Disney Channel’s hit new show Andi Mack is creating a lot of buzz lately thanks to a story line involving a gay character coming out. The coming-of-age comedy centers around 13-year-old Andi (played by newcomer Peyton Elizabeth Lee) as she navigates through puberty. Andi Mack was created by Terri Minsky, whose previous works include the widely popular Lizzie McGuire show starring Hilary Duff.
In the season 2 premiere of Andi Mack, Andi’s friend Cyrus (Joshua Rush) begins a journey of his own as he “comes out” to his close friend after withholding his feelings for so long. The story line involving a gay character is a first for Disney Channel, as Cyrus becomes the first-ever LGBT character in the network’s history.
Gay Character on ‘Andi Mack’ ‘Comes Out’ in Season 2 Premiere
Andi Mack Season 2 opens with Cyrus in a diner. He’s asked his BFF, Buffy, to meet him there so he can let something off his chest. When Buffy urges her friend to spit out whatever’s bothering him, the tween takes a deep breath and confirms that he has developed feelings for his fellow classmate Jonah.
The heartwarming story of the gay character on Andi Mack comes after the blockbuster film Beauty and the Beast made headlines early this year for featuring an openly gay LeFou (Josh Gad). The Disney animated series Star vs. the Forces of Evil also made history after same-sex background characters were shown kissing.
The G-rated High School Musical has alluded that the character of Ryan Evans could be gay as well. In fact, director Kenny Ortega and actor Lucas Grabeel asked Disney if they could make Sharpay’s equally sassy twin gay. Unfortunately, their idea was turned down, as Disney execs thought it was inappropriate for the target audience.
However, seeing the huge shift in tide happen in Andi Mack, it looks like Disney Channel is finally becoming more inclusive. The bold move paid off in numbers. Andi Mack Season 2 premiered with big ratings, a staggering 72% higher than its first season. The episode also became the No. 1 TV telecast in its time slot.
Disney Gets Praised for Introduction of Gay Character on ‘Andi Mack’
“Andi Mack is a story about ‘tweens’ figuring out who they are,” Disney Channel wrote in a statement released earlier this week. “Everyone involved in the show takes great care in ensuring that it’s appropriate for all audiences and sends a powerful message about inclusion and respect for humanity.”
Advocate groups like GLAAD and The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy have praised the channel and the show-runners for the introduction of the gay character.