For the last 20 years, an unofficial event has occurred at Disney World in Orlando each summer. The event, popularly called “Gay Day,” celebrates LGBTQ awareness and inclusion, drawing hundreds of gay and lesbian couples and supporters to the Disney World theme park. Although The Walt Disney Corporation has never officially sanctioned this celebratory day, it has continued to draw support every year.
The event is scheduled to occur in early June this summer, and has purportedly drawn in up to 150,000 supporters in the past. The official Gay Days website offers information about booking hotel rooms in the Orlando area for attendees and calls the event, “an all-over town, something-for-everyone vacation extravaganza.”
The cheerful colors of the Gay Days website contrasts with the website for the Florida Family Association’s site, which condemns the event, scheduled for June 2nd this year. FFA organizers argue that the event is “highly offensive.” Their website also claims that in past years as many as ” ten thousand (10,000) people entered the Magic Kingdom only to promptly exit before 1:00 pm after witnessing Gay Day patrons.” Furthermore, the website argues that innocent children should be saved “from the unexpected exposure to this coming out party.”
The FFA has raised funds in order to fly a large banner over the Orlando park in order to warn patrons of the upcoming event. The banner reads, “Warning Gay Day at Disney 6/4.” According to the Huffington Post, organizers at the FFA have raised enough money to fly the banner over the park for two full days.
The Florida Family Association condemns the “revelry” of gay couples enjoying the parks of Orlando, implying that gay and lesbian couples are offensive. The article on their site also includes a rash of pictures of unsuspecting Gay Day attendees wearing matching shirts and smiling together as they enjoy the park. It is highly probable that the people in the photos were unaware that their photos now grace the FFA website.
Gay Days events organizers state that, “We have young, old, all races and beliefs, parents, gay AA groups, and every other section of our community attending Gay Days each year.” This inclusive message contrasts sharply with the FFA’s insistence that the happiness of certain individuals should be hidden from public view. The Florida Family Association’s tone and emphasis seems very similar to the anti-propaganda laws that have gone into effect in Russia recently, which also condemn any expression of gay or lesbian sexuality in public spaces.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons