This piece initially ran on Advocate, read the original here.
Employees of Disney's massively popular theme parks, including Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida, will be allowed greater flexibility and more opportunities for expression through their costumes, hairstyles, jewelry, and nails.
The announcement, coming on the eve of Disneyland's reopening on April 30, was made yesterday by Josh D'Amaro, the chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. D'Amaro said the loosening of gendered presentation at the parks is part of an initiative to modernize the "Four Keys" — Safety, Courtesy, Show and Efficiency — that have guided customer service at the parks since Disneyland opened in 1955. The Disney theme parks are adding "inclusion" as one of the keys, with an effort to make the company's diverse employees and customers feel more welcome.
In addition to removing racially-insensitive aspects of rides like Jungle Cruise and Splash Mountain, the company is launching mentoring programs to hire more minorities.
"We’re looking at other traditions, too – including the policies that guide how our cast members show up for work," D'Amaro said of the inclusion initiative. "Our new approach provides greater flexibility with respect to forms of personal expression surrounding gender-inclusive hairstyles, jewelry, nail styles, and costume choices; and allowing appropriate visible tattoos. We’re updating them to not only remain relevant in today’s workplace, but also enable our cast members to better express their cultures and individuality at work."
Disney's parks, experiences, and products departments employ around 155,000 people, according to CNBC.
See more about Disney's inclusion announcement below: