Disney's Gay Days are Here to Stay

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
My speech for a forensics competition.

Submitted: February 24, 2011

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Submitted: February 24, 2011

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Disney’s Gay Days Are Here to Stay
 
The sun is shining, fake blonde princesses are singing; sweaty, underpaid college kids in torturously heavy costumes are dancing with happy families. Kyle is surrounded by ice-cream and games and rides and his childhood heroes, and its almost as though he is a child again himself! However, if you’re Kyle, your childhood consisted of undeviating bullying, a distant family, and the classic fag jokes painfully lacking in wit. For Kyle, this trip to Disney for the annual week-long Gay Days has been the most fun he’s had since coming out. He and his friends have experienced everything from roller coasters and character-infested parades to comic conventions and film festivals. They are about to hit Splash Mountain for the umpteenth time that day when a group of rowdy boys identify them by their shirts; the bright red T’s worn with pride every first week of June for ongoing decades. Crude hand gestures and slurs are sent in Kyle’s direction, but are not returned. Kyle simply clenches his fists and tries to ignore the little picturesque family avoiding him as though he had the plague. Kyle’s compensation for a trying adolescence, like that of so many Gay Day participants before him, has been shattered like Cinderella’s slipper. The wicked step-mother? The homophobic park-goers sharing Disney for the day that couldn’t keep their clever insults to themselves. As Kyle slumps past a boy holding a plastic lamp and wearing a Genie mask, Kyle can’t help but wonder why his one wish can’t even come true in Disney World; his wish for acceptance.
 
After all, Disney has been molding the easily influenced minds of America’s youth for over one hundred years. Their sculpting tools; cartoon animation and catchy songs. And ask any of Disney’s little creations what they’ve learned from years of brainwashing, each and every bright eyed little rug rat will tell you the same thing; anyone can be a princess. Mulan saved all of China without being a dude. Dumbo may have been different, but I’ll bet the other elephants didn’t think his ears were so funny when he used them to defy everything that the Wright brothers taught us! Pocahontas and John Smith were buddies despite their differences, as were the Fox and the Hound and Quasimodo and Esmeralda. Belle taught us that we don’t control who we fall in love with, and Aladdin showed us that being a diamond in the rough can be pretty rewarding. Show me a Disney movie, and I’ll show you an equality promotion. You can’t go to Disney World and be a hater; in case you didn’t notice this trend, the haters always lose! They’re called villains. If you really don’t want to expose your kid to gay, you probably shouldn’t take them to Disney World any time of the year. Disney World is no place for ignorance and intolerance. The renowned land of a thousand dreams is a place for Disney’s themes of acceptance and harmony to be remembered and celebrated. For goodness sake, just listen to the small world song!
 
Many conservatives argue that this yearly festivity for gays and open-minded straights alike encourages inappropriate behavior including distasteful apparel, sexual conduct, and the over-all practice of not following the Bible word for word. However, according to “Cast Member Confidential: A Disneyfied Memoir”, Disney World is hardly the innocent, wholesome place these traditionalists believe it to be when not inhabited by hundreds of homosexuals. In his book, Chris Mitchell delves into his past as Mickey, revealing Disney’s ‘Dark Side.’ His recounts include real Adult Swim material, including the tale of his acquaintance, Winnie the Pooh, who sold hits of acid outside of EPCOT, to the incident of explicit photos taken of himself with his girlfriend, Calico, who played The Little Mermaid. Another former Disney employee, who’s mother refers to her as ‘Terry’ in their online blog, entitled ‘Dark Days at Disney World’, was working in the parks for the Disney World College Intern Program. “It didn’t take long for me to discover,” She says in one of the blog’s passages, “that my ‘dream job’ was beginning to look more like a nightmare.”  Terry spent her summer in an apartment with five under-aged girls, across the hall from plenty of drinking aged boys. “Alcohol, drugs, and sexual activity became a regular routine at the apartment complex.” She writes, proceeding to describe the frivolous pastimes and disturbing scenes she witnessed at the complex’s pool. “It was… a favorite spot for nighttime partying and sex- both heterosexual and homosexual.” Others have written of Disneyland’s scandalous ‘Flash Mountain’, a period of time beginning in 2009 in which it became popular to discard clothing whilst riding Splash Mountain. Many employees were fired for posting pictures of this absurd behavior on the Internet, and some are still floating around today. If that isn’t enough to convince you that Disney is screwed up without help from the gays, just look at any former Disney Channel star’s current status; partying, in jail, partying, in rehab.
 
Regardless of any of these absurdities, suppose these anti- Gay Days had a valid point. Just, for one moment, close your mind and imagine that this celebration actually is the travesty so many think it to be. Suppose risqué activities that don’t occur every other day of the year really are condoned by this iconic event. What is Disney World supposed to do? Close its park gates to anyone wearing a red shirt the first week of June? Or perhaps they should adopt the infamous, recently abated policy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’? Disney, while one of the most accepting places on earth, is in no way affiliated with the Gay Days that have taken refuge there. This event was organized by a separate group, and Disney does not promote nor discourage the gathering any more than it does the field trip of an eighth grade class. It doe not sponsor, advertise for, or in any way associate itself with any of the groups involved. However, Disney has been known to step in when things get out of control, as Martin Mawyer, president of the Christian Action Network, learned when harassing gays with a video camera and refusing to leave when notified that the “patrons [of the organization] were uncomfortable with his presence.” Martin was threatened with arrest before finally departing, taking his hatred with him. It seems to me that Disney should be keeping out the people who cause the public disturbance, not the innocent participants who simply want to share the magic of Disney with their loved ones, such as the Couchman-Spencer family. Eleven year old Evan, ten year old Alix, and four year old Jamie were interviewed by Time magazine during their stay in Disney World, and the kids were so excited, journalist John Cloud reported that they could hardly speak. The children have two moms, Janice Couchman and Richelle Spencer, and belong to a family that is otherwise completely conventional. What Disney-goer seems more threatening to you; Martin Mawyer or little Jamie Couchman-Spencer? Which one should Disney be trying to keep out, assuming they had the power to do so?
 
Kyle, Janice and Richelle’s family, and even Martin have all played their part in a Disney story not so cartoon-y, but touching and filled with moral, none-the-less. Like so many of the protagonists Disney has given us, Kyle and the Couchman-Spencer’s just want acceptance, but must face many trials before gaining it. Hopefully others will soon see that Disney is truly about acceptance, that Gay Days don’t bring anything to Disney World that it doesn’t have the rest of the year, and that, ultimately, for better or for worse, Disney has no control over Gay Days. We still have a long way to go in realizing Kyle’s dreams, but Disney is all about teaching lessons of equality and progression. If you really are a Disney fan, you’ll not just tolerate, but accept that Gay Days are here to stay.
 


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