Disney World Hosting Gay Rights Summit Following Clash With DeSantis

(Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for Disney Dreamers Academy)

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Disney World will host an LGBTQ+ conference on the heels of Disney’s high-profile conflict with Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over LGBT issues in the state.

Out & Equal, the organization behind the LGBT conference, describes itself as, “the premier global nonprofit organization working exclusively on LGBTQ+ workplace equality.” Their stated goal is to “transform” the work environment, “inspire” new leaders, and facilitate “systemic change.” Out & Equal claims that roughly 5,000 people attend the event annually and that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and human resources professionals will be present.

“Over more than 20 years, Summit has grown to become the preferred place to network and share strategies that create inclusive workplaces, where everyone belongs and where LGBTQ+ employees can be out and thrive,” Out & Equal explains on its website.

Disney recently emerged from a public clash with DeSantis over Florida’s parental rights legislation — dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics — which restricted the teaching of sexuality and gender ideology in kindergarten through third grade and required that discussions of those topics in later grades be “age-appropriate.” Disney publicly condemned the legislation in response to internal pressure from activists and employees.

“Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that,” the company said in a March 2022 statement.

Florida’s legislature responded by passing a bill to abolish Disney World’s special tax district, though later legislation kept the district in place while replacing its Disney-appointed governing board with a board appointed by Florida’s governor.