Disney Celebrates and Welcomes the LGBT Community
Photo credit: @fastpass_shopping on Instagram
Deemed as ‘Pride’, for 30 days, awareness, activism, love and families are brought in into the limelight. Even though the rest of the world follows suit in the month of June to support this community, Disney has celebrated LGBTQ for decades—through their films, parks and company culture. Throughout every facet of their creative pursuits, corporate policies and even demonstrated in their response to political conversations, Disney has cemented their place as a stronghold for equality. Here, just a handful of examples that illustrates the ways Disney doesn’t discriminate, but propels this community:
Health Benefits for Same Sex Partners
Since it is not required by law in the United States for companies to offer health benefits for same sex couples, many businesses don’t offer it as part of their packages. Disney thinks differently though—and has since 1995. Any full-time employee who is eligible for this perk can add on their partner—regardless of their gender or sex—and be fully covered. This is a surprising fact, considering Walt Disney World is in the traditionally conservative state of Florida, where same sex relationships and families are not always supported.
Disney World “Gay Days”
More than 20 years ago, the happiest place on Earth transformed its primary colors to rainbow, when it introduced ‘Gay Days’ in 1991. During this time, couples and families are encouraged to visit for themed-parties, special food and events and other LGBTQ-friendly happenings that make Walt Disney World that much brighter. Since its inception, Gay Days has become one of the most popular and beloved gay pride events in the world, with roughly 150,000 lesbian, gays, trans, bi and queer singles, couples and families making their way to Orlando each year. During this time, there are mixers, expo booths, plenty of weddings, and as some folks in the community have said, an open invitation to ‘reclaim’ their childhood, if they felt like they couldn’t be their authentic self growing up. This four-day celebration continues to grow each year—even amidst controversy from religious groups—and Disney Paris followed suit with their version.
Suggestions in Film
Something changes when you re-watch Disney films as an adult—you suddenly notice references you might not have noticed as a kiddo. For decades, Disney has made subtle nods to the homosexual community, welcoming them into their storylines. Though they have been slight, their impact is noticed. One example is in Zootopia, where wannabe police officer Judy Hopps is neighbors with a gay couple, sharing the last name Oryx-Antlerson. There have also been rumors that Elsa in Frozen is a lesbian, though Disney has never confirmed. Most recently, in the remake of Beauty & the Beast, Gaston’s sidekick Le Fou is depicted as hot for his buddy. Through all of these instances, Disney is destigmatizing the LGBTQ community.
Allowing ‘Same Sex’ Weddings
Getting hitched at a place full of fairy tales, magic and wonder is a dream for plenty of little girls—and boys! Long before DOMA—more on that later—Disney has welcomed same sex couples to wed on their properties since 2007. Like heterosexual duos, they can choose from the ‘Fairy Tale Wedding’ package to create their one-of-a-kind big day. Same goes with any Disney Resort, any couple of any kind, can plan their ceremony at the plentiful locations.
Disney’s Opposition to DOMA
In 1996, DOMA—or, the Defense of Marriage Act—was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. Within this was the infamous section three, which prevented the federal government from recognizing gay marriage. This meant they weren’t given access to the same federal laws or programs that heterosexual newlyweds are awarded. While the act is still being debated and questioned today, a few years ago, section 3 was ruled unconstitutional, officially making same-sex couples acknowledged as equals at the federal level. During this time, Disney issued a brief supporting the end of DOMA, saying, “Our organizations are engaged in national and international competition … competition demands teamwork, and teamwork thrives when the organization minimizes distracting differences and focuses on a common mission.”
Most recently, Disney released their first-ever Pride ears for Pride Days. Though not available online, you can pick up a pair at any of the Disney parks throughout the month of June. And if you do a quick Instagram search, you’ll certaintly find plenty of happy customers who picked up a pair for themselves—and their partner. If you want to head to Disney during pride—or anytime—contact our friends over at MickeyTravels today.
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