A great-grandchild of Roy O. Disney — brother of Walt and cofounder of the Walt Disney Company — has come out as trans and is speaking out against Florida’s right-wing leadership and the ‘Don’t Say Gay” bill Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed into law, according to Los Angeles Times columnist Robin Abcarian.

DeSantis has also threatened to retaliate against Disney for opposing the bill by revoking the Reedy Creek Improvement District, established in 1967, that effectively allows Disney World to act as its own government by overseeing its own land use, regulating its own buildings and roads and providing the services generally provided by a municipal or county government.

Charlee Corra Disney, a 30-year-old heir to the Disney fortune and a high school biology and environmental science teacher, told Abcarian during a Zoom call between the teacher, the columnist and Charlee’s mother Sheri, “I feel like I don’t do very much to help. I don’t call senators or take action. I felt like I could be doing more.”

As a child, Charlee said, they had “very few openly gay role models … and certainly [no] 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.”
Noting that LGBTQ youth already deal with high rates of depression, anxiety, bullying and suicide, Charlee said the “Don’t Say Gay” law adds an even greater weight on their shoulders; “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?”

As a first step in stepping up their activism, Charlee announced at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual gala in Los Angeles last month that they were giving a $250,000 matching grant to HRC. Then Charlee’s family — Roy and Sheri Disney — stepped up and doubled the amount.

Sheri Disney told Abcarian that her family was disappointed that the Disney Company initially refused to take a stand against the “Don’t Say Gay” law. The family’s $500,000 matching grant to HRC, Sheri said, is a “bridge” showing the family’s commitment to LGBTQ rights, and a way to show the rest of the world that LGBTQ youth need and deserve low and support.

“I have a trans kid, and I love my kid no matter what,” Sheri declared.

— Tammye Nash