“Gay Day” at Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park has become a tradition since it first launched 28 years ago. Now, the phenomenon is going global.
A small group of gay men communicated online on bulletin boards and agreed to meet socially at the Magic Kingdom on the first Saturday in June. They wore red shirts so they could easily pick each other out of the crowd.
Thanks to religious right protests, news of the gathering spread across the country, sparking one of the first gay travel destination weekends. Each year the event has grown and is now an official part of the Disney theme park’s calendar of events.
The KindRED Pride Foundation is picking up the idea and taking it international – but with a twist. They’re asking LGBTQ people to wear a red shirt on June 1 to show solidarity and support for LGBTQ people.
“In 1991 the thought of wearing a red shirt with other Compu-Whosers at the Magic Kingdom was as scary as it was exciting,” said Michael Jungen. “I am delighted that today, LGBT individuals and kindred spirits celebrate openly and without fear. Hopefully RSPD will be a part of the journey for that same sort of transition in other parts of the world.”
The event would be held annually on the first Saturday in June to honor “diversity, equality, inclusion, safe expression, and kindness,” the organizers say.
“We believe in the power of kindness and we believe in the power of RED. The red in the pride flag represents life,” they say. “The original organizers chose this color in order to recognize other ‘kindred spirits’ at that first gathering.”
And that’s exactly what they plan to do too. They hope to get a million people to wear red in solidarity that day. They plan to share the photos to inspire and help others who haven’t or can’t come out know there are kindred spirits waiting on them when they do.