Thursday, 31 August 2017

The Final Word On The Disneyland Drama!



So the past 48 hours have been a little crazy.

After receiving an email from Disneyland Paris to inform me that my son couldn't take part in one of their children's activities because "he is a boy", I did what I often do when the world gets me down and blogged it all out on here.

I then shared the post to Facebook where I knew that many of my friends and followers would reassure me that outdated gender stereotypes are indeed NOT the norm anymore...which they did.

I did not expect less than 24 hours later to be standing in my living room recording multiple live interviews with ITV news. Nor recording phone interviews for various radio stations, or fielding ENDLESS emails (which are STILL coming in) from newspaper companies all over the world telling me (Not asking) that they are running the story.

Any long term readers of my blog will know that I have been in weekly therapy sessions for a year now in order to try to resolve the anxiety and panic disorder that I have suffered with since childhood, the same disorder that meant I put off visiting Disneyland Paris at all until last year...because I have always found it very hard to be out in public, to mingle with people, and not to worry what others think of me.

Something I am VERY keen not to pass on to any of my children...my lack of confidence and anxious nature has limited me a lot over the years, and I don't want them to experience that awful feeling. I want them to feel confident in themselves and their choices, and live their lives without fear of judgement.

Some people seem to struggle with this concept...over the last couple of days I have been subject to all sorts of messages from cretins in all corners of the globe.

A man private messaged me on Facebook to tell me "God help your kids"...with a profile picture of two young boys, who I sincerely hope for their own sake never have the need to tell their pig ignorant father that they want to wear a dress or marry a man (God help YOUR kids, you idiot.)

MANY trolls crawled out of the woodwork and left comments on the posts saying things such as:

"This mother is crazy...." (I can assure you I'm not, my therapist tells me so every week...How ironic!!)

"She obviously wanted a girl and is forcing this on him...." (I DARE you to try and get a dress on my other son who HATES anything to do with Princesses, you'd soon realise that you can not force a child to do or like ANYTHING...all of my children are incredibly strong willed! And in all honesty? Elsa annoys me and I've had enough Let It Go to last me a life time, if I was forcing something on him it would be Belle!)

"She wants a free holiday" (The holiday has been paid for in full for months now...I made £7,000 last month as a work from home freelance writer and blogger....a business I started and continue to run on my own...I can book a holiday to Disneyland Paris whenever I want thanks...)

And the most common one...

"The mother just wants attention"....I actually wish that one were true, because it would mean I didn't have this awful anxiety disorder...which social anxiety, fear of judgement and criticism play a huge part in. But I do....so let me assure you that attention such as this is one of my biggest fears. It has NOT been enjoyable in the slightest.

But here's the thing...My BIGGEST fear in life is that my children will have to grow up in a world full of inequality and discrimination. And if I am EVER faced with an opportunity to correct that, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will fight against that anxiety with every fibre of my being and STAND UP FOR MY CHILDRENS RIGHTS.

Just as I believe every parent on this planet should.

If my son wants to wear a dress at Disneyland and have a bit of Princess face paint done, he absolutely can...not just because I say so, but because EU legislation backs him up on this...Gender discrimination is NEVER ok and is ILLEGAL.

Thankfully, Disneyland have now contacted us to confirm that the response we received is not reflective of their policies and have promised to update all of their staff on this, AND  they have now changed the wording on their website to remove the line that the Princess experience is to "grant little girls' wishes" to make it more inclusive.

Which further proves the point that their original response to my request was wrong in every way...legally and morally.

Some may ask why I agreed to do the news programmes when contacted....at this point I had heard no reply from Disney at all, so why would I not want to put pressure on them to correct this awful policy? Why wouldn't I want to publicise everybody's right to equality?

Have you never heard the saying "Be the change you wish to see in the world"...well I wish to see a world where parents support their children and allow them to be who they are without fear of judgement, encourage them to stand against the bullies and naysayers instead of backing down or hiding away from them, and a world where children are given equal opportunities to play with whatever they like...so I stood up for that. And I'm proud that I did.

If it makes even one person change their archaic views on the subject of little boys having the same right to dress up as Princesses as little girls do to dress up as Knights, then it was entirely worth all of the stress and abuse.

To all of the people who were outraged at Disneys original response, thank you for the support and HIGH FIVE...we did it!!! We've actually managed to change something for the better and hopefully no other little boy will be turned away in future.

To all of the keyboard warriors with nothing better to do with their time than pour scorn on an innocent child...thanks so much for all of the blog hits you've given me, but please be aware that the comments you're leaving are a total waste of time...they're all moderated and will never see the light of day. Spread your hate else where or you know....as Noah would say.....Let it go!


