The popular kids series "Andi Mack" gets a coming out arc.
The Disney entertainment universe, including the realm of Pixar, haven’t blatantly made any of their characters gay, until now.
In the Disney Channel show Andi Mack, 13-year-old and best friend to the show’s namesake Cyrus is about to make the network's history as he becomes not only the first confirmed gay Disney character but one who has a coming-out arc.
“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.”
The popularity of Disney Channel programming has been a beacon for pubescent teens extending back to the days of Even Stevens, Lizzie McGuire and Hannah Montana at the turn of the century.
Andi Mack has a similar glossy feel, complete with a catchy theme song, and stylized main character who rocks a pixie cut and signature barrettes.
She is a tween with two best friends: Cyrus and Buffy. The three of them traverse through modern problems as they learn lessons and help each other get through some of the conflicts being a teenager presents.
An early plot twist exposes a rather shocking development between Andi and her sister. This turns out to be a life-changer for Andi.
Meanwhile, the title character has a crush on classmate Jonah Beck, but in the season two premiere, we discover that Cyrus does too.
“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,” 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.”
Considering that Disney has a safety net for these types of storylines in their Freeform Network, formerly ABC Family, which produces the highly popular "The Fosters" it's refreshing to see the company discussing these real-life issues with their younger viewers.
Jaime M. Grant, Executive Director, PFLAG National, said, “Sharing one’s innermost self can be challenging, and to do so as an adolescent can be particularly so, especially when in the midst of figuring it out for yourself. Coming out requires honest self-reflection, no small amount of bravery, and a safe place with at least one trusted person – a friend, a parent, a teacher – who can hold your confidence…and your heart. Andi Mack’s creative team captures this moment of revelation with such thought, care, and authenticity; it will be a memory moment for some, and a teachable moment for many.”
The second season of Andi Mack premieres Friday, October 27 at 8 pm ET/PT on Disney Channel.