A Disney family member has now joined the ongoing backlash against the “don’t say gay” bill that was recently passed in Florida.
Last week, Disney cofounder Roy P. Disney and his wife Sherri announced that they’d match up to $500,000 in donations to the Human Rights Campaign organization in response to the backlash that the conglomerate has gotten after its involvement in the legislation. Reports surfaced indicating the company had financially contributed to every sponsor of the bill. After criticized, the company hesitated on pushing back against it. Only after the bill was signed into law, did they commit to fighting it. As the company – and the family behind it – deals with this crisis management, a new voice has emerged: Charlee Corra Disney, who has disclosed that he’s a transgender man.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Charlee revealed: “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.” Charlee then noted that, growing up, he didn’t have any trans or nonbinary role models. “Then to put something like this law on top of that? They can’t learn about their community and their history at school, or play sports or use the bathroom they want to use?” he said.
According to a 2019 study from Oxford Economics, Disney has a $75.2 billion annual economic impact in Central Florida, pays $5.8 billion in additional state tax revenue, and generates 463,000 local jobs. The Walt Disney World Resort spans 30,000 acres and includes four theme parks – Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom – as well as two water parks, dozens of hotels, and numerous restaurants.
The "don't say gay" bill bans all classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida schools for grade levels K-3. The legislation also has a vague ban on other levels where it is not "age and developmentally appropriate." Many critics have said the legislation will lead to a rise in death by suicide for LGBTQ+ youth. There have been massive protests across the state as a result.
Given Disney's supposed commitment to diversity, many have lambasted the company for its lack of action. Disney family members, employees, and creative collaborators have spoken out against the bill regardless of the position that was initially taken by the House of Mouse. Now, Charlee has joined the list of Disney affiliates who are attempting to repeal this homophobic and transphobic bill that was signed into law.