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36 comments

  1. Oh gosh I missed all this as I haven't been online much lately. I am so glad you stood up for what was right. How awful about all the trolls, I hope your ok xx

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  2. Ahh! I saw the clip of you on the news. You did brilliantly!
    I read a news article and saw the comments which just left me rolling my eyes.
    You did it! You changed something for the better and I'm so proud of you! xxx

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    1. Ah thanks Kim! Who knew there were so many people stuck in the dark ages! Shame for them, life is so much more enjoyable when you stop looking for the imaginary bad in everything x

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  3. Oh Hayley I know we don't know one another well, but I'm so bloody proud of you! You did this, you righted a wrong and on behalf of my kids, my friends' kids, every kid out there who deserves the freedom of expression in whatever form that takes - thank you xx

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  4. Well done, all 4 of my boys love Disney as much as their sisters, sorry that you have received some negativity, but you can feel smug in the knowledge that you have made a huge change that will make an incredible difference to future Disney dreams for princess loving little boys.

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  5. Pleased that you got it resolved with Disney. Sorry to hear about the trolls though. One of my daughters was dressed as Darth Vader today and the other as a thunderbird. It's just what kids do. We're off to Disney later in the year and can't wait. Enjoy your trip!

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    1. Ah how cute! Mine all love Darth Vader! Thank you xx

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  6. So does that mean he can go do the princess experience?? Will you please upload pictures of it if he does? I am so moved by this.

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    1. Yes he can, Disney have apologised and assured me he and all little boys are welcome! I sure will :) x

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  7. So does your son get to go to the princess event? Will you post pictures and let us know how it went? I am so moved by this entire story and 100% agree with everything you wrote.

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    1. Yes he can, Disney have apologised and assured me he and all little boys are welcome! I sure will and thank you!! Xx

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  8. What beautiful boys you have. I'm so glad you spoke out and Disney listened to you and admitted the initial response was wrong. The hypocrisy that still exists in the world is outrageous. Girls can be who they want to be, but boys can't? I can't imagine the damage that would have been done to me, as a tomboy to the core, had I been forced to only play with dolls (instead of Transformers) and wear the skirts I hated just because that is 'what girls do'. How worrying that boys today are still not extended the same freedom of self-expression. It's so sad about the trolling, and I feel sorry for their unfortunate offspring. Thank goodness this is another step on the road to acceptance for all.

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    1. Ah thank you so much <3 it is very worrying!! Thankfully there are more of us now than there are of those who wish the world to stay stuck in the past x

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  9. Thank you for speaking out about this! It broke my heart to think your son would be left with the idea that liking something 'girly' is wrong, or that he would miss out simply for being a boy. It shows just how early we start telling kids who they can be on the basis of their gender. The world would be a more positive place with more Noahs in it!

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  10. Well done on getting Disney to change their policy and educate their staff - that's no small thing you have achieved! I already follow your blog so when I read the article in the Daily Mail online and saw a comment saying 'blogger? Unemployed then' I did stick up for you knowing you are a very successful full time blogger and writer.

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    1. Ahh thank you! :) I didn't read any of the comments because lets face it, when the comments on Daily Mail anything other than sexist, racist and outdated?! xx

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  11. Hi! I read the article regarding this and Noah looked really familiar. This is a long shot but I used to work in Wagamama in meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield. I remember serving a lovely family with a little boy who had an Elsa dress on with the brightest blonde hair. I remember him being so sweet and polite and if this was Noah, please know he made my day that day.

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    1. Ah possibly! We travel a lot because of my job so we're all over the place! xx

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  12. Well done lovely! Good on you for standing up for what you believe in and standing up for Noah! I absolutely love and live by that quote! So sorry you had to deal with people's nastiness though, unfortunately not everyone can be a good person. xx

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  13. Well done for being the change you want to see in the world! Amazing that you've got Disney to alter their webpage. Easier said than done, but try to ignore the trolls. Anyone who ever made a real change had their own trolls to deal with, doesn't make it right at all though! Keep up the good work.

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  14. So pleased you got the outcome you should have had. With regards to the gentleman I hope to goodness his kids never want to cosplay as it is huge at the moment and boys dress as girls and vice versa. If a costume is too feminine for a guy they gender bend it and for example make a male version of Elsa but still keep it true to who Elsa is. I bet you your son is a cosplayer when he is older.

    Also my son when he was a babe loved the colour pink, walked around naked as much as he could and his fave toys were a hoover, shopping trolley and brushing my hair where as my eldest loved action men and as it turns out my eldest is bisexual and my youngest is into military stuff, guns and likes women only! (Both are adults now) so it just proves that whatever you let your kid do when they are younger that’s against the norm does not mean they are going to grow us bad. Big hugs n love n light x

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    1. Ahh maybe! That is so cute and it just goes to show peoples ideas about this sort of stuff are so outdated and often completely wrong xxx

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  15. You are an amazing mother! the world needs more people like you :)

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  16. I admire what you did. Congrats.
    But I've got a question: Disney said that the Princess for a day was an experience available to all children from 3 to 12 years old... And Noah is 2, right?
    Would he get the chance to participate?

    Best regards from Mexico.

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    1. Yes, we'll be there after turns 3 so he'll be old enough :) x

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  17. This is so well written!! High fives to you Hayley - YOU did it xxx

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  18. You're an amazing mother and an example to follow! You said it, we need to be the change we wish to see in the world. I'm from Chile, Latin America, and I have a little girl of five years old, and...she love batman! our children need to be what they want to be, and the world must let them be happy! thank you for being brave!

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