ORLANDO, FL — (03-24-23) — Disney World fights back against Florida’s rightwing Republican governor Ron DeSantis’ crackdown on LGBTQ+ civil rights, by hosting the largest LGBTQ+ conference in the world.

The Out & Equal Workplace Summit says that they are “largest LGBTQ+ conference in the world” who attracts over 5,000 attendees annually. For the next two years, the Out & Equal non-profit which focuses on LGBTQ+ workplace equality issues, will be held at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

Out & Equal lists the Walt Disney Company as one of its top partners alongside other major companies that include Apple, Bank of America and Uber.

Multiple government agencies including the state department, CIA and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have also been listed as event partners and are expected to set up booths at the summit.

“Over more than 20 years, Summit has grown to become the preferred place to network and share strategies that create inclusive workplaces, where everyone belongs and where LGBTQ+ employees can be out and thrive,” the organization’s website stated.

“Through our worldwide programs, strategic corporate partnerships, and sought-after events, we help LGBTQ+ individuals realize their fullest, most authentic potential, while supporting organizations in creating cultures of belonging for all,” it added.

The summit is being billed as a defiant response to Rightwing Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’s war against LGBTQ+ rights in Florida and follows new powers assumed by the governor last month which will allow him to appoint members of the development board that supervises the theme park and its self-governing district.

“There’s a new sheriff in town,” said DeSantis as he declared victory over the theme park which for nearly 60 years enjoyed autonomy in its self-governing Reedy Creek district and attracted nearly 13 million visitors last year.

Earlier this month,  in true dictatorship fashion, Ron DeSantis appointed five rightwing board members to Reed Creek’s district board, including the founder of a rightwing parent group, a Christian nationalist and a Republican party donor.

In response to wannabe dictator DeSantis’s takeover of its special district, Disney World Resort president Jeff Vahle said that it will not challenge the law. “We are focused on the future and are ready to work within this new framework.”

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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