president of Walt Disney World in Orlando. And while the parks insist they are not officially connected to the annual “Gay Days” activities, visitors to the park on those days will plenty of representations of rainbows on the merchandise.For some unknown reason neither Disney park ever makes the list of gay-friendliest cities in America. Having a Main Street is not enough to qualify, apparently, but the parks are full of gay people. Last year Disney named an openly gay man
So Disney’s really gay, which for many folks is like saying water is wet, but there are some who still have an old Liberace fan level of denial about it.
Disney’s also all about volunteering to the point that it had to incorporate an obnoxious pun into the affair (“VoluntEARS” – get it?) and has a whole big program for it. Through a program titled “EARS to You” (get it?) the company donates money to charities of their employees’ choosing and to places where they volunteer.
In 2013, under a significant amount of cultural pressure, the Boy Scouts of America ended its ban on gay boys participating in the program. But they kept the ban on gay men serving as adults as troop leaders and such. Once an openly gay scout turns 18, he's out. This halfway decision wasn’t enough for Disney. Walt Disney World is cutting off funding for troops in the Orlando area. An area scout president sent out a letter that is making the media rounds:
We recognize that many Scout Units have received financial support over the last several years from this grant opportunity and are sad to see it go. The National BSA Council has reached out to WDW to try to resolve the situation, however, according to WDW, their views do not currently align with the BSA and they are choosing to discontinue this level of support.
We will continue to keep an open line of communication with them, but at this time, are unable to reverse their decision. If you are a WDW employee and have any concerns or questions about your volunteer service, I encourage you to reach out to your direct supervisor.
So the pressure hasn’t eased up on the Scouts to finish what it has started and just let gay people participate in all capacities. It’s not clear how much money the Boy Scouts stand to lose, but Walt Disney Company boasted $370 million in total giving last year (though that includes product donations and in-kind support, not just cash).
Nick Gillespie, an Eagle Scout, wrote last year about how he doesn’t allow his sons to participate because of the Boy Scouts of America’s policy of exclusion.