For the first time in the network’s history, the Disney Channel will feature a character’s coming out journey. Andi Mack, a teen dramedy, follows the title character (played by Peyton Elizabeth Lee) and her friends on their coming-of-age journey, starting with Mack’s discovery that the woman she’s always known as her sister is actually her mother. One friend, 13-year-old Cyrus (played by Joshua Rash, who is 15) will discover he has feelings for a boy, beginning a period of accepting himself as gay.
According to Deadline, creator Terri Minsky worked with child development experts in writing the arc “to ensure the story arc is age-appropriate and respectful.” The episode has been screened to organizations including GLAAD, PFLAG and The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, who praised the show.
With more and more young people coming out as LGBTQ, <em>Andi Mack</em> is reflecting the lives and lived experiences of so many LGBTQ youth around the country,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “Television reflects the real life world and today that includes LGBTQ youth who deserve to see their lives depicted on their favorite shows. Disney has been a leader in LGBTQ inclusion and there are so many young people who will be excited to see Cyrus’ story unfold.”
While Disney has, in recent years, embraced and included gay side characters — lesbian co-parents on Good Luck Charlie, a same-gender kiss on Star vs. the Forces of Evil — this will be the network’s first-ever gay main character and first storyline dedicated to coming out.
Season 2 of Andi Mack premieres Friday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m./7 central.