Charlee Corra, a member of the Disney family, recently came out publicly as transgender.
“I had very few openly gay role models,” Corra, 30, told the Los Angeles 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.”
They came out privately four years ago and uses "he" and "they" pronouns.
Corra said that their family would match up to $250,000 in donations to the Human Rights Campaign as a way to publicly come out, according to the L.A. Times.
Corra told the L.A. Times that even though they have a lot of support and privilege, their journey still has been difficult.
Now that they have come out, they condemned the anti-LGBT bills that have been introduced across the U.S. and regrets not doing more to fight them.
“I don’t call senators or take action," they said, noting that they don’t have much experience with public speaking or advocacy. "I felt like I could be doing more.”
They also noted that LGBT kids are already dealing with higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and bullying.
“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?” Corra told the L.A. Times.
Roy P. Disney, Corra's stepfather and the grandson of Roy O. Disney, a co-founder of The Walt Disney Company, raised the money to $500,000.
“Equality matters deeply to us,” Disney said, according to the L.A. Times, “especially because our child, Charlee, is trans and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Disney also said the family was "heartbroken" when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education Act that prohibits classroom instruction of sexual orientation or gender identity with students in grades K-3 and is so vaguely worded it could apply to any grade level. However, the company came under fire after donating to sponsors and co-sponsors of the “Don’t Say Gay” law when it was still a bill, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
In fact, the Florida LGBTQ Democratic Caucus threatened to boycott an upcoming gala at Disney if Democrats went ahead with their plans to host it at the resort. After backlash ensued they canceled.
“Our timing was not ideal,” Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz said in a statement March 22. “We also acknowledge that in our fight for freedom and fairness, we can always do more. In that spirit, the Florida Democratic Party will choose new dates and venues to hold Leadership Blue. We will share information about new arrangements once we have explored available options.”
Bob Chapek, Disney's CEO, said in an email that he and the company’s leadership “unequivocally stand” with LGBTQ employees, but didn’t condemn the bill, arguing that corporate statements “do very little to change outcomes or minds,” according to CNN.
After criticism from employees internally, Chapek announced that the company would pause all political donations in Florida and apologized for his first statement in a letter published on Disney’s website.
“It is clear that this is not just an issue about a bill in Florida, but instead yet another challenge to basic human rights,” he wrote. “You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry.”
Disney said his family wanted to donate to HRC because the organization refused to accept a $5 million donation announced by Chapek last month, according to the L.A. Times. Jodi Madison, HRC’s interim president, said HRC wants to see Disney “build on their public commitment and work with LGBTQ+ advocates” to get dangerous laws like the “Don’t Say Gay” law “off the books.”
Sheri Disney, Chorra’s mother, said the matching donation was meant to remind people that LGBT children need support.
“I have a trans kid, and I love my kid no matter what,” she told the L.A. Times.