Want a comfy sock and not sure what type of rainbow design you might want to sport on your wedding day? Or maybe you want to wear a pair and give your wedding attendants a pair, too. Bombas has a great pride calf sock 4-pack you can snag to give you a few options.
Bombas socks are super comfortable and hold up really well. The calf sock stays nicely in place when pulled up to show the design and with their honeycomb midfoot support, they provide comfort in all the right places. I’m definitely a Bombas fan after I purchased several of the pride socks this year.
And remember, as always with Bombas purchases, one purchased equals one donated to those experiencing homelessness.
A quiet suburban family home decorated with Pride flags and signs was targeted by homophobic vandals who plastered the walls with hateful graffiti.
The house in Barrington, Illinois, had rainbow-decorated trees lining the driveway and an array of positive signs in the backyard, including one that read: “Love and peace over hate.”
Sadly it seems a homophobic thug took that as a challenge, as one morning they were replaced with vile, homophobic slurs.
Barrington local Kiki Angelos spotted the scene as she was out on her morning run. “The first thing I did was notice was the house and its signage, because it had a lot of positive messages in the front yard – which of course, you know, resonates with me,” she told CBS Chicago.
She stopped in disbelief when she saw the anti-LGBT+ graffiti scrawled on the garage, exterior brick walls and side doors of the home.
“It was a stab to the heart,” she said. “[I was] horrified, because it hit me personally. I have two children who identify as queer; a transgender son.”
Angelos raised awareness of the crime on social media as it is such an unusual case in the neighbourhood, and encouraged locals to vote in the upcoming election.
“I will not be silent, and no one should be scared to publicly express who they are in a loving way,” she said. “This community is going to rally around them and support them.”
Police are treating the vandalism as a potential hate crime, and believe it happened sometime overnight on October 17.
They are currently looking through footage on private security cameras to find the culprit, and a $2,500 reward has been offered for anyone who provides information leading to an arrest.
The family whose house was defaced declined to speak to local news, asking for privacy during this time.
A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!
Hello friends! A little late on this, but I thought you all might appreciate it. One of my favorite podcasts, Ologies, put out a two part neuroendocrinology episode for pride month. The guest is a nonbinary scientist, and they go into a lot about gender nonconformity, sexuality, and brain development. It’s a really cool episode if you have the chance to listen!
Four days after my mom’s funeral and eleven after her death, I went to my very first pride parade. I spent the night with one of my best friends (who is also queer) to have a mini getaway from all the turmoil. The day of the parade, we spent the morning and early afternoon getting ready and choosing our outfits, getting ready with the rest of our queer friends over FaceTime. My friend’s mom dropped us off a couple blocks away from the actual parade. We piled out of the car and poured into the streets with the rest of the crowd, instantly swept into the pulsating party. Queer men were wearing crop tops and shorts while holding hands with their partners. Queer women strolled across the street, limbs interwoven and eyes gazing upon their partners lovingly. Large groups of friends chatted excitedly. My ears were happily set abuzz as I overheard non-binary and gender non-conforming people correcting or introducing others to their pronouns, and receiving kind responses. As soon as I set foot in the parade, multiple rainbow-colored beads were adorned across my neck. A few moments later, I was pulled into a warm embrace of free hugs from volunteers, the first of many which were set up all along the festivities.
I walked around downtown staring in awe at a gazillion rainbow flags and the most beautiful and most queer faces I’d ever laid eyes on. A mix of many emotions flushed through my mind — relaxed, energized, comfortable, overwhelmed, safe, fun, celebratory, defiant, and most of all affirmed. I was in the midst of thousands of people and I wasn’t thinking about whether they were going to accept me for who I was. It was like being around a group of friends that I haven’t gotten to know yet. My friend and I made our way to the main stage as the vocal stylings of various pop stars their way into my eardrums. The two of us ended up standing next to a group of butch and stud lesbians that danced with my friends and I, one of which I cheered on as she got twerked on by my friend. We backed away from the main stage, and a group of drag queens flashed me a reassuring smile and head nod. As the sun dimmed and the moon began to show its face, we saw old classmates and friends who congratulated me on this milestone. We closed out the night, by grabbing some turkey legs from one of the various food trucks available. As we walked back and waited for my mom’s friend, my eyes found their way to a group of friends dressed up in BDSM attire. My eyes made their way up to the overhanging street sign which read, “Stonewall.” I was home.
