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Is Disney World Still A Safe Haven For Florida's LGBTQ+ Community?

Is Disney World Still A Safe Haven For Florida's LGBTQ+ Community?

Disney World and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

The state's recent legislative attacks have some Disney fans worried.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Disney do not get along. This year, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts sued DeSantis and other state officials for asserting control over Disney World property.

Disney had publicly opposed Florida's ever-expanding "Don't Say Gay" law, and the company believes that DeSantis retaliated by stripping Disney World of its special tax district status. This legal battle will likely continue for some time.

Meanwhile, LGBTQ+ Disney World fans are left to worry over the future of their beloved park.

Nonbinary Disney aficionado Uriel Diaz said they visited Disney World once in 2017, and that their husband proposed to them on that trip. Despite the happy memories associated with their last visit, Diaz shared that they aren't in any rush to go back.

“I do believe that it will be a safe space, but everything around it, everything else you have to do to get there is scary right now,” they told NBC News.

Last week, Florida lawmakers voted to ban gender-affirming care for minors, the latest in a string of anti-LGBTQ+ bills passed by the state this year.

Canadian travel bloggers Steph and Katie Burlon, who specialize in lesbian-friendly travel guides, believe that travelers have to decide for themselves whether to visit Florida and Disney World.

“It’s such an individual decision,” Katie told the outlet. “I think the community just needs to respect everyone’s decisions around it and rather than all of the finger-pointing, just spend our energy on actually fighting these bills.”

The Burlons added, however, that they are more likely to visit Disneyland and Disneyland Paris than return to Disney World.

Some parkgoers are also concerned about the future of Gay Days Orlando, a yearly Pride celebration held at Disney World. Gay Days CEO Joseph Clark revealed that the organization has received messages from guests who say they won't be attending because of "what's going on."

“Not just with last year’s ‘don’t say gay,’ but obviously everything that’s happened in the past few months, in the past year,” Clark said. “I know that there is some fear in guests of how welcoming Florida as a state is to the LGBTQ+ audience.”

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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