Target: Adam Bonnett, Executive Vice President for Original Programming, Disney Channel
Goal: Thank the Disney Channel for positively highlighting a lesbian couple in upcoming programming.
The Walt Disney Corporation has long been an advocate for the LGBT community. Disney’s advocacy includes the annual “Gay Days” events, which draw over 150,000 LGBT community members to Walt Disney World in Orlando every summer. Although “Gay Days” is not officially sponsored by Disney, the company’s inclusive corporate leadership reflects top-down pro-LGBT policies. Such comprehensive policies earned the company a perfect “100” rating by the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index again in 2013. Newly-appointed Walt Disney World President George Kalogridis, who began leading park operations in February 2013, is the first openly-gay head of the park in the company’s history.
One area where Disney often showed trepidation, however, was in its television programming. Starting in 2014, however, that is set to change. As ThinkProgress reports, “[for] the first time in Disney Channel history, one of their shows will feature a family with two mothers.” The program, Good Luck Charlie, will “feature the show’s preschool-age protagonist, Charlie, being set up on a playdate with a friend with two moms” in an episode next season.
Beyond the simple act of positively illustrating a same-sex couple raising children, Disney “is taking care to consult the relevant experts to ensure the episode is respectful of the LGBT community.” One Disney Channel spokesperson noted that the crafting of this episode relied upon “the consultancy of child development experts and community advisors.” In keeping with Disney Channel programming themes, the episode “was developed to be relevant to kids and families around the world and to reflect themes of diversity and inclusiveness.”
The decision to include a lesbian couple in Good Luck Charlie has predictably drawn ideologically divided responses from the media and activists. Although former Disney starlet and outspoken advocate Miley Cyrus called the new storyline “inspiring,” and many other celebrities have voiced enthusiastic support, backlash appears inevitable. Sign the petition below to stand with Disney and commend their inclusive efforts to highlight same-sex families in their programming.
Dear Mr. Bonnett,
The Walt Disney Corporation has long been an advocate for the LGBT community. The company’s corporate leadership and employment policies regularly earn Disney a perfect “100” rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. Walt Disney World in Orlando’s recently-appointed President, George Kalogridis, is the first openly-gay head of the park in history. Disney World is also the epicenter of one of the world’s largest annual LGBT events, “Gay Days.” The company’s support for LGBT individuals is a longstanding tradition.
One area where Disney often showed trepidation, however, was in its television programming. The decision to include a lesbian couple in a 2014 episode of Good Luck Charlie promises to change that. Your decision to showcase a same-sex couple successfully raising a family sends a powerful message to all families — one that promotes inclusivity, diversity, and acceptance.
Thank you and the Disney programming development team for tackling a difficult and divisive subject with compassion.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Veryhuman via Wikimedia