Fighting Hate at the Happiest Place on Earth
How Disney World is Leading the Charge for LGBTQ+ Rights
As a gay lifestyle blogger, I was overjoyed to learn about Walt Disney World® Resort hosting the world's biggest LGBTQ+ conference. However, this exciting news is eclipsed by Florida's recent anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that poses a threat to the safety and rights of our queer community. Even though the future of safe havens for LGBTQ+ individuals in Florida looks uncertain, let's not allow these hateful attacks to defeat us. By flocking to Disney World and its surrounding cities, we can stand as a community and highlight why these destinations are worth supporting. According to Tom Christ, a local event producer affected by this ban,
"Disney should also be praised for their strong stand to say that 'everyone is welcome at the Walt Disney World Resorts.' We call upon anyone who disagrees with the politicians in Tallahassee's unjust and unfair laws to stand with Florida, wear a RED shirt, and show up and let the world see that we will not put up with this!"
Disney World is a welcoming and inclusive space that brings magic to everyone, including the LGBTQ+ community. With numerous LGBTQ+ cast members and social groups, as well as one of the world's most enduring and iconic LGBTQ+ events - like RED Shirt Pride Days (June 3, 2023) - Disney parks have been a sanctuary of pleasure and joy for queer visitors. I will never forget how my husband and I watched the fireworks display during our first visit to Magic Kingdom, tears falling down my cheeks as I felt a sense of fitting in and acceptance. Such stories underscore why Disney World is an exceptional place for our community.
Beyond Disney World, the city of Orlando and neighboring areas offer a flourishing gay scene. This year, various events like One Magical Weekend, Bear Jamboree, Girls in Wonderland, GayDays, and The Pride Cup occur the same weekend from June 2 to June 4. We interviewed the event owners for insights on why they believe people should #FlocktoFlorida and rally against these unjust laws with overwhelming support for a corporation that shows its support for our community.
So here's what happened; why you should care about heading to Florida and spreading the word, and how we can show solidarity and support. As Billy Looper, another LGBTQ+ business owner and community leader explains,
"Even though harmful legislation threatens LGBTQ+ rights, we can demonstrate our unity and stand up for our brothers and sisters by attending local events and supporting queer-owned businesses." Pride season reminds us of why we cannot let those who want to erase our existence succeed - now is the time for us to rally together and show how much we value our community.
Even in the face of damaging anti-LGBTQ+ laws, we find assurance in Disney's staunch stance against discrimination. Despite Governor Ron DeSantis' prohibitions on discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity in schools constituting a culture war against "wokeness" in Florida, Disney remains steadfastly opposed to DeSantis' "Don't say gay" bill. Last year, Disney staff members even staged walkouts over the issue, and CEO Bob Chapek announced that Disney would pause all political donations in Florida. Disney's support for our community makes it clear that the fight for equality and acceptance continues, and we stand together in solidarity.
For more information on:
RED Shirt Pride Day - https://www.kindredpride.org/
One Magical Weekend - https://onemagicalweekend.com/
Bear Jamboree - www.orlandobearpride.com
The Pride Cup - www.thepridecup.com
Girls in Wonderland - link