I Am a Gay Employee at Walt Disney World. Disney Does Not Speak For Me.
A few years ago as I was strolling through Fantasyland during “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party”, a young boy around age eight or nine complimented me on my Fix-It Felix costume. “Thanks!” I said, “I like yours too!” He was dressed as Tinker Bell. At that moment I felt so proud to be a Disney cast member. I thought, ‘how great that Disney World is a place where this boy can feel free to dress in that costume, and how wonderful that his parents let him!’ (When I was his age I was watching ‘Three’s Company’ and listening to Mr. Roper call Jack Tripper ‘Tinker Bell’ as the audience laughed at the gay put-down.)
A lot of gay men will connect with this, as many of us were not your stereotypical rambunctious, athletic ‘masculine’ boys. While I never wanted to dress up as a fairy, I loved the color purple, hated sports, played ‘librarian’ (a women’s job, at that time), and asked Santa to bring me the Donny & Marie barbie dolls for Christmas. (Yes, he delivered!)
So I can understand why many of my fellow gay cast members were upset when they heard that the Florida government had voted for the “Don’t Say Gay Bill”. They looked back on their own childhoods and wondered how things would have been different if someone had told them it was OK to be gay. Or maybe some of them came out as gay in their teens, resulting in them being abused or even thrown out of the house by their parents. These are sad stories and I empathize with the emotions involved, so I understand why there was a visceral reaction to hearing that Florida was enacting a bill that stopped teachers from saying the word ‘gay’.
Except for one thing: it is not true. As most people hopefully know by now, the bill does not mention the word ‘gay’ once.
Here are some statements from Lesbians United on the bill:
“Despite what you may have heard, the Parental Rights in Education Act does not require schools to out gay students to abusive parents; nor does it erase gay people and gay history. Rather, the Parental Rights in Education Act would protect children – including young lesbians and gay boys – from exposure to inappropriate sexual content, and give loving and supportive parents access to the information they need to protect and guide their children.”
“The Parental Rights in Education Act, which major news outlets and homophobic organizations have smeared as a “Don’t Say Gay” bill, isn’t about gay erasure at all.”
“The bill’s prohibition on teaching sexual orientation applies only to children below fourth grade. It does not prohibit age-appropriate discussion of sexual orientation in middle- or high school sex ed, and it does not prohibit the discussion of gay history in classes beyond third grade.
The purposely misleading nickname“Don’t Say Gay” was a Trojan horse. It drew people in and got them all fired up because they thought the bill was attacking gay people. In a headline or quick soundbite, it seemingly told you all you needed to know. This was done intentionally—there has been an outcome of support and acceptance from the public at large since Gay Marriage was made legal, so those fighting the bill knew any attack on gay people would be met with outrage. The detractors of the bill used this to lure you in, but they wanted to hide the gender ideology part of the bill, which is what people should really be concerned about. The public was being played, and gay people were being used as pawns.
Any gay adult man who felt a kinship with that little boy dressed as Tinker Bell should be made aware of this: It is a very different world from the time you grew up—even from the world ten years ago. In today’s culture, that little boy would not be told it is OK to be gay; he would be led to believe he is ‘really a girl’. Across the nation and the world, gender non-conforming boys and girls are being pushed into believing they are trans. THIS is what is at the core of teaching ‘gender identity’, and it is a form of CONVERSION, just as contemptible as those religious groups that attempt to ‘pray the gay away’.
As a gay man and employee of Disney, I support the Parental Rights in Education Act and feel the need to go on record that I do NOT agree with the Disney ‘LGBTQ+’ leaders and groups that purport to speak on my behalf. I also feel the need at this time to make a statement that I do NOT consider myself a member of your ‘LGBTQ+ Community’ and I object to any assumption that I am included. I REJECT this ‘community’ and refuse to participate with or be subjected to any of its declarations.
Because there is no such thing as an ‘LGBTQ+ Community’. There can’t be, because within those letters are obvious conflicts—people who are same-sex attracted vs. people who deny the biological reality of sex. This is something that has been bothering me for years, as the ‘T’ was tacked on to LGB, even though it stands for a group with entirely different issues. This was soon followed by the heinous ‘Q’ for Queer, a slur used against gay people that somehow became an ‘identity’. More letters followed, in a ‘the more the merrier’ approach, culminating in the ‘+’ being added in the end to signify the message ‘to hell with it—let’s just include literally anyone and everyone’.
At a DEI (Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion) discussion with my coworkers this topic came up and I shared my feelings. It was illuminating because it became clear to me that my coworkers did not even know what all the letters in LGBTQ stood for. One coworker asked in particular how the word ‘Queer’ became so widespread, so quickly. A great question that I was unable to answer, as I am just as perplexed about this. Another coworker told me privately afterword that she always thought the ‘Q’ stood for ‘Queens’! (It’s OK to laugh; I did.)
The furor over the Parental Rights in Education Bill has exposed the illogicality of the term ‘LGBTQ+’.
Here is a statement from gay, lesbian and bisexual rights group LGB Alliance USA:
“The legislation in Florida known as the ‘Don't Say Gay’ bill is not really about same-sex orientation or same-sex rights. The bill aims to ensure schools will not be permitted to discuss ‘sexual orientation or gender identity below the third grade level. Since sex ed or sexuality in general is not currently discussed in these younger grades, the bill itself does not affect same-sex rights in schools; rather, it is clear this bill is primarily designed to prevent schools from promoting gender ideology to young children. While we do not align politically with the proponents of this bill and we fully understand that many of its proponents are likely homophobic in addition to being critical of self-ID, we do agree that gender ideology is a harmful and anti-scientific narrative that has no place in schools. One day we hope to see a bill that explicitly and unambiguously protects #LGB and gender-nonconforming youth from both discrimination and from gender ideology without any roots in homophobia. The fact that the bill places ‘sexual orientation [and] gender identity’ in the same class is precisely why it is vital that we work to keep same-sex orientation (LGB) separate from gender ideology. We are not one community, we are not one issue, we are not one movement. Same-sex rights are incompatible with a belief that claims sex doesn't exist or matter and that homosexuality is "bigoted" and "exclusionary." The moniker of “Don’t Say Gay” is deeply misleading about what this bill is actually targeting. This is a predictable result of the gender movement piggybacking on the same-sex rights movement to push their sexist, homophobic agenda. We strongly encourage everyone to read the bill in its entirety (it's only seven pages): https://flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022/1557/BillText/er/PDF…”
And the biggest irony of it all is that the organizations and ‘allies’ who are condemning the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” are the same people who almost never say the word ‘gay’ themselves. They are always referring to the ‘LGBTQ Community’ (or some variation of that alphabet soup).
Let me speak for myself: I am not LGBTQ, LGBTQ+, or LGBTQIA+. I am gay, just GAY. When you refer to me as ‘LGBTQIA+’, it is offensive to me. You are putting a label on me that I never approved. You are lumping all these groups of people together, and we are not a monolith. In addition, you are including the word ‘Queer’ as part of that label, and I am highly offended by that word, which is a slur that has been used to attack me.
While my fellow cast members have been expressing their outrage that Disney is not doing enough to fight this bill, I have been watching over the past year or so as Disney continues to push gender ideology on its employees. As gender ideology offends me as a gay man, I feel that Disney is doing TOO MUCH.
I was unhappy but resigned to stay silent when Bob Chapek issued his ‘neutral’ statement on March 7th, but then the angry mob got to him and he issued a new statement on March 11th, this time using the erroneous “Don’t Say Gay” nickname for the bill in his remarks. I had read his previous message, as well as ‘A Message of Support’ from Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences & Products Josh D’Amaro and ‘Showing support for our LGBTQ+ community’ from Latondra Newton, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, but this was the first time I had seen Disney use the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ moniker. I was chagrined.
And then Disney held a ‘Reimagine Tomorrow Conversation’ on March 21st.
We were promised a conversation in which Disney would ‘get real’, but I watched the event and did not hear a lot of reality being discussed. I did not hear the biological reality of sex mentioned. I did not hear any acknowledgment of the social contagion currently happening in which there has been an astonishing increase in the number of teenage girls who are identifying as trans. I did not hear any acknowledgment of adolescents who are gender-nonconforming and identify as trans that eventually desist and go on to be gay and lesbian adults.
I did hear the word ‘queer’ thrown around a lot. I heard from an ESPN contributor about the support for Lia Thomas and trans athletes in women’s sports (which I do not agree with). I heard the bill being called ‘hateful and discriminatory legislation’. I do not believe this is true.
I didn’t hear any discussion about the impact of social media and how that is likely a contributing factor in the increase in kids identifying as non-binary, trans, queer, etc.
I didn’t hear any discussion about woke homophobia among today’s youth, in which ‘cis gay’ is used a slur and being a lesbian is not ‘cool’. If you have teenagers in your life, go ask them how many kids they know who identify as gay or lesbian compared to how many identify as trans, non-binary, queer, pansexual, or one of the multiple other ‘new’ and ‘unique’ choices.
I didn’t hear any honesty about what is meant when people say ‘LGBTQ kids are being denied gender affirming healthcare’. Here is what the phrase ‘gender affirming healthcare’ means: A child learns about the world of gender identity and decides she is really a boy. She tells her doctor/psychiatrist/therapist she is a boy. This is ‘affirmed’, no questions asked. No discussions, no talk therapy, just affirmation. She is treated like a boy, with a new name and new pronouns from then on. This can lead to breast binders and puberty-blocking drugs. All of this can happen at school with school administrators, keeping the parents completely in the dark. Which is why this bill is so important. I believe in protecting children and that begins with making sure their parents can be their protectors from this abuse. Detractors who have pounced on the idea that the bill will not protect kids from potentially abusive parents have missed the point—what this bill is attempting to do in Florida is protect kids from an already abusive ideology they are being exposed to in schools throughout the country. If your concern is parents who are abusive to their kids, there are already laws in place requiring teachers to respond to that. And it is the job of ALL OF US, not just teachers, to report any abuse we think is happening to kids from relatives, coworkers, and neighbors. (You know, ‘it takes a village’ and ‘see something, say something’?)
One of the panelists in my supposed ‘community’ of people meant to represent me in this Conversation introduced herself as a ‘biromantic asexual’, which I had to Google because I had never heard of it before. (Has anyone??) This ‘identity’ has nothing to do with me as a gay person. She bragged about ‘adding queerness wherever she could’ in the kids’ shows she writes. This person absolutely does not speak for me.
For all the commotion about “Don’t Say Gay”, the only self-identified gay man on the panel of eight was a person who in his introduction apologized for being ‘cisgender’. Because apparently, being born as a man is something to be ashamed of.
There was talk of kids committing suicide if they are not affirmed as trans. This is called EMOTIONAL TERRORISM. These organizations are mangling statistics to further their beliefs, and using children as pawns. Yes, we live in an extremely stressful time and kids are very high strung. Trans/non-binary/queer etc. is being force-fed as the solution to these problems, rather than searching for other underlying issues. (You’re depressed? Find a gender label that fits! You’re going through a difficult puberty and feel uncomfortable in your body? Maybe you’re really a boy!) LGBTQ+ organizations are telling parents “It’s better to have a trans son than a dead daughter.” This is repugnant.
We were told that Disney wants to hear our stories and solutions, which is one reason why I am writing this. We were told to be ‘real’, ‘honest’, and to ‘talk about the uncomfortable’. I am doing that.
Toward the end of the program, Nadine Smith, the ‘special guest’ from Equality Florida, gave an example of how the bill prohibiting discussion of gender identity to kindergarteners-third grade could be applied. She explained that if a teacher was pregnant and a student asked if she was having a boy or a girl, the teacher wouldn’t be able to answer.
