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Imagineer Zach Riddley Joins Ranks of Cast Members Speaking Out Against Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation in Florida

In a new Instagram post, EPCOT reimagining Creative Portfolio Executive Zach Riddley spoke out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, commonly known as “Don’t Say Gay”, in a lengthy statement.

In the post, he speaks of his experience growing up gay and the bullying he faced throughout his childhood, which lead to depression. He also shares his positive experiences with storytellers who come from different backgrounds, including those who are LGBTQ+.

His entire post reads as follows:

I’ve watch [sic] in anger and frustration as the legislation in Florida was passed. As a kid I grew up in a community that lacked awareness and understanding of what being gay is – and that led to fear, to bullying and to sadness. Sadness that you are somehow different, that you are not worthy of love and that you are not worthy of support, friendship or acceptance. Kids coming from a family with two dads or two moms – that’s as much a part of them as the color of their eyes or the color of their skin. I believe we only move forward by learning and by teaching everyone that it is okay to embrace difference, and ensure everyone feels they belong.

There is tremendous richness that comes from a world that reflects all of us – stories, adventures, places real and places fantastic that are created in part by the minds of those who are different. That is a legacy of creativity that has defined generations of fans across the world. That is a legacy we are honored to be a part of.

I am speaking as an individual, but also a leader and a proud, married gay man when I say that I do not support this legislation. I have made many friendships throughout my time at Disney with incredible LGBTQ+ Cast, Imagineers, leaders and allies. We are a strong community and our voices and our experiences matter.

We have come a long way in our journey, listening and learning from one another. And there is so much more to do. We need to keep progress moving forward with greater understanding, acceptance and appreciation. I stand with all of you who share these values and who represent all those who need to be reminded – you matter, you are not alone, you are valued and you are loved for exactly who you truly are.

A number of Cast Members previously spoke out against the company and CEO Bob Chapek for failing to outright denounce the bill before Chapek did so yesterday.

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  1. Tom and team, thank you guys for staying on top of this horrible bill. When other are silent, it’s nice to have you guys on our team. I can’t explain how much it means. Keep up the good fight!

  2. Can this guy be virtue signaling any more??? Between the mask outdoors and the woke-ness, it is simply nauseating.

  3. Has anyone read the bill? I’m directing this also to WDWNT reporters. Sincere question, since your byline refers to the bill as, “Anti-LGBTQ+”. As a father to a kindergartner and a third grader (the exact span this bill addresses), I sure as heck do not want a teacher, or anyone for that matter, to be talking with them about sex. This has nothing to do with being anti-gay. It’s troubling to see so many people letting their emotions get the best of them, as well as buying into this propagandized agenda.

    It’s also a shame that whomever moderates comments is not allowing any post on the subject to be approved. Shame on WDWNT. No, this is not a place for politics … well, until you report on political matters. Sincere posts by readers should be respected.

    1. No one can have a reasonable conversation, so we’re just not going to let people go to war in our comments. This is a major story within our realm of coverage. News isn’t always what you want.

    2. I have read the bill and it is NOT about sex. The bill is about preventing teachers from acknowledging that LGBT+ people EXIST.

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