Earlier this year, Disney was at the center of a very public debate when it was revealed that a character in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast would be openly gay. While the LGBTQ+ community and allies praised the decision, there was also a homophobic response saying that kids shouldn’t be exposed to queer characters so young. When push came to shove, it was a very subtle, two-second suggestion that LeFou, played by Josh Gad, was gay when he danced with another man at the end (though there was some homoerotic tension earlier on in the film with Gaston, for sure).
Well, it looks like some controversy isn’t stopping Disney from breaking down barriers with the recent announcement that for the very first time in the network’s history, a main character on a Disney Channel original series called Andi Mack would come out as gay during this upcoming season. Though it’s not the titular character who questions her sexuality, it’s her BFF, Cyrus, who discovers he has a crush on the same guy that Andi does.
“(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,” Disney Channel said in a public statement.
Josh Rush, who plays Cyrus, commented on his new storyline on Instagram saying, “Starting conversations about trust, love, relationships and family dynamics is easier when you have a show that you can relate to. 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. I’m so proud to bring Cyrus’ groundbreaking storyline to life and for you to see what we’ve been working on.” We’re so proud, too!
The decision comes with the help and support from LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations such as PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and GLAAD. The President and CEO of the latter organization, Sarah Kate Ellis said, “With more and more young people coming out as LGBTQ, Andi Mack is reflecting the lives and lived experiences of so many LGBTQ youth around the country.”
Rightfully so, many fans of Disney Channel are beyond psyched about the news:
#AndiMack having a tween coming to terms with his sexuality on DISNEY CHANNEL makes me so proud. This is going to save so many lives.
— Marshal FRIGHT (@Marshal_Knight) October 25, 2017
— anilu loves seb (@multixdolan) October 26, 2017
— Ash McDermott (@ash_mcde) October 26, 2017
I haven’t watched a Disney show in a little over 5 years , this is going to impact so many LGBT kids growing up. AMAZING 😩❤️ #AndiMack
— 🤷🏼♂️ ᴵˢᴬᴬᶜ 👀 (@isaacislameaf) October 26, 2017
Others, however, are saying this plot arc has been hinted at even during season one:
— tae // TOMORROW (@toxIctaae) October 25, 2017
Pls don’t act like y’all didn’t know Cyrus was gay #AndiMack
— Taylor ✨ (@taylorjanae13) October 26, 2017
Tbh , I KNEW that Cyrus was gay .. but now that they’re coming out with it .. it’s beautiful !! pic.twitter.com/YvYFFuj7AX
— Kayla (@itzkaylabtw) October 26, 2017
Season two of Andi Mack premieres on October 27, 2017 and it’s safe to say the show will have a lot of eyes watching. Here’s to hoping Cyrus’s representation does the LGBTQ+ community proud. We can’t wait to see what happens.