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Trans Disney heir condemns anti-LGBTQ+ bills: 'I felt like I could be doing more'

Although Charlee Corra Disney came out as transgender in private, four years ago, they came out publicly to fight against the oppressive "Don't Say Gay" law introduced in Florida.

Trans Disney heir condemns anti-LGBTQ+ bills: 'I felt like I could be doing more'
Image Source: Human Rights Campaign 2022 Los Angeles Dinner - Arrivals. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 12. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images )

Charlee Corra Disney, a high school science teacher and one of the heirs of The Walt Disney Co., publicly came out as transgender and condemned the recently introduced anti-LGBTQ+ bills in an interview. Just last month, they announced that their family would match up to $250,000 in donations to the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group, during the organization’s annual gala in Los Angeles. Roy P. Disney, Charlee Corra Disney’s stepfather and the grandson of the company’s co-founder, increased that pledged amount to $500,000 last week. According to Disney, the Human Rights Campaign gala was a public coming out for them; they came out as trans in private, four years ago, TODAY.com reports.



 

They shared that their journey has been difficult, despite the support they received and the privilege they hold. "I had very few openly gay role models," Disney shared in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "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 also lamented that they do not do much to help the LGBTQ+ community as they do not have much experience with public speaking or advocacy.



 

Disney stated, "I don’t call senators or take action. I felt like I could be doing more." They went on to condemn anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, noting that children in the LGBTQ+ community already deal with higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and bullying. "Then to put something like this law on top of that?" the heir asked. "They can’t learn about their community and their history at school, or play sports or use the bathroom they want to use?" Disney's comments stand in stark contrast to the company's recent actions: The Walt Disney Co. came under fire in February after The Orlando Sentinel reported that the company had donated to every sponsor and co-sponsor of the Parental Rights in Education bill (also known as the "Don't Say Gay" law).



 

In response, Disney CEO Bob Chapek stated in an internal email to employees, last month, that he and the company’s leadership "unequivocally stand" with LGBTQ+ employees, However, he did not openly condemn the proposed legislation. He argued that corporate statements "do very little to change outcomes or minds." He later announced that the company would pause all political donations in Florida and apologized for his first statement in a letter published on Disney’s website following criticism from employees. "It is clear that this is not just an issue about a bill in Florida, but instead yet another challenge to basic human rights," he wrote. "You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry."



 

According to Roy P. Disney, his family wanted to make a donation in part because the Human Rights Campaign declined a $5 million donation announced by Chapek last month. Joni Madison, the group’s interim president, said that the organization wanted to see Disney "build on their public commitment and work with LGBTQ+ advocates to ensure that dangerous proposals, like Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ bill, don’t become dangerous laws, and if they do, to work to get them off the books." Meanwhile, Sheri Disney, Charlee Corra Disney's mother, said the matching donation was meant to remind people that LGBTQ+ children need support. She affirmed, "I have a trans kid, and I love my kid no matter what."



 

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