There’s an interesting situation developing at the Walt Disney Company. Disney, one of the early pioneers of corporate gay acceptance, conducts mandatory sensitivity training for employees. The goal is full tolerance for and zero discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender (GLBT) employees.
But the tolerance enforcement saga has turned up a new twist: It appears there have been numerous documented incidents of intolerance against ex-gays. And one non-profit advocacy organization is asking Disney to address it. “Ex-gays are forced to remain closeted because they are not protected by diversity policies and are subjected to open disapproval by others in the workplace,” said Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX).
PFOX became aware of the tolerance quandary after being contacted by Bobbie Strobhar, a Disney shareholder who submitted a resolution to Disney asking the corporation to expand its antidiscrimination policies to include ex-gays. “Disney should treat ex-gays and their friends with the respect they deserve," said Strobhar. "We need more of these resolutions nationwide to assure tolerance and safety in the workplace for the ex-gay community and their supporters."
Disney’s initial response was to ignore the request, but the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disagreed, and has in effect ordered Disney to include the proposal among the issues addressed at its 2010 annual meeting.
The question yet to be answered is, Is tolerance really about tolerance?