Disney heir comes out as trans and supports LGBTQ children’s rights
Florida’s budding battle between the state legislature’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill and the state’s largest employer, The Walt Disney Co., could get much more personal after the one of Walt Disney’s heirs recently went public that they are transgender.
Charlee Disney, 30, made the announcement at a gala for the Human Rights Campaign, where they also presented a $250,000 matching grant to the organization.
Disney privately dated their family four years ago, they told the Los Angeles Times. But they felt much more good could be done by going public with their transition.
“I feel like I’m not doing much to help. I don’t call senators and I don’t act,” they said. “I felt like I could do more.”
Disney spoke with the newspaper about the barriers they faced growing up, barriers that are still in place for transgender youth.
“I had very few openly gay role models,” they said. “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 something was wrong with me.
Disney spoke about the abnormally high suicide rate and depression suffered by young LGBTQ people in America. “So put something like this law on top of that?” They can’t learn about their community and history at school, or play sports, or use the bathroom they want to use? ” they said.
Charlee’s father, Roy P. Disney, grandson of The Walt Disney Co. co-founder, also went public with his support for his child, sending an email to The Washington Times that read, in part, ” Equality matters deeply to us, especially because our child, Charlee, is transgender and proud to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
In the email, he also described his reaction to the passage and signing of Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics, like “broken heart”.
The bill prohibits discussing sexual orientation and identity through the state’s third grade, and further prohibits discussion in upper grades if made of what it vaguely describes as “in a way that is not age or developmentally appropriate”.
The company issued an official statement on Twitter after the bill passed and after being criticized by the LGBTQ community for its silence.
“The fight is not over,” said Roy Disney. “And we are determined to do everything we can to prevent that from happening elsewhere.”