Oh, snap! Disney has decided to stop providing funding to the Boy Scouts of America due to the organization's anti-gay policy. It's easy to look at this as a shocking move on the part of an all-American icon, but (who knew?!) Disney has actually been a vocal proponent of gay rights for a really long time. Consider the following:
1. The president of Disney World is gay
Last February, Disney World welcomed its first openly gay president, George Kalogridis, who had previously served in the same role at Disneyland. As highlighted on the Disney blog, Kalogridis spoke out about gay bullying in the "It Gets Better" campaign before assuming his current position.
2. Gay Days has been running proud for nearly 25 years
Disney World has been holding "Gay Days" for about 24 years, an extraordinary number when you consider how different attitudes were back in 1991. This gathering of LGBT individuals is now considered one of the largest gay pride events in the world, and Anaheim's Disneyland has an offshoot, too. While not officially sanctioned by Disney, the company has always welcomed the event, despite the requisite doomsday backlash from a vocal base of conservatives.
3. Lesbian couple recently treated as no big deal on Disney Channel
Earlier this year, the Disney Channel show Good Luck Charlie featured, for the first time, a lesbian couple. Best of all, the two-mom moment was treated as something totally normal. Again, Disney did this despite it ticking off many freaked-out viewers.
4. Since 1995, the company has provided equal benefits to gay employees
For going on two decades, Disney has provided health benefits to gay partners of its employees. As with Gay Days, this is particularly impressive when you consider how different the public felt about homosexuality 20 years ago, and that (surprise!) the company has "caught hell" for the decision, with some even threatening to boycott the company when it initially announced the decision.
Disney's strong record doesn't end there. The company also came out in opposition to DOMA and invites same-sex couples to its fairy-tale weddings. And now, of course, there's this high-profile Boy Scouts burn. The company obviously hasn't been perfect on the issue, but it's worth applauding what it has done for the LGBT community. Remember: This is a brand that's all about Main Street USA squeaky-clean family values. If it can embrace gay rights, surely mainstream America can, too. Right?
Now, about that gay princess thing...
Image of 2007 Disney World Gay Days event: Wikimedia Commons