Disney announces first-ever LGBTQ pride parade

Photo courtesy of espnfrontrow.com | Disney announced that it will hold its first official LGBTQ pride parade on June 1 of this year in Paris. The company unofficially hosted “gay days” in the past but never a company-sanctioned event like the parade.

Disney has officially announced that it will be hosting its first-ever company-sponsored LGBTQ pride parade.

The parade will take place on June 1 at Disneyland Paris. The event is called “Magical Pride.” The day will be filled with musical performances, meet-and-greets and a pride themed parade.

Sophomore education major Lillie Baumgartner has been a member of the Disney Vacation club since 2005.

“I love that Disney is doing a pride parade and continuing to stretch their inclusivity to sexuality,” Baumgartner said. “Disney has had such a huge influence on me and other children, so to see them being open about acceptance of all people is an extremely important message to share.”

Since 1991, Disney has unofficially hosted “Disney Gay Days” with turnouts of a few thousand people. Now, WDWinfo.com approximates that the number of people in attendance has reached upwards of 50,000 in the last few years.

These “Disney Gay Days” were events organized by the public and were never officially sponsored or promoted by Walt Disney World. Guests showed up to stand together for equality and to show support of the LGBTQ community. All in attendance wore red to demonstrate their participation

NBC News reported that when “Disney Gay Days” became popular, the Southern Baptist Convention, along with some other conservative religious groups, boycotted Walt Disney World from 1996 to 2005. Despite these boycotts, the park began to sell ears in support of pride in April of 2018, shortly before Pride Month began in June.

The ears were an in-park exclusive and were created to appeal to guests of all different backgrounds. 

“Diversity and equality are strong values at Disneyland Paris, and each year, we host millions of visitors regardless of their origins, gender or sexual orientation,” a spokesperson for the Walt Disney Company told NBC News. 

Disney as a brand has slowly started to include and embrace diversity and LGBTQ issues, especially with more representation in its TV shows and movies. Last year, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Doc McStuffins and Star vs. the Forces of Evil all featured gay characters.

By: Gillen Faenza | Staff Writer