Walt Disney World will host the largest LGBTQ+ conference later this year which celebrates creating a workplace where LGBTQ+ employees can be “out and thrive.” The annual Out and Equal Workplace Summit is expected to attract more than 5,000 attendees, and comes to Florida after Governor Ron DeSantis clashed with Disney over his Parental Rights in Education Act and his latest act bringing an end to Disney’s self-governing status.
The Out and Equal Workplace Summit was held last year in ‘Sin City’ Las Vegas and had a large focus on navigating DEI initiatives and encouraging employees to “make their ‘gay job’ their day job.” Another focus of last year’s workshops was making intergenerational connections to facilitate effective participation from the youngest generation in the workforce. Well aware of the resistance to their agenda, the Summit also hosted a workshop guiding employers on using storytelling to “drive change and achieve impact, reduce resistance and opposition, and create a culture of storytelling at work.” They also hosted and will continue to host the Outie Awards to praise and highlight those who are leading the way in their places of work.
Some of their workshops last year included “Deep in the Heart: Texas as a Case Study for Navigating Anti-LGBTQ Bills,” “NBC News Panel – Rainbow Capitalism: Progress, Politics and Pinkwashing,” and “Queer Money Matters.”
According to the 2022 impact report, the largest industry representation in attendance of the event was from banking/financial services and IT/technology. Top banking sponsors of the event included Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Capital One, HSBC, and Wells Fargo. Top tech sponsors included Dell, Apple, hp, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, IBM, Google, and Microsoft among many others.
According to the Daily Mail, this year’s conference in Disney is sponsored by “a number of iconic American companies, including Apple, Amazon, Walmart, McDonald’s, JPMorgan, and Boeing.” Disney itself is also a top supporter of the group. The 2023 Workplace Summit will begin its festivities and celebration of LGBTQ+ rights on September 11.
The Walt Disney Company has been under scrutiny recently for its heavy dive into LGBTQ+ themes in their children’s programming. Stressing sexual identities and the romantic interests of characters, Disney entertainment has become a major avenue for LGBTQ+ initiatives to reach children from their earliest years and beyond. With Disney hosting the LGBTQ+ Summit in Florida this year, they are taking an obnoxious stance that reveals their LGBTQ+ ventures may become a priority.