Executives and producers at the Walt Disney Company said during a recent internal meeting that there will be a renewed effort to make leading characters in films and shows gay or transgender, with one talking about how she has been working to enact a “not-at-all-secret gay agenda” in several programs.
Karey Burke, president of Disney General Entertainment Content, said during the meeting that she is the mother of two “queer children,” including one who identifies as a different gender than the one they were born.
Burke said Disney has already been home to “incredible, groundbreaking LGBTQIA stories over the years” but during a recent open company forum, a different executive lamented that there have only been “a handful of queer leads.”
LGBTQIA stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual.
The introduction of a bill in Florida of a law that bans discussing “sexual orientation or gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade—Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the legislation on March 28—and the resulting pushback from some Disney workers, served as a wake-up call, Burke said.
“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. That’s been very eye-opening for me and I can tell you it’s something that I feel perhaps had this moment not happened, I as a leader, and me [and] my colleagues, would not have focused on,” she told colleagues and other Disney employees. “Going forward, I certainly will be more so, I know that we will be, and I hope this is a moment where …. we just don’t allow each other to go backwards.”
The video and several other clips from the meeting were obtained and posted online by Christopher Rufo, a filmmaker and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.