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An heir to Disney’s fortune who recently came out as transgender has expressed regret at not doing more in the wake of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.
Pledging $500,000 to an LGBT+ advocacy group in the US, Roy P Disney, great-nephew of Walt Disney and the co-founder of Walt Disney Co, confirmed: “Our child, Charlee, is transgender and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community," marking the first time the family have spoken out about the 30-year-old's gender identity.
“I had very few openly gay role models, and I certainly didn’t have any trans or nonbinary role models. I didn’t see myself reflected in anyone, and that made me feel like there was something wrong with me," Charlee, who uses they/them pronouns, explained.
Charlee, who reportedly came out to their parents four years ago, also expressed their shock at Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.
Noting that LGBT+ children already face higher rates of depression and bullying, Charlee said: “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?"
Going on to express how they don't feel they've done enough against the bill, they added: “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."
Florida’s heavily criticised legislation, dubbed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, was signed into law last month.
It prevents the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity from pre-school to third grade.
The bill states: "Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards."
In an appeal to advocacy group Human Rights Campaign - the largest LGBT+ organisation in the US - Roy explained equality ‘matters deeply’ to his family, with his appeal in the Los Angeles Times having been signed by his wife Sheri and their two children.
It comes after Bob Chapek, Disney’s chief executive, initially refused to condemn the bill, prompting a staff revolt.
The rebellion forced him to apologise and announce a donation of $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign.
Speaking about Bob’s decision, Sheri expressed her disappointment and described her family’s half-a-million donation as evidence of their commitment to LGBT+ rights.
“I have a trans kid, and I love my kid no matter what,” she told the LA Times.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected]