Metro Weekly

Disney Shareholders Reject Proposal to Cover “Detransition” Costs

Anti-trans advocates sought to exercise their influence, urging Disney to drop its support of "gender ideology" and LGBTQ causes.

Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida – Photo: Guillermo GR, via Unsplash

The Walt Disney Company beat back several politically charged proposals during its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, April 3, including a measure that would have required the company to foot the bill for “detransition” procedures for employees who no longer identify as transgender.

The National Legal and Policy Center, a right-wing watchdog that routinely rails against liberal causes in the business spheres, and Do No Harm, a group of medical professionals who dispute the idea of gender-affirming care, proposed adopting the policy.

Had it been adopted, Disney would have had to provide insurance coverage for medical procedures for employees who regret their transition, just as the company currently does for transition-related procedures, reports HuffPost.

Speaking on behalf of the proposal was 19-year-old Chloe Cole, a detransition advocate who is beloved by anti-transgender activists due to her opposition to gender-affirming care for minors.

Cole, who briefly transitioned and identified as a boy at age 16, claims to have been rushed into pursuing medical interventions, including puberty blockers and a double mastectomy.

Cole, speaking for Do No Harm, urged shareholders to adopt the detransition coverage proposal.

“Disney pays for gender transition interventions, but not detransitioning care,” she said. “Therefore, the company discriminates based on gender identity, under [federal] regulations.”

Cole also attacked Disney CEO Michael Iger, echoing oft-repeated conservative talking points that paint Disney as obsessed with pushing “woke” programming or wading into culture wars in favor of liberal positions, including pro-transgender advocacy. 

“Mr. Iger, Disney, under your watch, is pushing the limited agenda of gender ideology. Disney has become the Ursula that is stealing the voices of thousands of little Ariels across the world by telling us we can be something that we can never become,” she said. “The lawsuits are coming, sir.”

But shareholders voted against the detransition coverage proposal.

When asked for comment, Disney pointed to a statement in their proxy filing, calling the proposal “unnecessary” and touting the company’s “commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” reported Newsweek.

The board rejected a separate proposal from the National Center for Public Policy Research, which is a Disney shareholder, that sought to force the company to disclose charitable contributions of $5,000 or more, and stop contributing to pro-LGBTQ organizations like GLSEN and The Trevor Project, which conservatives claim push “radical gender ideology” on the public.

NCPPR has tried to influence other large companies, including Best Buy, to end donations to — and renounce public support for — LGBTQ organizations. 

Opposition to overtly political demands was not one-sided. Disney shareholders also rejected a left-wing proposal seeking to stop the company’s donations to politicians who support restrictions on abortion or who claim that the 2020 election was stolen. 

Cole has become famous for traveling from state to state, sharing her personal story, to advocate for state and federal bans on gender-affirming care for minors.

Stories from so-called detransitioners who regret their past transgender identity have been embraced by anti-transgender lawmakers and conservatives, who frequently argue that gender dysphoria is a passing fancy that should not be treated with potentially irreversible medications or surgeries.

But detransition and regret is very rare. A review of 27 studies involving 8,000 teens and adults who had undergone gender-affirming treatments, published in the International Open Access Journal of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, showed that only 1% of transgender patients expressed regret — and for some, that feeling was temporary.

Another recent study showed that 99% of patients who underwent a double mastectomy — like Cole — expressed satisfaction with their results.

Currently, 23 states prohibit youth from receiving gender-affirming care, with a 24th state, Arizona, barring only gender-affirming surgical treatments.

Some of those laws also allow minors who transitioned, but later experienced remorse, to sue for up to 30 years after their initial treatments.

Recently, lawmakers in Florida, which is home to the Walt Disney World Resort, attempted to pass a bill that would force all state insurance plans to cover the types of detransition treatments that Cole argued should be covered by Disney’s insurance plan.

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