Some good news came from an unlikely source when a conservative blogger released video of an internal Disney meeting where one executive reportedly advocated for 50 percent of Disney characters to be LGBTQ+ or people of color.
The series of clips came from a meeting entitled Reimagine Tomorrow, showing Disney executives and staffers who are aware of their platform and intend to use it to amplify marginalized LGBTQ+ voices and identities. While the blogger who released the clips might have hoped to cause a controversy, he instead showed a company staffed by compassionate folks who intend to continue creating work that represents all people and children.
The president of Disney General Entertainment, Karey Burke, indicated she was not just a corporate ally of the LGBTQ+ community, but also a mother of queer children as well.
“I’m here as the mother of two queer children actually – one transgender child and one pansexual child – and also as a leader,” Burke said in one clip. “And that was the thing that really got me because I have heard so much from so many of my colleagues over the course of the last couple of weeks in open forums and through emails and phone conversations.”
The blogger also alleged that Burke elsewhere said she wanted a minimum of 50 percent of characters in Disney stories to be from underrepresented communities, but the blogger provided no video of the alleged statement.
Noting that all their “gender non-conforming characters were in the background,” Allen Martsch, a production coordinator at Disney Television Animation, in another clip said his team was not just including more trans and non-conforming characters in their work, but also centering these characters and their truths.
“So it’s not just a numbers game of how many LGBTQ+ characters you have,” Martsch said. “The more centered a story is on a character, the more nuanced you can be with their story. Especially with trans characters. You can’t see if someone is trans. There’s not one way to look trans.”
Martsch even spoke of making the canon more inclusive and affirming.
“And so the only way to have these canonical trans characters, canonical asexual characters, canonical bisexual characters, is to give them stories where they can be their whole selves,” he continued.
Disney received harsh criticism for its refusal to initially condemn Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation which was recently signed into law. The law regulates the discussion of sexuality and gender with some students. CEO Bob Chapek at first said public statements do little good, but soon reversed course and called out Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.