My mom passed away in August of 2019. Two months after my high school graduation; one month before my nineteenth birthday; two weeks before I began my first semester of college, four days before that pride parade. She had stage two breast cancer, but was cancer-free thanks to a double mastectomy. Her doctors had suggested preventative chemo as a precautionary measure. My mom wasn’t feeling very well one morning and called in sick to work. A couple of hours later on her way back to bed she laid down on the floor. ‘’I don’t know what’s going on with me today, sweetie.’’ She asked me to let her lay down on her floor for a few minutes before helping her back into bed. I thought the request was odd, but obeyed. I went to go help her up five minutes later and noticed she was shaking uncontrollably, mouth open, unable to speak, and her eyes bleeding and fixated on me. I called 911 and started to do compressions. 45 minutes later, when the paramedics came down the steps of my house to tell me that despite their best efforts, my mom had passed away, I felt as though that my entire world was crashing down at lightning speed. I had no parents left. My dad had passed away ten years earlier. 3827 days. Or ten years, five months, 25 days apart. But who’s counting.
I was no longer anyone’s baby girl. No one’s pumpkin. As my mom drew her last breath, my safety net exited through her lungs, and my sense of security vanished with the very last rise and fall of her chest. My mother took our language. Our inside jokes. Our songs. Stories and anecdotes about my adolescent and her own that became running gags for years to come. We built a language together. A special rhythm with its own ebbs and flows. A rhythm that showed me a reflection of a young woman who was capable and strong. I feel hollow in her absence. Without the person that brought me into this world, I do not know if I have a place in it. No one will ever love me unconditionally and only ask for my own happiness in return. I will never put that pure sparkle in anyone’s eye again.
When you lose a parent in your teens, you immediately imagine all the milestones you’ll hit without them: graduation, a first job, first apartment or house, a wedding. Every day since the day my parents died, I am one day further away from them. It enrages me that I will have to recycle my childhood and teenage years like a broken record for the rest of my life in order to have my parents present in my life. Most people are saddened by the ending of their adolescence because adulthood brings responsibility. I am sad because that is where my parents are frozen for eternity. On the bright side, I’m also one day closer to my most authentic and most queer self. I could finally consider getting the bisexual bob™. But even that’s a double double edged sword. I started to realize that at some point, as years of my life went on… my parents might not even recognize me anymore, because of who I’d become.
I am queer. I identify as both bisexual and pansexual. This is something that I’ve always known about myself since the age of five, thanks to a friend from kindergarten named Jasmine who I obsessively slept next to during nap time and played with during recess — what I realize now was a crush — to the beautiful dentist assistants from my dentist office that made my heart palpate in my chest. Plus, of course, my very first and most beloved celebrity crush… Tessa Thompson, whom I first fell in love with while watching her play a badass 1930’s masculine-of-center lesbian on an episode of Cold Case.
In the years to follow, there would a cycle of taking “Am I gay or bisexual” quizzes, reading Autostraddle, and watching The L Word and Pariah on illegal sites before quickly deleting my search history.
I would discuss my opinion on topics concerning the LGBT community with my mom but always making sure to distinguish myself as an ally. She would often say that I was “changing her mind about gay people” and seemed to actually be unlearning her homophobia and transphobia.
My mom and I were inseparable from the moment I was born. That only intensified after my dad’s death. We did almost everything together, FaceTiming each other throughout the day when we were separated during work and school, having heartfelt discussions about our respective days and knowing that neither of us would be judgmental. We shared clothes, cooked together, had dance parties to my curated playlist as we drove during road trips or to the grocery store. She had this infectious playfulness, style, and spunk that drew everyone to her. I always knew that my mom and our home was a consistent safety net where I could let my burdens go and be myself.
