Disney Channel is breaking new ground. In a first for the kiddie network, a gay storyline will be introduced as a main character begins to realize that he has feelings for a same-sex classmate. The groundbreaking story arc will be featured on the series Andi Mack.
The Season 2 premiere of Andi Mack, titled “Hey, Who Wants Pizza?” will feature 13-year-old character Cyrus (Joshua Rush) realizing that he has feelings for his classmate Jonah (Asher Angel). According to the Hollywood Reporter, Cyrus will confide in pal Buffy (Sofia Wylie) as his journey to self-discovery and self-acceptance as a gay teen plays out in subsequent episodes. Cyrus’ ongoing story will include his difficult decision to tell his new girlfriend Iris (Molly Jackson) that he has feelings for Jonah.
In a statement about the history-making Andi Mack storyline, a Disney Channel spokesperson said Terri Minsky’s coming-of-age series is all about “tweens figuring out who they are.”
“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,” the Disney Channel rep said.
Fifteen-year-old actor Joshua Rush, who plays the Andi Mack character Cyrus, took to Instagram to tell fans he is honored to be part of such an important story arc.
“Starting conversations about trust, love, relationships and family dynamics is easier when you have a show that you can relate to,” Rush wrote.
“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.”
Disney Channel and Andi Mack fans have had a strong reaction to news that Cyrus will come out as gay. While much of the reaction has been positive, some viewers have slammed the Disney Channel for allowing a gay storyline to play out and have threatened to boycott the show.
#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
Andi Mack's second season hasn't even started and they already have a gay Jewish tween amongst their very diverse cast. That's so great.— ً (@sassytoilet) October 26, 2017
If an adult wants to choose a different lifestyle then that's their choice, but do not push this nonsense on our children #AndiMack— David Nisbet (@davidnisbet87) October 26, 2017
This is disgusting.. @disney is having one of the main characters on andi mack gay, which is cyrus.... this is unacceptable... they are shoving the LGBT agenda down children's throat... Now i can't even watch the show.. smh, this was a good show too...— Makell Rose (@RoseMakell) October 26, 2017
I'm sorry, what's up with Disney and promoting homosexuality at every turn. Cruises, Gay Day, now Andi Mack. Was Walt secretly gay or what?— vbspurs (@vbspurs) October 26, 2017
While the Andi Mack arc will be the first-ever gay storyline for a Disney Channel series, it is not the first time a gay character has appeared on a show on the kid-centric network. Earlier this year, a single episode of the animated series Doc McStuffins featured a two-mom family (Wanda Sykes, Portia de Rossi). And in 2014, the sitcom Good Luck Charlie aired an episode that briefly introduced a gay couple on Disney Channel, which was a first for the network.
Andi Mack previously broke ground when it made its debut earlier this year as a show about a biracial family with an unmarried teen mom. In the premiere, 13-year-old Andi (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) learned that Bex, whom she thought was her older sister, is actually her mother. Now, the Disney Channel series goes even further as it explores issues that teens deal with in the real world.
You can see a trailer for the new season of Andi Mack below.
The second season of Andi Mack premieres Friday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. EST on Disney Channel.
[Featured Image by Fred Hayes/Disney Channel]