis “promised” not to use the legislation as a weapon lacked the sincerity the community was hoping for.
Today in A Day Late and a Dollar Short: During a shareholder call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek says Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) assured him the "Don’t Say Gay" bill will not be "weaponized in any way" against the LGBTQ+ community. pic.twitter.com/ufmLQYDerC
— The Recount (@therecount) March 9, 2022
Attempting to make amends, Chapek announced Disney had signed on to a public letter with 150 other companies against HB 1557 and announced a $5 million corporate donation from Disney to the Human Rights Campaign. It was promptly rejected.
The Human Rights Campaign has rejected The Walt Disney Company’s donation to its efforts to protect LGBTQ+ rights, demanding that the company take “meaningful action” to combat Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation. https://t.co/0f0vl5vURN
— Variety (@Variety) March 10, 2022
In a statement available on the HRC website, Interim President Joni Madison had this to say:
“The Human Rights Campaign will not accept this money from Disney until we see them build on their public commitment and work with LGBTQ+ advocates to ensure that dangerous proposals, like Florida’s Don’t Say Gay or Trans bill, don’t become dangerous laws, and if they do, to work to get them off the books. Businesses have had and continue to have a major impact in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights, from marriage equality to the defeat of House Bill 2 in North Carolina and beyond. While Disney took a regrettable stance by choosing to stay silent amid political attacks against LGBTQ+ families in Florida — including hardworking families employed by Disney — today they took a step in the right direction. But it was merely the first step.”
“HRC encourages Disney, and all employers, to continue to fight for their employees – many of whom bravely spoke out to say their CEO’s silence was unacceptable – and the LGBTQ+ community by working with us and state and local LGBTQ+ groups to ensure these dangerous anti-equality proposals that harm LGBTQ+ families and kids have no place in Florida. Every student deserves to be seen, and every student deserves an education that prepares them for health and success — regardless of who they are. This should be the beginning of Disney’s advocacy efforts rather than the end.”
Speaking to The Los Angeles Times, high school science teacher and Disney heir Charlee Corra expressed regret for not speaking up sooner when the legislation was being introduced.
“I feel like I don’t do very much to help. I don’t call Senators or take action. I felt like I could be doing more,” the Disney heir said.
The Parental Rights in Education bill prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in Kindergarten through 3rd grade but also prohibits any instruction deemed not age-appropriate, giving parents who object the right to sue. The language is intentionally vague and will only succeed in further isolating those already vulnerable, people susceptible to depression and suicidal thoughts.
Though privileged to have a loving and supportive family, Charlee Corra knows full well the loneliness that comes with a lack of representation, and the importance for LGBTQ youth to be able to see themselves in their surroundings and feel that they belong.
“I didn’t see myself reflected in anyone, and that made me feel like there was something wrong with me,” the Disney heir said.
Hopefully, Charlee’s coming out — and the public support of parents — will encourage others to do the same.
Original Source: Robin Abcarian at The Los Angeles Times.
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