The world-famous Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is to host a one-day LGBT Equality Institute workshop. The initiative comes about in partnership with Out & Equal Workplace Advocates.
San Francisco-based Out & Equal describes itself as ‘the world’s premiere nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workplace equality.’
It offers a range of resources to help LGBT employees and runs events to held advance diversity and inclusion practices within the world of business.
Earlier this year, its CEO, Selisse Berry, was invited to speak at the US Commission on Civil Rights on the topic of LGBT equality in the workplace.
The LGBT Equality Workshop will take place on 23 July 2015. A statement from Out & Equal says that the workshop will offer, ‘cutting-edge thought leadership and on-the-ground training to transform companies of all sizes, bringing diversity and inclusion to life in businesses from all over the country.’
‘We are pleased to host and sponsor such an important gathering of employers who, like Disney, are committed to diverse and inclusive workplaces,’ said Walt Disney World Resort President George Kalogridis, in a statement.
‘Having employees with a broad range of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives gives employers an advantage in understanding and meeting the needs of consumers, and it is important to remain focused on attracting and developing a diverse workforce at every level.’
As a company, Walt Disney – which owns numerous subsidiaries, including ESPN, Marvel, Pixar, Touchstone Pictures, Walt Disney World Resorts and Walt Disney Pictures, among others – has performed consistently well in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. It scored 100% (the top ranking) in the most recent index and has been consistently listed as one of the US’s top places to work for LGBT people.
Kalogridis became Disney World’s first openly gay president when he was appointed to the role in 2013.
‘We are proud that companies like Disney are leading the way to LGBT workplace equality, said Out & Equal’s Berry.
‘Now we can ensure that companies of all sizes can be equipped with the tools for equal workplaces.
Walt Disney’s long-standing support for LGBT issues has not been welcomed by all.
In 2013, the anti-gay pressure group One Million Moms encouraged members to protest against Walt Disney World’s unofficial ‘Gay Days’.
‘Gay Days’ takes place at the Florida resort every first week in June. It has never been officially sanctioned by Disney, but neither has the company stopped the festivities from going ahead. It regularly attracts over 150,000 LGBT people and their families each year, and will be celebrating its 25th anniversary between 2-8 June 2015.
One Million Moms is a division of the American Family Association, which has itself called for a boycott of Disney after the company announced, in the mid-90s, that it was extending benefits to same-sex employees in domestic partnerships.
Out & Equal told Gay Star Business that details of speakers and panellists for the inaugural LGBT Equality Institute workshop were still being finalised. Registration for the event is now open via EventBrite.