Friday, May 24, 2024

Andi Mack Makes Disney Channel History with Gay Character

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The Disney Channel appears to finally take the plunge and have a lead LGBT character on one of its shows. Fitting that it’s Andi Mack, a show that was making waves for its more mature subject matter right out of the gate.

Andi Mack premiered on Disney this year, in April. Created by Terri Minsky (of Lizzie McGuire fame), the show follows Andi’s (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) discovery that her older sister, Bex (Lilian Bowden), is actually her mother, and that the people she thought were her mother and father are actually grandparents that have been raising her in Bex’s absence. Like we said, not your typical Disney fare. The first season received positive reviews and was renewed with its fall premiere scheduled for this Friday.

And now it appears that the show will be kicking off its second season with a one-hour episode, detailing Andi’s friend Cyrus (Joshua Rush) and his growing realization that he has feelings for another boy. Cyrus’ realization ultimately sets him off on a journey of self-acceptance.

Disney released a statement on the episode and character direction.

For more than 90 years, The Walt Disney Company has been home to some of the world’s most beloved characters and cherished stories. Disney holds a special place in the hearts of millions of people because our themes and characters are universal, relatable and relevant to everyone. The Disney brand has always been inclusive, with stories that reflect acceptance and tolerance and celebrate the differences that make our characters uniquely wonderful in their own way. We constantly strive to live up to that legacy by continuing to create and share compelling storylines from our studios and media networks that entertain with inspirational and aspirational themes and reflect the incredibly rich diversity of the human experience. Our stories are timeless because they speak to the heart; our characters appeal to children across gender, ability, and experience because they’re defined by kindness, loyalty, humor, courage, wit and other traits that make a good friend. Disney remains committed to continuing to create characters that are accessible and relatable to all children.

Andi Mack joins a growing number of “family friendly” shows that have included LGBT characters, including Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe, Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra, and Netflix’s One Day at a Time. The show also went to great lengths to consult with LGBT groups including GLAAD and PFLAG, wanting to sensitively and accurately tell Cyrus’ story.

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.

-Dr. Jamie M. Grant, PFLAG National Director

The episode airs Oct 27 at 8 pm, ET on the Disney Channel.

Image courtesy of Walt Disney

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