How The Walt Disney Company Supports the LGBTQ+ Community
In honor of Pride month, we will be focusing on The Walt Disney Company and their amazing efforts to support the LGBTQ+ community.
In the Workplace
For the 14th consecutive year, The Walt Disney Company has earned a perfect score of 100 on the 2020 Corporate Equality Index (CEI). The national benchmarking survey measures corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality and is administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
The 2020 CEI rates companies on criteria in the following categories: non-discrimination policies, employment benefits, demonstrated organizational competency and accountability around LGBTQ diversity and inclusion, supplier diversity, public commitment to LGBTQ equality, and responsible citizenship.
As the standards for a perfect score have evolved, Disney has been a leader in providing benefits to same-sex couples and promoting workplace equality, including supporting transitioning employees, providing leader training on LGBTQ inclusion, and fostering LGBTQ business employee resource groups. Disney first achieved a perfect score in 2007 and has received a 100-percent rating every year since then.
Through employee service and company donations, Disney also has been a longtime supporter of organizations that support the LGBTQ community and work toward equality, including Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, GLSEN, Trevor Project, and the Human Rights Campaign.
On the Big Screen
One of Disney Pixar’s newest film, “Onward,” broke ground with a first for the Disney-Pixar universe. The new animated film, released March 6, introduces a self-identified lesbian character named Officer Specter.
The character, voiced by actress and screenwriter Lena Waithe, is a Cyclops cop and is featured in one scene in the middle of the main character’s quest.
Kori Rae, the producer for “Onward,” told Yahoo Entertainment, “It just kind of happened.”
“The scene, when we wrote it, was kind of fitting and it opens up the world a little bit, and that’s what we wanted,” Rae added. The film’s director, Dan Scanlon, said of the film, “It’s a modern fantasy world and we want to represent the modern world.”
Officer Specter comes in toward the middle of the brothers’ quest while they head to the magical mountains. In one scene, the character and her cop partner Officer Gore (Ali Wong) pull over a driver who claims he was distracted because his girlfriend's sons have been acting up.
“My girlfriend’s daughter got me pulling my hair out," Officer Specter relates during the scene. While this is the first confirmed instance, previously there were only speculations of LGBTQ characters in the Disney-Pixar universe.
At the Parks
Gay Days is one of the most popular “unofficial” events at Disneyland. It draws crowds annually about the first Saturday in October. Then, more people come again in March for "Mini Gay Day."
Gay Days are a fun-loving, family-friendly event attended by about 30,000 revelers. Everyone is welcome: couples, singletons, families and friends, LGBTQ's and allies. But on one condition: sharing the love for all Disney characters.
The Gay Day events are not presented by Disney, but the resort is supportive of the events and the many guests it brings to their parks, hotels, and restaurants. You'll see special merchandise for sale and photo ops. Because this is an unofficial event, the parks are still open to the public. You don’t need a special ticket to visit the parks for Gay Days.
Over the years, we have seen (and enjoyed!) special Gay Days dessert menu items, and even some meal packages at several quick-service restaurants in each park all weekend. For example, the culinary team created some of these special Gay Days rainbow food items for 2019:
Rainbow Rock Shake with rainbow cereal at Schmoozies
Rainbow Sugar Cookies at Jolly Holiday Bakery Café
Rainbow Cotton Candy at outdoor vending carts
Rainbow Cheesecake at Jolly Holiday Bakery Café
“There’s the whole thing of ‘happily ever after’ and ‘fantasies come true,’” says Paul Girard, a gay Disneyland annual passholder who lives near LA. “Having lived through years of gay-bashing, the AIDS epidemic, and all the negativity that comes across towards the gay community, it’s kind of beautiful to walk into a place where you can leave that behind.”
“I love the break from reality I get from a Disney holiday,” says Moross. “Two weeks spent wandering around the parks, floating in a lazy river, drinking frozen beverages, and eating tasty snacks. Everything is easy, planned, and predictable.“
Disney is truly a magical place for all. At The Pixie Planner, we are so happy to be so heavily involved in planning vacations for any family. We believe every family deserves to experience the joy and magic that The Walt Disney Company has to offer.