Disney Family Member Comes Out as Trans; 'Equality Matters Deeply to Us'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday April 11, 2022

Charlee Disney
Charlee Disney  (Source:Instagram)

Members of the Disney family, including a transgender family member, are speaking out against "Don't Say Gay," UK newspaper the Independent reported.

The Disneys "pledged $500,000 to the Human Rights Campaign, America's largest LGBT+ advocacy group," the newspaper noted, adding that Walt Disney's great-nephew, Roy P. Disney, told the HRC: "Equality matters deeply to us especially because our child, Charlee, is transgender and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community."

Roy P. Disney is the stepfather of Charlee Corra, who identifies as transgender and uses both they/them and he/him pronouns, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Corra is "a 30-year-old high school biology and environmental science teacher" who came out as transgender "to their family four years ago," reported the Daily Mail.

Corra told the media that this was "the first time the family has addressed their gender orientation in public," the Independent noted.

Corra also expressed the thought that they weren't contributing enough in the struggle for LGBTQ+ equality, telling the Los Angeles Times, "I feel like I don't do very much to help. I don't call senators or take action. I felt like I could be doing more."

Like many transgender people, Corra knew from a very early age that their body and identity did not align in terms of gender, the Los Angeles Times imparted, reporting that Corra's mother, Sheri, "remembers Charlee at 2 or 3 tugging her away from the little girls' shoe section, saying, 'But mom, I'm a boy on the inside.' "

Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law criminalizes classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity through third grade, but the vaguely-worded measure also outlaws such discussion in all grades where it might be construed as "inappropriate" for the developmental level of the students. The law also encourages parents to sue schools and teachers.

Advocates and students fear "that teachers — even at high school grade levels — will refrain from openly discussing sexuality and gender identity in the classroom to avoid any potential conflicts with parents," the Washington Post noted, with the effect potentially being an erasure of LGBTQ+ history, the withholding of historical facts from students about the struggle for equality, and the muzzling and marginalization of LGBTQ+ youth and students with LGBTQ+ family members.

Corra spoke to just such issues, telling the Los Angeles Times, "I had very few openly gay role models. And I certainly didn't have any trans or nonbinary role models.

"I didn't see myself reflected in anyone, and that made me feel like there was something wrong with me," Corra added — a critique that others have made when speaking about the half-hearted gestures at inclusiveness Disney itself has made over the years.

"Charlee can't abide the idea that states are trying to make life harder for trans people," the Los Angeles Times relayed. "LGBTQ kids, Charlee said, already have to deal with high rates of depression and anxiety, not to mention bullying and suicide."

"Then to put something like this law on top of that?" Corra said. "They can't learn about their community and their history at school, or play sports or use the bathroom they want to use?"

The company that bears the family name was slow to take a stand against "Don't Say Gay," but the news that Disney had made political contributions to the state lawmakers who advanced the measure prompted outrage. Disney workers staged walkouts and Pixar animation staff detailed in a letter how Disney executives ordered LGBTQ+ content to be pared from the studio's films.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek took a belated stand. In response, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, widely viewed as a potential candidate in the 2024 presidential election, attacked Disney, calling the company "woke" and suggesting it was too closely tied to China.

DeSantis has gone on to mull punishing the company by revoking its long-held self-governing status.

This article has been corrected to reflect that fact that Charlee Corra's name is Charlee Corra and not Charlee Corra Disney, as many outlets reported, and that though he uses he/him pronouns and has come out as transgender, he has not come out as a transgender man. The article has also been updated to clarify that Roy P. Disney is Corra's stepfather and that Corra is not a biological descendent of Walt Disney.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.