But I will never know what her stance would’ve been had it been her own daughter. So often we hear stories about struggling to be queer because immediate family is unaccepting, especially in communities of color. So much about blackness across the diaspora, but especially for us as African-Americans, is about community. Being in close contact or proximity with family members other just your nuclear family, having aunties and uncles that aren’t blood relation, coming together and screaming at the top of our lungs at graduations. The flip side of that close-knit community is that when you’re queer, you’re often collectively discarded. The pain is just as difficult when you’ll never truly know what the outcome would be had they known.
I often have dreams about reuniting with my parents and bringing them up to speed with what has gone on in my life. My mom welcomes me with open arms and holds me close with one of her warm and maternal hugs. She coos, ‘’There’s my baby girl.’’ My dad, in his true fashion, is more laid back but just as excited to see me, quietly smiling and nodding before pulling me in for a hug of his own. I tell them about my writing, my friends, and therapy. They smile proudly and are engrossed in everything I have to say. Then I bring up or introduce them to a non-cishet male partner and their expressions visibly morph into disappointment. In other dreams, they walk right past me and don’t recognize me at all. I wake up each time discouraged and disoriented. On top of the expected layer of grief that washes over me, there’s an extra layer that is inevitable as a queer person: disguising your true self or burying any reminiscence of self for acceptance, and having the experiences of self-discovery customary to cishet teenagers as a young adult.
Those feelings are ever-present. At that pride parade, I felt relaxed and affirmed walking the streets with my queer friends, as I wore my blue, purple, and pink beads, watched a beautiful group of butches and drag queens in awe as they smiled at me, a baby gay, knowing. It hit me, as I watched a vogue competition on the main stage of the parade. How would my parents feel right now if they knew I was here? Would they come to accept it in time? My exuberance faded. In that moment I felt the happiest I’d honestly ever been, and neither of them would ever experience this with me. They not only lost the opportunity to see me into adulthood, but to see me in my totality.
This knot in my stomach came again as I finally attended a meeting for my college’s pride alliance club. I was welcomed in and accepted instantly; everyone shared their pronouns openly. There was no judgement. I hung out with them after the club meeting ended. We exchanged social handles and phone numbers. As I ordered an Uber home, I felt salty tears running down my cheeks. I was standing in the same part of campus that I walked with my mom a couple of months earlier as she helped me sign up for classes. Where she had shared her excitement about watching me embark on this next chapter. Little did she know what this next chapter would include.
Two hundred and four days after my mom’s death, I met with the program associate of my local pride organization. As we sat in a cafe, I opened up to her about realizing I was not straight at five, consuming queer media in secret, and now finely trying to venture out to create chosen family and queer community after my parents (particularly my mothers) passing. I discussed my fears about moving through the world as an out black queer person means. We locked eyes. She listened to me intently; I asked her about her journey. She explained that like me, she at one point feared being out, but also like me, began to explore in her freshman year of college. She understood the struggles I was facing as a black queer femme, ressurred me that I would find my tribe, and that she’d be there along the way.
A couple of days later, I spoke about the meeting with my wellness coach, another black queer femme. She echoed the same excitement, told me how proud she was for taking the leap to find queer activites. As looked into her eyes and thought about all the black queer femmes I’d connected with in the wake of this tragedy, I felt genuine love and support, acknowledgement and acceptance for all that I am. That moment brought one of my favorite Alice Walker quotes to mind: ‘’I think mothers and daughters are meant to give birth to each other, over and over; that is why our challenges to each other are so fierce; that is why, when love and trust have not been too badly blemished or destroyed, the teaching and learning one from the other is so indelible and bittersweet. We daughters must risk losing the only love we instinctively feel we can’t live without in order to be who we are, and I am convinced this sends a message to our mothers to break their own chains, though they may be anchored in prehistory and attached to their own great grandmothers’ hearts.’’
