Trans Disney Family Member Slams Florida Law, Donates $500K to Human Rights Campaign

Charlee Disney, an heir to The Walt Disney Company who recently came out publicly as transgender, spoke out against Florida's anti-LGBTQ "Don't Say Gay" bill, with the Disney family promising to match up to $500,000 of donations to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

The Disney family's donation comes after Charlee, 30, pledged $250,000 to the HRC while appearing at the organization's annual gala in March. "I feel like I don’t do very much to help," Charlee told the LA Times. "I don't call senators or take action. I felt like I could be doing more."

"I had very few openly gay role models. 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," Charlee continued. "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?"

After Charlee's appearance at the HRC gala, Roy P. Disney (Walt Disney's great-nephew and grandson of co-founder Roy O. Disney), his wife Sheri and their children announced that the family would match up to $500,000 worth of donations to the HRC. "Equality matters deeply to us, especially because our child, Charlee, is transgender and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community," Roy wrote in a statement.

The Walt Disney Company faced significant backlash over its initial lack of response to the legislation, as well as its donations to the politicians behind the Parental Rights in Education bill, nicknamed the "Don't Say Gay" bill," which would effectively ban "classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels." The bill was passed by the Florida House of Representatives and the Senate and signed by Governor Ron DeSantis.

On March 9, following a meeting with shareholders, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Chapek announced that Disney would pledge $5 million to the HRC and other LGBTQ+ charities. However, the HRC denied this donation until "meaningful action" was taken from the entertainment company. Chapek announced on March 24 that the company would pause all political donations in the state of Florida and that Disney would be "increasing our support for advocacy groups to combat similar legislation in other states."

Recently, Walt Disney Co. promised to help fight and subsequently repeal the "Don't Say Gay" law. "Florida's HB 1557, also known as the 'Don't Say Gay' bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law," a Disney spokesperson said in a statement. "Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that. We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country."

Source: LA Times

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