From a political point of view, Florida and Texas appear to be in a race to the bottom. The governors and state legislatures in both of these densely populated sunbelt states are working overtime to forward a reality that spookily mirrors the dystopian states that some of our best writers have depicted.
The politicians are not acting alone. Many citizens in these states and elsewhere are in favor of banning books, ending access to legal abortions, and other draconian anti-freedom measures. For example, Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, seeks to ban instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through third grade and could impose limits for other age levels.
The anti-freedom forces believe that hiding the truth about facts of life on Earth will somehow make the truths vanquish. What an odd thing to consider and believe. Meanwhile, people are suffering under the weight of these fascist movements which are intent on returning us all to the Dark Ages and white male hegemony.
Disney, Where Ya At?
Disney is a large employer with an iconic presence in the Sunshine State. How is The Mouse reacting to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill? How is Disney planning to protect its employees from the increasingly authoritarian state?
Disney Chief Executive Bob Chapek initially tried to keep Disney out of the political crosshairs, making the case in an email to staff that corporate statements could backfire and that the company could better change the culture through movies and TV shows.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Disney has experienced weeks of mounting employee blowback against Chapek’s hollow response.
She also says:
There is no hope in trusting corporations who would take our money and give us rainbow-hued T-shirts instead of investing in our community. It is one thing to tweet the word gay in a measure of actionless solidarity; it is another thing entirely to put in the work of supporting queer communities. It’s those small spaces, the underfunded nonprofits in Orlando, that are doing the real, lasting labor. Zebra Coalition in Central Florida has worked tirelessly for years to help LGBTQ+ youth, working to combat teen homelessness and providing crucial access to mental health care and education. They do this all on a shoestring budget, while Disney, with its billions, has made it abundantly clear that we’re supposed to take the facsimile of a possibly queer cartoon character and feel supported.
Do Say “Gay”
Kim Mangone, who ran for Congress in California against House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, is now running a new campaign to place outdoor boards in Florida that definitely say “Gay.”
To help Mangone pay for the media placements, contribute to the efforts at Southern Progress.