A cute story, but a lie. Smith is gaslighting. She knows very well what is meant when we are talking about discussing gender identity with children. We’re talking about telling children they were ‘assigned a sex at birth’ and asking them if they ‘feel’ like a boy or a girl, opening the door to outdated gender stereotypes. We’re talking about telling children they can choose their pronouns before they even know what a pronoun IS. We’re talking about lessons like 'The Genderbread Person'. THIS is the kind of thing children are being taught:
The average adult can’t even make sense of this. How can you expect a first grader to understand it? Why would we ever discuss gender identity to children? Why would we tell kids they have been ‘assigned’ a sex at birth, and that they can change this throughout life? Why are we promoting ‘feminine and masculine’ gender stereotypes?
To young children, this is confusing and inappropriate. Children should be children; they shouldn’t be concerned with matters of sex, gender, and sexuality. The Parental Rights bill prevents this madness from happening.
Childhood is (and should be) a time of discovery and self-discovery, and by all means kids should be encouraged to express themselves by wearing what they want, doing crazy things with their hair, etc. But in school we teach FACTS. And the fact is that there are only two sexes.
The people who think they are protecting children by condemning this bill are doing the exact opposite. All in the name of ‘human rights’.
In short, the Conversation did little to reassure me that the situation at Disney was going to get better. Rather, it ignited a fire in me to speak out because I could see it is going to get much much worse. It was made clear to me that Disney is planning to go even HARDER with gender ideology. And the more Disney pushes gender ideology, the more I am going to push back. I have been advised by people close to me to keep my mouth shut; just go along with it; it’s like this everywhere; this is the world we live in now. But I just can’t accept this. I feel really disgusted with what is happening.
And then on March 28, 2022, Governor DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education bill into law, to take effect July 1, 2022. And Disney immediately issued a statement:
“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. 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.”
So my question to Disney now is: What do you say to me—one of your gay employees whom you claim to protect and stand up for—when I tell you that I support this bill? Do I still have a place at Disney? If you are going to fight to repeal this bill, you are going against what I believe. Are employees who support the Parental Rights in Education Act (not the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, as you call it) welcome at Disney? Are Guests who support the bill welcome at Disney?
Why do I care so much about all this?
Because ‘gender identity’ is reductive. It reinforces stereotypes we’ve been trying to get rid of for decades. Flowers, dolls, and the color pink are ‘feminine’ while trucks, football, and short haircuts are ‘masculine’. I thought the goal was to tell boys and girls they could like and do anything without these limitations?
Because ‘gender identity’ is misogynist. It tells boys they can identify as girls and invade girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms, and participate (and dominate) in their sports.
Because ‘gender identity’ is homophobic. Boys and girls who might grow up to be gay and lesbian adults are now being told they are ‘really’ the opposite sex. It’s a form of conversion--transing the gay away. This is a form of ‘woke homophobia’—parents who would prefer to have a trans child than a gay son or daughter.
Because ‘gender identity’ is an aberration. It lets children SELF-DIAGNOSE their psychological issues. It preys on kids with mental illness, autism, severe clinical depression, ADHD, anorexia, and trauma from sexual abuse. ‘Trans’ is celebrated as the ‘answer’ to their issues, while these other comorbidities are ignored.
Because ‘gender identity’ is child abuse. It’s an experiment and kids are being used as guinea pigs. Doctors are medicalizing children, altering their development before/while they go through puberty. They are mutilating teenagers’ bodies with the promise that it will help them be their ‘true selves’. [Why would the medical industry do this, and why are some politicians endorsing this? Trans adults require continual treatment. ‘Trans kids’ creates customers for life. Pharmaceutical companies and the medical industry are two of the largest lobbying groups in the USA. Draw your own conclusion.]
The Parental Rights Act is important because it will prevent the practice of schools withholding information about their children’s health.
Here is Lesbians United again:
“Importantly, the bill would prevent young children from being indoctrinated into the ideology of “gender identity” by their schools – an ideology which is, at its core, homophobic. This prohibition would give young lesbians and gay boys, who are at higher risk for experiencing confusion over their biological sex at a young age, precious time to get used to their bodies and themselves, and give them a fighting chance to escape grooming for medical abuse.”
When people move through childhood to adolescence to adulthood, we have age restrictions for when they are allowed to smoke, drive, vote, drink, get tattooed, join the military, get married, etc. We should not be rushing and pushing children into a trans life. Let them live their childhoods and teen years and make these life-altering decisions when they are adults. What this bill does is give parents some control over what is happening to their kids before they are old enough to understand the ramifications.
