IT is one of the biggest entertainment and media firms in the world with a name we all instantly recognise from childhood on. Now Disney is to promote transgender and non-binary characters in its movies and is using more gender inclusive language in its theme parks too.


What’s happening?

A series of leaks have been posted online from a Disney Zoom meeting discussing its new “Reimagine Tomorrow” campaign, which pledges that “50 per cent of regular and recurring characters across Disney General Entertainment scripted content will come from under-represented groups” moving forward.


What did the leaks reveal?

Elsewhere in the internal meeting - in clips revealed by US journalist Christopher Rufo - Disney production coordinator, Allen March, said his team is committed to "exploring queer stories" and promoting "trans", "bisexual" and "gender nonconforming" characters, adding that kids are "getting all this information from the media of what is normal" and said "there's a lot of power to that”.


What else emerged?

A variety of new approaches, with one of the clips showing Disney’s diversity and inclusion manager Vivian Ware saying the firm has eliminated all mentions of "ladies," "gentlemen," "boys," and "girls" in its theme parks in order to create "that magical moment" for children who do not identify with traditional gender roles, replacing greetings with “Hello everyone” or “Hello friends”.


What else?

One of the clips being shared online the most is of President of Disney’s General Entertainment, Karey Burke, allegedly reiterating that 50 per cent of Disney’s characters going forward will be LGBTQIA+ or other minorities, saying: “I'm here as the mother of two queer children, actually, one transgender child and one pansexual child, and also as a leader.” She added that at the moment, “we have many, many, many LGBTQIA characters in our stories and yet we don’t have enough leads and narratives in which gay characters just get to be characters and not have to be about gay stories”.


It comes as…?

The Walt Disney Company is expanding its vast media empire into a number of anti-gay countries and regions of the world, with Disney+ being made available in countries such as Oman and Yemen, which outlaw homosexuality. 


But in the US?

The media giant is positioning itself as a supporter of gay and trans communities, saying in a statement earlier this week that they oppose a new Republican-backed Parental rights in Education law signed in Florida on Monday. The new law bans teachers from giving classroom instruction on "sexual orientation" or "gender identity" in kindergarten through third grade, which is around age 5 to 9. The statement from Disney said the law "should never have passed and should never have been signed into law...We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LCBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country".