US

Disney heir comes out as trans and gives stinging rebuke of Florida’s hateful ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law

Lily Wakefield April 11, 2022
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Charlee Corra Disney speaks onstage at the 2022 Human Rights Campaign annual gala

Charlee Corra Disney speaks onstage at the 2022 Human Rights Campaign annual gala. (Getty/ Randy Shropshire)

An heir to the Disney fortune, Charlee Corra Disney, has publicly come out as trans and slammed Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law.

As ‘Don’t Say Gay’ – which bans the discussion of LGBT+ topics in schools – passed through the Florida legislature, the Walt Disney Company faced huge backlash for its lacklustre response to the hateful bill and its donations to the politicians pushing it.

LGBT+ rights charity Human Rights Campaign (HRC) refused a $5 million donation from Disney, demanding “meaningful action”. Following mass walkouts by Disney staff and international criticism, the company has since “committed” to repealing the legislation after it was signed into law by governor Ron DeSantis last month.

But at the HRC annual gala in Los Angeles in March, an unfamiliar face joined the discussion.

Charlee is the child of Roy P Disney, the great-nephew of Walt Disney, and his wife Sheri. They took to the stage to announce that their family would be matching up to $500,000 in donations to the HRC.

Charlee Corra Disney at the 2022 Human Rights Campaign annual gala
Charlee Corra Disney at the 2022 Human Rights Campaign annual gala.(FilmMagic/ Tommaso Boddi)

Roy told the Washington Times in a statement: “My wife, Sheri, and I have been members of HRC for over 20 years.

“Equality matters deeply to us, especially because our child, Charlee, is transgender and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community.

“We were heartbroken when Ron DeSantis signed the ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ law in Florida. The fight isn’t over, and we are determined to do everything we can to stop this from happening in other places.”

Speaking to the LA Times, Charlee, a 30-year-old high school biology and environmental science teacher who uses they/them pronouns, said they had come out to family and friends four years ago, but decided to publicly come out in the face of anti-LGBT+ legislation in the US.

They said: “I feel like I don’t do very much to help. I don’t call senators or take action. I felt like I could be doing more.”

Charlee reflected on their own upbringing, which they felt highlighted the devastating impact that ‘Don’t Say Gay’ will have.

“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 there was something wrong with me.”

They referenced the high rates of mental illness and suicide among LGBT+ youth, and added: “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?”

More: Disney, don't say gay, Florida

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