Without question gender ideology is a belief system, not based in facts or science. Sounds a lot like religion to me. If you don’t want your children taught religion in school but you are OK with gender ideology being taught, simply put: you are a hypocrite.
Why am I writing this?
Because as a gay man, I am fed up with being lumped into the umbrella term ‘LGBTQIA+’. I am tired of organizations and ‘allies’ who have taken it upon themselves to speak for me. I am horrified and disgusted with the abuse that is happening to gay and lesbian people in our country and around the world. I want to denounce the abuse of children that I see happening. I am letting it be known: You will no longer do this in my name.
I am writing this to let heterosexual people know that you are allowed to speak up, ask questions, and call out misinformation. You are not ‘homophobic’ or ‘transphobic’ if you have questions or are confused. You are allowed to disagree with people. I think most people want to believe they are open-minded, but being open-minded does not mean going along with everything—even if it is coming from the ‘side’ you usually take.
I am writing this to other gay men and lesbians who feel the same way I do, and I plead with you to speak up and make your voice heard as well.
I am writing this to the gay men and women who DON’T agree with me, and ask you to pause, reflect, and reconsider the blatant conflict between same-sex attraction and gender ideology. If it is something you have not considered before, it is time for you to start.
I’m writing this for anyone who feels like the world has gone crazy and they don’t know what is up and what is down anymore. You are not alone.
I’m writing this for my conservative coworkers at Disney, who feel silenced. While we have often disagreed on issues, on THIS issue of safeguarding children, I am in agreement with you. I want you to know YOU have allies in a lot of gay people, as not all of us have drunk the Gender Ideology Kool-Aid. Disney should be a place for EVERYONE to enjoy, and you should make your voices heard.
I’m writing this because I have been monitoring this for a few years and I see the writing on the wall, and the writing is getting bigger and more aggressive every day.
I am writing this for anyone who makes efforts to be ‘kind’ and do the right thing. It is not kind to confuse little children about their sex and it is not kind to push teenagers into medicalizing and mutilating their healthy, still-developing bodies. FOR ANY REASON.
I am writing this because, ironically, you have forced me back into the closet. People like me feel like they have to keep their beliefs to themselves, for fear of losing their jobs or getting ‘cancelled’. I am tired of being silent.
Most especially, I’m writing this for my family, friends, and coworkers who are parents of girls. Over the past decade, there has been a 4000% increase in teenage girls identifying as trans. This is not a case of more kids being their ‘true selves’; this is a social contagion that you need to be aware of.
The company has a policy that it does not accept harassment or discrimination against ‘gender identity’. I am not asking Disney to discriminate against anyone. Feel free to employ anyone regardless of their beliefs or how they want to express themselves. But do not promote those beliefs.
By stating that they are actively going to work to repeal this bill, Disney has now gone too far.
Over the past month I have read many ‘messages of support’ from Disney leaders. Here are the messages of support I want to hear from Disney:
I want to know that my point of view is being heard and researched. There is no one universal approach for all gay people, let alone the entire LGBTQIA cluster.
A deeper understanding of the gay and lesbian experience, and a recognition that we have regressed as a society into a new form of homophobia.
Within your DEI efforts, the addition of Diversity of THOUGHT.
I have been collecting information over the past month. In Disney emails and communications, you have asked me how I am doing. You have asked me how I feel. You have said you respect me. You have said you want to make sure all voices are heard. You have encouraged me to speak freely. You have said you will fight for me. You have said you have my back. You have said I should feel safe, welcomed, and valued. You have assured me that you will support me.
I am taking it to heart that all of this was said in good faith and honesty.
Allow me to tell you now how Disney does not make me feel ‘included’:
I do not feel ‘included’ when Disney touts their endorsement from the Human Rights Campaign. People may be unaware that the HRC changed their definition of homosexuality from ‘same-sex attraction’ to ‘same-gender attraction’. This new definition is homophobic, and is an example of how they have turned their back on gay and lesbian people to prioritize gender ideology. I reject the HRC, as they do not have my best interest in mind. In addition, the HRC is misogynist: In their ‘Safer Sex For Trans Bodies’ guide, the HRC assigns the word ‘vagina’ to the genitals of a biological male who has had ‘bottom surgery’ and refers to a biological woman’s vagina as a ‘front hole’.
