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After a Political Storm, Gay Days Return to Disney

The anti-LGBTQ protests culminated in 1997, when the Southern Baptist Convention announced a formal boycott, boosted in part by Disney’s refusal to block Gay Days. (The church the boycott lifted in 2005.) Would Gay Days 2022 be a return to that divisive time?

“There is definitely added value this year,” said Tom Christ, who helped create One Magical Weekend in 2009, by telephone shortly before the event. “One way to fight back is to show our numbers.” He ended our conversation with an admonition about my upcoming visit: “If you see a handkerchief,” he said, “I don’t want to read about it.” (I haven’t witnessed any such behavior. Unless you count a couple of hairy, heavyset males — bears, in gay slang — rubbing their bellies at the Riptide party in a pool area considered “bear lagoon” while they’re bootless.” Little Mermaid” trunks.)

On Saturday morning, when “Let’s go kite flying” of “Mary Poppins” played on the speakers, Gay Days attendees poured into Disney World. Many of them wore red shirts with the words “SAY GAY” on the back, a reference to the recent controversy. Veronica Starr, 28, and her wife, Samantha Starr, 32, came together with plans to ride Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin† “It means a lot to be seen,” Veronica said. “If we all wear red, we can’t be ignored.”

Both women said a favorite part of Gay Days was meeting allies, including volunteers from Free mommy hugs, an LGBTQ support organization. It was then that Kerri McCoy arrived with her husband and eight teens in red shirts, members of a group that supports LGBTQ youth. “All the Disney cast members waved at us and said we should have a happy Pride,” she said, using Disney’s term for corporate employees.

While Disney does not sponsor or promote Gay Days, the Parks & Resorts divisie division is celebrates Pride month with a barrage of rainbow merchandise in its stores, including a button featuring Mickey Mouse and a rainbow along with the slogan “Belong, Believe, Be Proud”. There were also rainbow themed desserts

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