The Walt Disney Company, well-known for its family-friendly programming and theme parks, is promoting a series of toys and clothes for children decorated with the LGBT rainbow flag ahead of Pride Month.
Disney, which produces several television programs and movies designed for children and operates several theme parks worldwide that cater to children and families, has unveiled the Rainbow Disney Collection.
The catalog of apparel and toys features rainbow-colored merchandise designed to honor the upcoming annual Pride Month in June that celebrates the LGBT community and movement.
“The countdown to Pride Month is on with a colorful array of Pride products available now!” the Disney Parks Twitter feed announced Monday.
Several rainbow-colored hearts accompanied the announcement of the company’s Pride Month collection. Additionally, the Twitter account noted that “The Walt Disney Company is giving funds as part of our ongoing commitment to organizations around the world that support LGBTQ+ communities.”
The pro-LGBT organizations Disney is donating to are listed on the Rainbow Disney Collection’s website. The advocacy groups supported by Disney include GLSEN, Diversity Role Models, Minus18, BeLonG To Youth Services, ARELAS and the It Gets Better Project.
Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Communications Manager Anthony Armenia elaborated on the Pride Month merchandise in a post on the Disney Parks Blog Monday.
The blog features several pictures of the merchandise, which includes a Mickey Mouse “Love” T-shirt.
On that particular shirt, the “o” in the world love is replaced by Mickey Mouse ears bathed in the rainbow colors. The rest of the shirt features pictures of Mickey Mouse’s face in different colors of the rainbow.
In Disney’s pride collection, other apparel includes a sweatsuit with a hoodie and pants decorated with the word “Love” that also features rainbow-colored Mickey Mouse ears instead of an “O,” and shirts with the Pixar Animation Studios logo in rainbow colors.
The collection also features a rainbow-colored depiction of the character “Stitch” accompanied by the phrase “Ohana Means Family” illuminated in rainbow colors.
“Starting this month, the incredible diversity of our fans will also be celebrated around the world with products rolling out from licensees and retailers including Amazon, BoxLunch, Funko, Kohl’s, and Torrid, with more to come in Europe and Latin America,” Armenia wrote. “In June, our friends at Funko will have a plethora of new Pop! Vinyl figures in screaming color including Stitch and Wall-E.”
The collection of Pop! Vinyl figures consist of rainbow-colored toys resembling Disney and Pixar characters.
In recent years, Disney has made overtures to the LGBT community by introducing LGBT characters in its programming.
The Disney-Pixar animated film “Onward," released in March 2020, featured a lesbian character, making it the first film produced by the animation studio to feature an LGBT character.
Later in 2020, Pixar’s short film “Out” became the animation studio’s first production to feature a gay lead character.
Also, the Disney Channel cartoon “The Owl House” became the network’s first cartoon to feature a bisexual main character after the show’s creator identified the sexual orientation of the protagonist last summer.
Before introducing LGBT characters in its animated programming geared toward younger children, the Disney Channel depicted a same-sex teen romance on the live-action TV series “Andi Mack.”
Disney is not the only company that markets heavily toward children to promote Pride Month or LGBT advocacy. In 2019, Cartoon Network used its Twitter account to promote Pride Month.
A year earlier, the network’s animated show “Steven Universe” became the first children’s show to feature a same-sex wedding proposal. More recently, Cartoon Network worked with a social justice advocacy organization to create four comic strips asserting that there are multiple gender identities.
Earlier this year, the Nickelodeon series “Blues Clues and You” unveiled a song designed to teach children the alphabet while promoting LGBT advocacy.
“The ABC song w/ Blue” contained lyrics explaining that “P is full of pride.” In the on-screen graphics accompanying the song, the letter “P” is featured in rainbow colors and surrounded by flags representing the transgender, asexual, pansexual, intersex and gender-fluid communities and other LGBT identity groups.