I do not feel ‘included’ when Disney supports GLAAD. In 2013, GLAAD announced that it had formally dropped the "Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation" from their name and would now be known only as GLAAD—an acronym which now stands for nothing. Another example of selling out gay and lesbian people in favor of gender ideology.
I do not feel ‘included’ when Disney works with GLSEN. Originally formed as The Gay & Lesbian Independent School Teacher Network, and later becoming the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, the organization now goes by GLSEN—yet another example of a meaningless acronym in order to promote gender ideology over their original purpose of supporting student Gay/Straight Alliances.
I do not feel ‘welcomed’ when I am confronted throughout my workplace with bulletin boards pushing ‘preferred pronouns’. This is Disney endorsing an ideology that offends me.
I do not feel ‘appreciated’ during the entirety of June, when Disney relentlessly pushes ‘Pride Month’ on its cast members. Rather, what I feel is EXPLOITED and stressed out. Beyond the obvious pandering, the ‘celebration’ is excessive. As a private, introverted person, I do not need or want an entire month to celebrate my gayness. I don’t need constant affirmation and validation, or elementary school-style bulletin board posts.
I do not feel ‘valued’ when Disney endorses the terms/concepts ‘queer’, ‘cisgender’, ‘assigned at birth’, and ‘non-binary’, all of which are offensive.
Lastly, I do not feel like Disney ‘has my back’ when the leaders (D’Amaro, Newton) who sent ‘Messages of Support’ have their pronouns posted after their names. Many of the leaders in my location have pronouns posted in their emails and profiles as well. This practice is a signal proclaiming and promoting a belief in gender ideology. How am I supposed to feel accepted, respected, and welcomed in this environment? As Disney employees, we are continually told the company wants us to feel seen, heard, and understood. But how can I feel comfortable speaking with anyone who supports gender ideology, when they have already made up their mind to prioritize gender over sex? As a gay man, the acknowledgement of sex matters to me. ‘Homosexual’ means ‘same-sex attracted’. Without the acknowledgement of sex, there is no same-sex attraction and you have nullified my existence.
As my employer, you have no right to tell me how to feel as a gay man, any more than you have the right to tell me who to vote for or which religion I choose to practice/not practice. The days of you speaking for me are over. I will tell YOU how I feel. Here is how I feel:
I have over three decades of lived experience as a gay adult. I am also the sole creator, artist, and writer of a comic strip with a dozen gay and lesbian characters, which was published in a weekly newspaper in Boston from 2003-2008. This coincided with Massachusetts’ historic ruling on the legalization of gay marriage and the legal battle that ensued, which I incorporated into the storyline of my comic strip. I marched in Boston’s Pride parade with my cartoon characters blown up larger than life on a float behind me. I’m pretty sure I personally have created more actual gay artistic content than the multibillion dollar Disney corporation in all its 99 years. I will happily match my bona fides against Disney when it comes to knowledge about gay and lesbian rights.
As a person who has been the victim of gay-bashing, with six young men calling me faggot and queer as they pounded me in my face and body with their fists, I condemn anyone’s use of the word ‘queer’ as an identifier. This is insulting and offensive and must stop.
I REJECT your ‘LGBTQIA+ Community’ and refuse to participate or be included as a member. Gay people did not fight for equality to end up as a forgotten letter in a cluster of ‘identities’. I do not recognize your Pride Month celebration, and will ignore any promotion of such by the company. ‘LGBTQIA+’ is an abusive relationship, AND I WANT OUT.
