It was bound to happen. Eventually someone was going to discover that LGBTQ+ people own and run Disney and have been using it to make kids across the United States queer.
But hey, someone had to challenge Warner Brothers and their creepy heterosexual propaganda. There’s Pepé Le Pew and his continued sexual harassment of Penelope Pussycat and his complete disregard of consent, not to mention Lola Bunny and Honey Bunny enticing impressionable young rabbits with their curves.
And now a group of United States Senators have written to Charles Rivkin, the Chairman of the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board, instructing him to keep kids eyeballs free of anything LGBTQ+.
In a letter dated May 4, Senators Roger Marshall, Mike Lee, Mike Braun, Steve Daines and Kevin Cramer write, “Recently, a video emerged showing a prominent executive at children’s entertainment giant Disney saying she supports having ‘many, many, many LGBTQIA+ characters in our stories.’ To the detriment of children, gender dysphoria has become sensationalized in the popular media and television with radical activists and entertainment companies. This radical and sexual sensation not only harms children, but also destabilizes and damages parental rights.”
It’s a scandal of Republican proportions when a TV executive says that Disney should have more LGBTQIA+ and minority characters. Meaning it is not a real scandal at all, just more fodder for the faux outrage machine to distract people from their drive to rid the U.S. of democracy.
There is no “sensationalized” depiction of transgender people or issues anywhere but in the minds of Republicans and the bills they write to harm trans people. There simply is not a push by the “radical left” to make kids queer or “confuse” them when it comes to gender identity. If there’s a push for anything, it’s to make sure that LGBTQ+ people are represented on TV and in movies and depicted as fellow human beings. A bridge too far for the conservative right.
Oh, and another thing: parents don’t have the “right” to their kid’s sexual orientation or gender identity. That is not something parents have control over. Gay parents can’t make their kids gay if they aren’t, straight parents can’t make their kids straight if they aren’t. The parental “right” that positive depictions of LGBTQ+ people and humane treatment of LGBTQ+ kids violate is the right to be intolerant and hateful with impunity.
Roger, Mike, Mike, Steve, and Kevin also call out Disney for its opposition to the heinous Florida bill that, among other things, essentially bans the mention of LGBTQ+ issues in early elementary school. Never mind that there isn’t a push to show kids sexually explicit material or teach things that aren’t age appropriate. Again, the message is “LGBTQ+ people are human beings with human feelings and human lives.”
“[Disney] has concerningly denounced and vowed to work to repeal a recently passed Florida parental rights law that bans classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade,” the Senators write. “Sexual orientation and gender identity instruction often entails a discussion concerning an individual’s pattern of emotional, romantic, and sexual attraction. Parents all over the country have rightfully expressed outrage over its inclusion in the classroom.”
It’s true that parents all over the country have expressed outrage, but many of these parents also are screaming that public school teachers are pedophiles, something that harkens back to the “Satanic panic” era in the ‘80s, where adults went to prison for completely made up bullshit in order to “protect” children. So yeah, a lot of parents are upset, but the majority of parents are not scandalized by the prospect of their third grader learning that his friend Timmy has two mommies.
“In recent years, concerning topics of a sexual nature have become aggressively politicized and promoted in children’s programming,” the letter continues, adding that this content “often involves the promotion of irreversible experimental treatments that involve surgical and otherwise invasive cosmetic procedures that are detrimental and life-altering, and do not evidence medical necessity.”
I’m not sure what kind of Disney+ subscription these guys have, but I have not heard of programs for kids under seven related to gender affirmation surgery. Nor is gender affirmation surgery performed on little kids. Puberty blockers, which are used in some children, are not irreversible, contrary to what these guys claim.
The only thing “concerning” here is that five U.S. Senators believe there’s nothing more pressing going on in the country or in the world than the prospect of a young kid seeing an LGBTQ+ character on TV and receiving the message that LGBTQ+ people are human beings worthy of love and respect.
D’Anne Witkowski is a writer living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ+ politics for nearly two decades. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.