Disney parks have always had strange, elaborate costumes for “cast members” who aren’t pretending to be a character. If you’ve been to any Disney park, you likely are familiar with the maid-like uniforms women who work at The Haunted Mansion wear, complete with a white French maid-style cap, an apron, and a long skirt. Uniforms for other attractions aren’t any better. Disney’s rules for cast member uniforms were very gender-based; women weren’t allowed to shave their heads and men were required to have short hair that “does not extend beyond or cover any part of their ears or the shirt collar.” Men were also not allowed to wear jewelry that wasn’t a ring, use nail polish, or wear makeup.
But the times, they are a-changin’ and Disney apparently just realized non-binary people exist and have adjusted their uniform policy accordingly. Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro announced Tuesday that Disney is “creating a place where everyone is welcome”—and that includes making sure people can have some sort of personal expression through their work outfits.
“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,” D’Amaro wrote in a blog post, which included the video below. “Moving forward, we believe our cast, who are at the center of the magic that lives in all our experiences, can provide the best of Disney’s legendary guest service when they have more options for personal expression–creating richer, more personal and more engaging experiences with our guests.”
A “look book” with the new rules went viral and the new rules are definitely an improvement for gender non-confirming Disney cast members. One image in particular evoked a strong, positive reaction from people on Twitter: A shot of a male-presenting person wearing hoop earrings and dark nail polish, while donning the Haunted Mansion uniform.
Disney has also realized that their anti-tattoos policy is absolutely unnecessary, now allowing small and medium-sized visible tattoos, “with the exception of placement on the face, head, or neck,” as long as they do not “depict nudity, offensive, inappropriate language or images, or violate Company policies (including policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, age, disability or any other protected category).” Which, okay, fair enough. So hey, we might not get a queer, non-binary Disney protagonist anytime soon (the cop from Onward doesn’t count) but at least Disney parks now recognize that queer people work there.