Monday, May 28, 2007

Of Mouse and Men

Here in Orlando, it's time once again for the annual Gay Days at Disney World, a weeklong, oil-soaked festival of shirtless gay pride. (Although attendees are encouraged to wear red-shirts to identify themselves.)

Often loudly criticized (and boycotted) by conservative groups, Gay Days has been rounding up huge corporate endorsements, with the likes of Delta, Saturn and CNA paying for premiere sponsorships. Some companies, like Southern Comfort and esurance, even alter their logos for the celebration, making them predictably rainbow colored.

I wouldn't even be aware that the event was this week had we not been driving from Tampa yesterday on Interstate 4 , approaching the theme park area, where a huge billboard picturing guys in Speedos standing around a car announced it. Disney likes to keep this week under wraps, afraid of tarnishing their clean image. It's an "under the radar" thing you'll have a hard time finding on any official Disney websites.

It's a fine line to walk for Disney. They don't want to lose the dollars of either the gay community or the conservative community, and so they just act like it's not happening. That silence on Disney's part can sometimes catch heterosexual visitors and their families off guard, prompting Moms and Dads to spontaneously explain why "two men are kissing." In recent years, it's said to be getting a little out of hand. A gay man in Orlando writes an eloquent piece, deriding the invasion of "he-women and shaved down muscle boys."

"What once was a small group of well meaning gay men and lesbians has grown – and in my opinion, deformed – into what is now nothing more than a vile spectacle of self indulgence and indecency. I don’t like it when I hear pompous windbags telling me I’m going to burn in hell for being gay, and I’m sure most of the free world would appreciate a visit to Disney World that did not include the vision of grown men in go-go shorts, and ads for lubricant prominently displayed throughout the host hotel."

So, if you're not gay and you're planning on a Disney trip and the sight of "two queens frenching outside Cinderella castle," would give you pause, best to stay away this week. If you do make the trip, leave the red shirts at home.

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  • I was there with my family for Gay Days several years ago. My brother and Dad both made the mistake of wearing red shirts one day. It was uncomfortable (but darn funny) to say the least.

    By Anonymous Angie, at June 9, 2007 at 3:08 PM  

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