I have slowly started to build a new home. I will forever long for and crave the one I lost, but I must find the strength within myself to be myself, without longing for a definitive answer from the person I most want to make proud, because she has left this realm. I have to find some kind of comfort in this life without either of them, that will involve building a queer future and striving for a better world. A queer world for myself and my fellow black and brown queer people. Fighting for health care, anti-policing, housing, mutual aid, labor with dignity, and resisting state sanctioned violence. Speaking out against the systems that harm and kill queer Black people, people of color, and the most vulnerable in our community. While I hope to live a life alongside a chosen family, have a partner (that may not be a cishet man), engrave tattoos and piercings on my body that they may have not understood, and make art that may have confused them. It will be a world that won’t involve my parents. At some point, I will be okay with that.
The Times reports “The 2016 platform that is being renewed was the result of messy debates in Cleveland, the host city of the Republican convention four years ago, during which a group of renegade delegates tried but failed to strip out language opposing gay marriage and condoning conversion therapy for L.G.B.T.Q. youths.”
“The platform made a steadfast case against same-sex marriage and called for a constitutional amendment overturning the 2015 Supreme Court decision that struck down laws defining marriage between one man and one woman,” the Times also notes. “And it blames ‘the current President’ for seeking to expand workplace protections to include L.G.B.T.Q. people.”
Joe Biden issued a statement on June 1 recognizing Pride Month, saying “much work remains” to advance LGBTQ people despite the progress made after the first Pride 50 years ago in memorial of the Stonewall riots.
“Despite our progress, much work remains,” Biden wrote. “As our nation grapples with the uncomfortable truths of systemic racism, a devastating pandemic that’s claimed more than 100,000 lives in the United States and left more than 40 million people filing for unemployment, and a president that’s waged an all-out assault on the rights of our most vulnerable, including LGBTQ+ people, we are reminded of why those first brave souls took to the streets to march 50 years ago.
“Pride has come to be recognized as a global movement of love, self-expression, and community — resilient in the face of oppression and fear and hopeful for a better future,” Biden wrote. “This month, let us recommit to those principles of Pride and remain steadfast in the fight for justice and equality.”
Biden also invoked the memories of LGBTQ activists who have died in recent weeks: Larry Kramer, a gay rights pioneer and AIDS activist who founded ACT Up; Aimee Stephens, a transgender plaintiff in lawsuit before the Supreme Court that will decide whether federal civil rights law applies to LGBTQ people; and Lorena Borjas, a transgender immigrant activist.
Biden also cites the anti-LGBTQ policies of the Trump administration, such as the transgender military ban, as well as condemning Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for having “given safe harbor to white supremacists and other forms of hate.”
In contrast, Biden expresses commitment to LGBTQ legislation known as the Equality Act pending before Congress and says he’ll take “swift action to reverse” the Trump administration’s anti-LGBTQ policies.
Last week, the White House issued five proclamations from Trump designating June as Great Outdoors Month, African-American Music Appreciation Month, National Homeownership Month, National Ocean Month and National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, but nothing on Pride Month.
Three months into 2020, more than 220 Pride celebrations scheduled worldwide have been forced to cancel or postpone due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, with rights coming under threat in various places and exacerbated by the virus outbreak, organizers are finding innovative ways of reaching out to their communities to provide alternative spaces online to celebrate.
InterPride and the European Pride Organisers Association announced they’re working with international LGBTQ organizations to present Global Pride 2020, a live-streamed festival scheduled for Saturday, June 27. This means the event will be accessible regardless of disability, location, or socioeconomic status. Anyone with an internet connection will be able to participate. For many Pride events around the world, this level of accessibility will be a first.
“LGBT people around the world are insanely resilient, but they face isolation every day in their life,” says J. Andrew Baker, co-President of Interpride, the international association of Pride organizers. “One of the challenges we find today is that LGBT people are even more isolated.” To overcome that isolation, the world’s biggest international Pride networks, Interpride and the European Pride Organisers Association, are organizing a “Global Pride” to be celebrated online on June 27. Global Pride organizers are planning a 24-hour live streamed event, including remote contributions from international Prides, speeches from human rights activists, workshops with activists and high-profile performers yet to be confirmed.
For many, Pride is much more than a one-off party or day-long festival. It’s an opportunity for people who may not be “out” publicly to feel comfortable, surrounded by others in their community. The Pride movement emerged after the Stonewall Riots in 1969, and some Prides today have carried on that tradition of protest, using events as an opportunity to connect with other marginalized communities. “It’s become the cornerstone of LGBTQ communities,” says Jed Dowling, the festival director of Dublin LGBTQ Pride. “It’s our Patrick’s Day, it’s our 4th of July, it’s a symbol of everything that was achieved through the year.” This year, activists around the world were planning major celebrations, from Dublin, where same-sex marriage was legalized in 2015, to Zurich, where a recent vote backed proposals to make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity illegal.
In 2019, for the first time, Disneyland® Paris made Magical Pride an official signature event on their calendar.
Magical Pride is a big step for the global company that has previously been hesitant to put its brand on anything LGBTQ+ related. The evening offered something for everyone, making it a suitable event for families, couples, friends or even solo travelers.
Here’s everything you need to know about the event; where it came from, What to do and Whether it was worth it or just another Disney business venture.
In this ultimate guide to Magical Pride I’ll share:
Magical Pride Tickets
Getting to Magical Pride
What to do at Magical Pride
Empowering Event or Pink Pound Collection?
Since 1991, Disneyland parks have seen annual unofficially organized ‘gay days’, where the LGBTQ+ community meets up in the Disney parks in Anaheim, Orland, Tokyo, and Hong Kong together on an agreed date. And since 2014, an organization from the UK has arranged a similar event known as ‘Magical Pride’ at Disneyland Paris.
Until now, Disney has allowed these events to happen, but never officially supported or facilitated them.
However, this year, the first-ever Magical Pride event officially backed by The Walt Disney Company took place on June 1st in Walt Disney Studios Park, Paris.
It was a big step for the global enterprise, who have previously been hesitant to take bold stances when it comes to LGBTQ+ events or representation.
Magical Pride saw the Walt Disney Studios Park open exclusively to pride goers from 8 pm – 2 am and the event was attended by LGBTQ+ Disney fans and allies from across the globe.
And based on the success and popularity, I can only hope it expands to other Disney parks in the near future!
Magical Pride Tickets
Greatdays.co.uk, the original organizers of the Magical Pride, offered a number of packages you could choose from.
All options included:
At least two nights of accommodation (option for 3).
A two-day park hopper passes.
A wristband for access to the pride celebrations at night.
You can choose from any of the Disney hotels, depending on your budget and 2019 packages started at £349 per person based on two people sharing (or £259 based on 4 people sharing).
While this is likely one of the most expensive pride events of the year, when compared to a regular weekend at Disneyland Paris, it’s pretty reasonable. The price is the same as attending on a non-pride weekend, so you essentially get the wristband and pride access FREE.
It is possible to just buy a ticket for Magical Pride if you’re staying in Paris and want to attend for the evening.
Getting To Magical Pride
Getting from Charles de Gaulle airport to Disneyland is simple in theory. In reality, depending on where you land in the airport and at what time, it can take around one hour.
Your options are as follows:
A 9-minute TGV train from Terminal 2 to the park entrance (€17).
If you’re staying in a Disney hotel (highly recommend for the convenience) then Disney run Magic Shuttle buses to and from the airport (€23).
Warning: if you land later than 9 pm at night, the TGV train and Magic Shuttle will have finished and your only option is a taxi for around €60.
What To Do At Magical Pride
Before we begin:There are two Disney Parks in Paris.
Disneyland (the main one with the castle)
Walt Disney Studios Park (the location for Magical Pride).
Dance at the Main Stage
The Main Stage in the Walt Disney Studios Park was the center of attention for the Magical Pride celebrations. Initially used by Natacha Rafalski, the President of Disneyland Paris, for an opening speech, it later transformed into a concert venue for performances by Boy George, Years and Years and the French DJ, Corine.
Meet the characters
Magical Pride had some Disney favorites who ready to meet and celebrate with guests. Dotted around Walt Disney Studios Park were a number of characters including Buzz, Woody, Lilo & Stitch. And of course, the infamous Minnie and Mickey.