Challenging Disney in this way is the most difficult mission I’ve ever taken on in my life, and it makes me extremely upset to have to do it. I’ve been at Disney for almost five years, and it is the first job I can say that I truly love. I arrived at Disney at age 46, completely burnt out from decades of toiling in jobs that made me miserable. I started at a seasonal part-time entry level position at $11 and hour, but happy to be in the magical surrounding of characters, music, and magic. Disney was the first place I felt respected for my contributions, the first place where my talents were recognized and appreciated, and the first place I was championed and given the opportunity to advance. I now have my dream job, which is a sentence I never thought I would be able to say.
Lately it doesn’t seem so magical. The perma-smile I usually had on my face has melted away, and I don’t enjoy showing up to work anymore. I thought I had finally found a job where I belonged, after years of never fitting in at other workplaces.
Let me be clear that this feeling had nothing to do with my being gay—before Disney, I worked in the cosmetic & fragrance industry for decades, alongside PLENTY of gay men. But I didn’t hold the same passion and interest in the ‘beauty world’ that they did; I just happened to fall into the industry and got trapped there. I was also discriminated against because I didn’t fit into the gay makeup artist stereotype they expected—I was denied promotions because I refused to be anything other than my authentic self. But at Disney I found a place with people like me who appreciated the cartoons, characters, and stories that have brought so much joy to my life.
And now, it seems, Disney believes employees like me are ‘hateful’. It is outlandish that Disney—DISNEY! The company world renown for family and kid-friendly entertainment—is endorsing teaching kids dangerous, destructive, unfounded, illogical gender ideology, and actively working to prevent parents from protecting their children.
Back to the little boy in the Tinker Bell costume. Perhaps he will grow up to be an adult and decide he is transgender. Perhaps he will grow up to be an adult who realizes he is gay or bisexual. Perhaps he will simply grow up to be a heterosexual man and this is just a phase, and he is just a kid having fun. But we should first let him be a kid. Stop sexualizing children by telling them about sexual orientations before it is even on their radar, and stop confusing them with the concept of gender.
I have one final question for Disney—as well as any corporation, politician, celebrity, doctor, psychiatrist, teacher, or civilian who disagrees with me:
Are you willing to add a ‘D’ for Detransitioners to your LGBTQIA+ Community? Because, mark my words, if we continue down this road of medicalizing and mutilating kids before they have time to grow up and make these decisions as adults, this is the group that will have the largest increase over the upcoming years. Indeed, it is already growing as we speak.
Some final notes:
The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement rejecting a $5 million donation from Disney. Good! As I have stated, they do not speak for me as a homosexual man. But I know of some GLB organizations that are actually fighting for the rights of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people, and I’m sure they would be happy to receive that money. If Disney is really committed to protecting gay, lesbian, and bisexual people, please send those donations this way:
Lesbian & Gay Liberation Front
For anyone who wants to learn more about Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria:
Genspect is an international alliance of parent and professional groups whose aim is to advocate for parents of gender-questioning children and young people.
More links for your informed consideration:
Stories from parents:
What’s going on with gender ideology in schools:
A clinical psychologist on gender dysphoria in youth:
On the dangers of ‘affirmation’, puberty blockers, and cross-sex hormones:
On the damage gender ideology has caused to gay rights:
On the $$$ to be made from the Trans lobby:
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Gary, I’m sobbing reading your essay. I’m sad for what you are having to endure and the hate I know you will get for speaking out this way. I’m sad that a company I’ve long respected has taken such a horrifying turn. I’m sad that LGB rights and positioning in society have been co-opted and eclipsed by this movement. I am
sad that my beautiful teenage girl fell prey to this four years ago and that I am called hateful and transphobic for not affirming something I believe is dangerous and divisive. I am sad that she will likely cut her breasts off as soon as she is out of our house. I am sad that the political party I’ve spent my life supporting is now encouraging healthy young bodies to be pumped full of drugs to stop normal development and fast track them to permanent surgeries. I’m sad women’s sports will no longer be women’s sports.
I celebrated when gay marriage became legal. I never thought that we would end up here. Thank you so much for writing this. It’s everything I think and feel as a female, a parent, a GenXer, a human. I will be forever grateful for you speaking out.
Thank you for saying so very well everything I have been thinking and feeling for a while. It's time we regrouped with those of us who feel the same, and restore some sanity.