Charlee Corra, 30, is a high school biology and environmental science teacher. They’re also a member of the Disney family, and they’ve decided to come out publicly as transgender in the wake of Disney Co.’s struggle to reposition itself after mishandling its response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law.
The announcement came in a statement from Corra’s father, Roy P. Disney, who is the grandson and namesake of the company’s co-founder, Roy O. Disney, and the great-nephew of Walt Disney. Along with the announcement, Roy Disney and with his wife Sheri said they will match up to $500,000 in donations to the Human Rights Campaign, the New York Post reports.
“Equality matters deeply to us,” Disney wrote, “especially because our child, Charlee, is transgender and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Abigail Disney, Roy’s sister, fellow heir, and a longtime, outspoken critic of the family empire, jumped in with praise.
“Today I am busting with pride at what my brother and his wife have done,” she tweeted. “So proud so proud so proud!!!”
Today I am busting with pride at what my brother and his wife have done. So proud so proud so proud!!! https://t.co/0VIiGXuLNp
— Abigail Disney (@abigaildisney) April 8, 2022
Disney Co. CEO Bob Chapek didn’t immediately or publicly condemn Florida Governor Bob DeSantis’s “Don’t Say Gay,” bill, which has now been signed into law. The mixed signals caused an employee uproar, including a walkout, and a PR mess. When Disney then offered to donate $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign, the organization refused to take the money until the company made a more solid commitment to LGBTQ rights.
Corra revealed they were new to political action.
“I feel like I don’t do very much to help,” Corra told the Los Angeles Times in a Zoom call alongside their mother Sheri on Thursday. “I don’t call senators or take action. I felt like I could be doing more.”
Coming out as transgender—they first came out as gay—hasn’t been the easiest path for Corra. “I had very few openly gay role models,” they told the Times. “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.”
Life is already difficult for LGBTQ kids, Corra 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?”
The Florida law prohibits teachers from discussing sexual identity in the classroom with students from kindergarten through third grade.
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