Disney's 'Andi Mack' Breaks Ground With First Gay Tween Storyline

by Sarah Hosseini
Image via Disney

The character will come out as gay in the second season

This is a major first for the Disney Channel. The network’s popular tween series, Andi Mack, will reveal that one of the main characters is gay in the new season. The show will chronicle his coming out story for several episodes.

If you’re not familiar with the show, it features a 13-year-old girl named Andi and her friends who are on their individual paths of tween self-discovery. This season, Andi’s friend in the show 13-year-old Cyrus Goodman (Joshua Rush), will realize he has feelings for another boy, according to Deadline. This isn’t the first time a gay character has been introduced on the show, but it’s the first time that a prominent character’s journey through coming out will be portrayed onscreen.

“Andi Mack is a story about ‘tweens’ figuring out who they are,” said Disney Channel in a statement. “(Creator) Terri Minsky, the cast and 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.”

Rush, who plays Cyrus, talked about the upcoming season and the storyline in a heart-felt Instagram post.

“Starting conversations about trust, love, relationships and family dynamics is easier when you have a show that you can relate to,” he writes. “Andi Mack gives young people and their parents, mentors, and champions a meaningful way to talk about these topics and the power to decide their futures.”

Elizabeth Peyton Lee, who plays Andi, echoed those statements on Instagram as well. “We include. We support. We love. Everyone. No matter what. Not despite, but because of their differences. There is no us. There is no they. There is only we,” she writes.

She adds, “Andi Mack celebrates the human spirit. In all of its glory. Hopefully our portrayal of a couple of teenagers living real lives and feeling real feelings inspires people to participate in conversations vital to any healthy relationship.”

They’re both exactly right. Having a major network represent a very real experience for kids is so powerful and validating. We can’t say this enough, but representation matters. Somewhere out there a tween boy or girl is realizing they’re gay, but they’re keeping silent because they feel like they can’t tell anyone. This show can inspire them to be unapologetically who they are and seek support in places they might need it.

Many LGBTQ groups got a pre-screening of the show including the GLAAD, which aims to change the narratives in television and broadcasting to be more culturally inclusive. CEO Kate Ellis praised the series for reflecting the lives and lived experiences of so many LGBTQ youth around the country,” according to HuffPost.

“Television reflects the real life world and today that includes LGBTQ youth who deserve to see their lives depicted on their favorite shows,” Ellis said. “Disney has been a leader in LGBTQ inclusion and there are so many young people who will be excited to see Cyrus’ story unfold.”

Another thumbs up came from PFLAG’s National Executive Direction Dr. Jaime Grant who said Andi Mack captured the coming out experience with “thought, care, and authenticity.”

“It will be a memory moment for some,” Grant added, “and a teachable moment for many.”

Season two premieres tonight, Friday, at 8PM EST.