Top tip: If this is what you’re coming for, get the VIP pass and skip the long lines to really make the most of your evening.
Enjoy some Pride-themed snacks
Disneyland did what Disneyland does best and offered themed snacks for the occasion. In addition to the regular fast food outlets and restaurants on offer, pop up stalls within the park were selling magical pride-themed doughnuts and cakes.
Ride some rollercoasters
It wouldn’t be Disneyland without the attractions. From 8 PM to 1:30 AM Disney operated the majority of the rides in the Walt Disney Studios Park. This included the massive indoor rollercoaster, Aerosmith, the iconic Hollywood Tower Of Terror, the surprisingly speedy Splash’s Coaster and some smaller favorites like the Magic Carpet and the Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop. And the best bit of all – No wait times! (Ok, maybe some, but like… 15 minutes max!)
Watch The Parade
Disney’s first-ever Magical Pride kicked off in true Disney fashion, with an all-singing, all-dancing pride parade. The March of Diversity Parade is a pretty terrible name for what was actually a super fun pride march. Largely made up of Disney cast members in colorful T-shirts and carrying marvelous rainbow Mickey balloons, it also included some lovable Disney characters and the headline acts of the night. The entire parade was done to a repetitive, but catchy number that I’m still singing weeks after the event.
Hop Over to Disney Illuminations
As hard as it may be to pull yourself away from the pride activities, I highly recommend leaving the Walt Disney Studios Park around 10:30 pm. At 11 pm each night the Disneyland Park puts on a spectacular show called Illuminations. Take advantage of your Park-Hopper tickets and head over for the 20-minute display of fireworks, lights, and music that will leave you feeling like you’re truly living in a Fairytale.
Have a Drink!
Unlike the Disneyland Park, Walt Disney Studios Park is licensed to sell alcohol and there was a colorful pop-up bar right by the Main Stage. Personally, I didn’t fancy doing loop the loop’s and corkscrews on a rollercoaster under the influence, but if you try it let me know how that goes.
Lip Sync your heart out
Now, I didn’t attend this one in person, but from what I’ve seen online, the Disney Magic Lip-Sync-Along and karaoke theatre experience is something I’ll be checking out next year. It was held in the Animagique Theatre opposite the main stage, and contestants could sign up between 8-8:30 pm on the night. The event ran in the form of a knockout competition with 3 finalists taking to the stage shortly before midnight.
Get a Pride makeover
Wella had a popup stall on the night and was offering hair, nail & makeup makeovers as well as giving out fun colorful bandanas. The line was fairly long, so I didn’t check it out for myself, but it was an awesome addition for anyone looking to jazz up their pride look.
Indulge in the gift shop
Did you even go to Disneyland if you didn’t get sucked into the gift shop? Naturally, Disney was prepared with dedicated Magical Pride merchandise in both Downtown Disney and the Studios Park. Over the weekend, the rainbow Minnie ears become something of a rare gem as stocks ran low. It’s sadly not clear how much (if any) profits went to LGBTQ+ causes from the Magical Pride merchandise sales. However, the main Disney Store Rainbow Mickey collection does incorporate a donation to various European & American charities.
Empowering Event or Pink Pound Collection?
Every year, when June rolls around we see brands hop on the LGBTQ+ inclusion bandwagon for a month, slap a rainbow sticker on an existing product, collect in the pink pounds (or Dorothy Dollars) and call it a day.
It is exhausting to see companies make a profit on LGBTQ+ targeted products, without doing the leg work for equality or inclusion all year round. This isn’t a new concept to discuss. However, it would be hard for me to talk about Magical Pride and promote all that it offers, without also addressing a critical question to be asked of any corporate involvement pride events:
Is Disney doing enough for the LGBTQ+ community to offset the undoubted profits they made by hosting a pride event?
On this, I have no correct answer. But I do have a few thoughts.
