An heir to the Disney fortune who publicly came out as trans recently has said they should have done more to speak out against Florida‘s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, days after their family pledged $500,000 to the Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest LGBT+ advocacy group.
Roy P Disney, who is the great-nephew of Walt Disney and the co-founder of Walt Disney Co, said in an appeal to the advocacy group: “Equality matters deeply to us especially because our child, Charlee, is transgender and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Charlee Disney said they came out to their family four years ago using the pronouns they and them, but this is the first time the family has addressed their gender orientation in public.
The appeal was signed by Roy P Disney’s wife Sheri and their two children, reported The Los Angeles Times.
The appeal came after the company’s chief executive Bob Chapek had initially refused to stand against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, the controversial piece of legislation aimed at restricting schools in the state from teaching students about sexual orientation and gender issues.
However, an employee revolt led Mr Chapek to change his mind and announce that the company would donate $5m to the Human Rights Campaign.
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The move earned the company the ire of Florida governor Ron DeSantis who threatened to withdraw the company’s self-governing privileges, which it has enjoyed in the state since 1967.
Sheri Disney said her family was disappointed by the Disney Co’s initial refusal to take a stand and described the family’s own decision to match $500,000 of donations to HRC as a “bridge” to demonstrate their commitment to LGBT+ rights.
“I have a trans kid, and I love my kid no matter what,” she was quoted as saying by the LA Times.
“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 Disney, who is a 30-year-old high school biology and environmental science teacher, said.
“I had very few openly gay role models,” they said.
“And I certainly didn’t have any trans or nonbinary role models. I didn’t see myself reflected in anyone, and that made me feel like there was something wrong with me.”
They said that the Florida law only adds to the problems that LGBT+ children already face in school including bullying and depression.
“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?” Charlee Disney said.