Disney certainly did not escape controversy this holiday season.
This year, the politics of Disney and the state of Florida’s Gov Ron DeSantis have been on display like never before. Both parties have publicly expressed opinions and disagreed on numerous social and political topics. One such topic is the discussion of the LGBTQ+ community and their presence in family environments like Walt Disney World Resort.
The Walt Disney Company has previously emphasized its support for the LGBTQ+ community by hosting events for Pride month like “gay day” and Pride Nite. However, Disney’s latest Disney Park show has now called that support into question for some LGBTQ+ advocates. One prominent LGBTQ+ news source calls this shift “an indication of the chilling effect of Florida’s anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.”
“Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Not Saying “Gay” in New Holiday Show”
In what became a controversial move, Walt Disney World Resort recently made the decision to remove the word “gay” from the lyrics of the popular holiday song “Deck the Halls” in their new Holiday show at the “Jollywood Nights” event. This alteration has elicited quite a strong reaction from numerous leaders within the LGBTQ+ community, who perceive this change as offensive and exclusionary. Now, weeks after the show’s debut, major LGBTQ+ new sources still have not forgiven the entertainment giant.
The decision to omit the term “gay” from the song raises concerns about inclusivity and representation within the Disney company. For many LGBTQ people and their allies, the removal of this word signifies a missed opportunity for Disney to affirm and celebrate the diversity of its audience. By choosing to alter the lyrics, it appears as though Disney is shying away from acknowledging the existence and significance of the LGBTQ+ community.
It is worth noting that Disney, as a global entertainment giant, holds a significant influence over popular culture and societal norms. Their decision to remove the term “gay” from the song not only reflects a missed chance to embrace and support the LGBTQ+ community, but it also has broader implications. This action potentially reinforces the notion that LGBTQ+ identities should be erased or hidden, perpetuating harmful stereotypes and stigmatization.
Is Disney Changing Their Pro-LGBTQ+ Stance?
For many leaders in the LGBTQ+ community, this decision by Disney World is particularly disheartening, as it comes at a time when representation and visibility are crucial. In recent years, the entertainment industry and various media platforms have made significant strides in spotlighting diverse voices and narratives, including those of the LGBTQ+ community. However, Disney’s modification of “Deck the Halls” lyrics feels to many like a step back, rendering the song less inclusive and diluting the original message of joy and celebration.
It also calls to question if Disney has eased up on their pro-LGBTQ+ messaging because of the backlash from the “go woke go broke” opposition. It’s no secret that many of Walt Disney World’s neighbors have expressed dissatisfaction with Disney’s political opinions, and some think this omission could redirect their narrative.
By excluding LGBTQ+ representation, Disney risks alienating a significant portion of its fanbase. Many LGBTQ+ individuals have found solace and inspiration in Disney’s characters and stories, and the company has the opportunity to be a beacon of support and acceptance. It is essential for organizations as influential as Disney to not only recognize the importance of LGBTQ+ representation but to champion it actively.
As this show closes due to the end of the holiday season at every Disney Park, fans will be closely watching to see if Disney chooses to take a stance like this in the future.