Disney’s Lack of Representation
I was skeptical, when I first heard about Magical Pride, given Disney’s lack of positive (or any) LGBTQ+ representation in their films and TV shows. In the past year, they have made some progress, with the Disney Channel show Andi Mack airing their first ever coming out scene. The conversation occurs between the lead character Andi and his best friend and was handled with taste and in a pleasantly understated way.
But when it comes to film, Disney is failing miserably. They thrive on the rumors of Elsa being a lesbian, without ever making a statement of support or denial. And, we are yet to see if they’ll do anything about it or give her a girlfriend in the upcoming Frozen 2 movie.
The existing LGBTQ+ characters Disney does have in their films are questionable too. After months of hype that Beauty & The Beast would feature a gay character in 2017, fans and the LGBTQ+ community were disappointed when it came in the form of sidekick LeFou. Even then, the film only featured subliminal messages and less than a second of handholding in the closing credits. Beyond that, you really have to stretch to find any queer representation. With the best, you can find is a glimpse of Oaken’s partner in the Sauna during Frozen, or a ‘potentially’ lesbian couple pushing a pram in Finding Dory.
Disneyland’s Inclusive Culture
Whilst they are largely failing the community in their films, Disney has always fostered an inclusive culture in its theme parks. Whether it be by making the parks and attractions accessible to all ages and abilities, or creating a judgment-free zone for children and adults alike to be their most authentic selves. Disneyland is where you can go to escape the real world and live in an inclusive, judgment-free fantasyland, even if just for a day.
Pride as a Safe Space
As I mentioned at the top of the blog, unofficial, ‘Gay Days’ have been occurring in Disneyland Parks since 1991. This is a definite testament to the safe spaces the Disneyland empire has created. In our ever-increasingly scary world, where hate crimes of homophobia, transphobia, and racism are on the rise, so too is the importance of protecting, and nurturing safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community.
Sure, in an ideal world everywhere would be accepting, and we wouldn’t need to buy a ticket to a Pride event to access that. But sadly, that’s not the world we currently live in.
At the end of our weekend in Disneyland Paris, my girlfriend asked me what my highlight had been. I thought about the rollercoasters, meeting Mickey Mouse, the incredible weather and the yummy food we’d eaten. But none of it stopped being in a safe space for a whole two days, where we could be unapologetically out and proudly ourselves.
I ran about in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle with a pride flag, I kissed my girlfriend on ‘It’s A Small World’ and we leaned on each other’s shoulders while waiting in the long lines. We did all this without ever thinking twice about the possible dangers or negative consequences. I cannot say the same about everywhere we have visited.
My highlight of Magical Pride was the ability to be visibly queer without fear of stares, hurtful words or worse. And to Disneyland, for that, I am thankful.
Disney as an Employer
It’s no good to promote LGBTQ+ events and inclusion to customers until you’ve sorted yourself in-house. And Disney has done just that.
According to their website the company has contributed “to diverse communities through service and donations to organizations including Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, Trevor Project, GLSEN, GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.”
In the UK and Ireland, the Disney Pride Staff Network has raised over £18,000 for LGBTQ+ charities in the past few years and was nominated for best Network in British LGBT Awards (2016).
Disneyland Paris has had an Inclusion and Diversity manager since 2007 and the inclusive culture shone through when the hundreds of cast members marched, all singing, all dancing in the colorful opening parade of their first-ever Magical Pride.
Conclusion … for now
It’s undeniable that Disney has miles to go when it comes to TV and film representation. I dream of a world where kids grow up to idolize a non-binary superhero or a trans-Disney princess. When the day comes (and I must believe it will), I will probably cry my Disney-geek heart out.
But when it comes to fostering the critical spaces that we need as a community, where we can feel not only safe but celebrated from who we are, you really can’t blame or judge Disney for being the ones to provide that.
Sure, I hope that there’s a future where these spaces aren’t needed. Pride events should always exist, but hopefully as a celebration and commemoration of the fights and sacrifices of those who got us to that point. But right now, in 2019, when I reflect on the two days of absolute bliss that I had, being out, proud and without a drop of fear that anything would happen to me because of it, Disney can have my money.