Charlee Corra Disney, an heir to the Disney name and fortune, has publicly come out as transgender and criticised the highly controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law in Florida.
When Florida’s so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill – which bans the discussion of LGBT+ topics in schools – passed through the Florida legislature, Disney faced intense backlash for its shockingly muted response to the bill and for political donations to every sponsor and co-sponsor involved in creating it.
Now, Charlee Corra Disney, an heir to the Disney name and a 30-year-old science teacher, has come out as trans and publicly criticized the legislation, as well as apologizing for not doing ‘much to help’.
Disney opened up about their identity days after the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group, rejected a $5 million donation from Disney corporation, until “meaningful action” had been taken.
Disney had made the donation following the public backlash, employee walk-outs and numerous state-wide protests demanding a response from the company.
Roy P Disney, grandson of the company’s co-founder (and great-nephew to Walt), along with his wife and two children, announced they would match up to $500,000 in donations and told the Washington Times: “My wife, Sheri, and I have been members of HRC for over 20 years.”
“Equality matters deeply to us, especially because our child, Charlee, is transgender and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community.”
“We were heartbroken when Ron DeSantis signed the ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ law in Florida. The fight isn’t over, and we are determined to do everything we can to stop this from happening in other places.”
Charlee Disney, who uses they/ them pronouns, told the LA Times that they came out to close family and friends four years ago, but chose to be more public with their identity due to the rapidly increasing numbers of anti-LGBTQ+ laws emerging in the US.
In March it was revealed that the annual number of anti-LGBTQ bills to have been filed in the USA had catapulted from 41 throughout the whole of 2018 to 238 in less than three months of 2022.
Charlee said: “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.”
Talking about the importance of visibility for queer youth, Charlee said:
“I had very few openly gay role models”, then adding “And I certainly didn’t have any trans or non-binary role models. I didn’t see myself reflected in anyone, and that made me feel like there was something wrong with me.”
Discussing the mental health impact on vulnerable LGBTQ+ young people, they added: “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 said would do nothing to help the already high rates of depression and anxiety, not to mention bullying and suicide.
Ron P. Disney’s gesture was celebrated on Twitter by his sister Abigail Disney, a documentary maker.
‘Today I am busting with pride at what my brother and his wife have done. So proud so proud so proud!!!’ she Tweeted.
Abigail told CNN that the attacks on the company from right-wing critics were ‘absurd’ adding that ‘There have been gay people whether or not the word was ever spoken,’
‘It denies the fact that everyone, conservative or not, has a gay friend or a transgender family member.’
Today I am busting with pride at what my brother and his wife have done. So proud so proud so proud!!! https://t.co/0VIiGXuLNp
— Abigail Disney (@abigaildisney) April 8, 2022