While the network has featured gay characters before, in a single episode of both Good Luck, Charlie and the animated Doc McStuffins, this marks the first time Disney Channel has introduced its viewers to a main character who is embarking on such a journey of self-discovery.
“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.”
Do you think it's to early for Cyrus to come out? Theyre only 13
No, I don’t think thirteen is too young. I had three friends come out when I was thirteen (one as gay, one as bi, and one as lesbian). And that was back in 2004.
I think the whole “they’re too young to know they’re not straight” belief is a bit homophobic (whether intentional or not) and contributes to the misperception that being LGBT is inherently sexualized, even amongst kids. It’s gross. When a young girl has a crush on a boy (or vice versa) on screen (or irl too, but I’m focusing on how this stuff is depicted in the media), the reaction from the audience is generally “aww how cute”, not “well she’s still pretty young/are we sure she likes him?/she’s too young to know her sexuality/stop sexualizing children!!”. But when a young boy has a harmless crush on another boy (or girl and girl), instead of affording them the same reaction of “aww how cute”, there’s a tendency to equate that harmless crush with grown up sexuality. But sexuality is something that develops across the lifespan. When you’re in middle school, typically, it’s crushes and kissing, not sex. And if we can acknowledge that sexuality isn’t that explicitly sexual yet when we’re children for straight children, then we should be able to acknowledge that for LGBT children as well.
If Cyrus realizes/admits/says he has a crush on Jonah, it should be viewed the same way as viewers view Andi’s crush on Jonah: a cute middle school crush and not a big deal. The only big deal is the fact that children’s programming would finally get an openly gay (or bi) main character and finally have some good representation that’s sorely lacking.
Today’s Action: Thanks to Disney and "Andi Mack" for LGBTQ+ teen representation on TV
How many times, when growing up, have LGBTQ+ people looked at the characters on TV and wished that we were represented too? For some reading this, our early years had no LGBTQ+ representation. For others, it was always the gay character who was the deranged serial killer. Some may have even been lucky to grow up in the age of “Will & Grace”. One of us remembers rushing home every summer afternoon in the early 90’s to watch Ryan Philippee as “Billy Douglas” on One Life to Live star in a short coming out storyline. Accurate, compassionate, unsensational, intellectually and emotionally stable LGBTQ+ representation has always been a hard target to hit.
So colour us surprised and very happy when Disney decided to up their game and introduce a young teen coming out story in Season 2 of “Andi Mack”. In the upcoming series, Cyrus, played by actor Joshua Rush, will begin the coming out process. The ongoing story arch will explore all of the issues along this journey of self discovery. This is a monumental step for viewers of this Disney Channel series to see themselves and their struggles represented. To see that they are not alone in their thoughts, fears, hopes, and expectations. To see someone else who is just like you can be a powerful support tool for an at risk youth demographic dealing with a complex and difficult issue.
Being seen; being represented; not feeling alone. This can save lives.
For Today’s Action let’s give our thanks and support to the Disney Channel, the cast of “Andi Mack” and especially Joshua Rush for standing up to make a difference in the life of LGBTQ+ youth. You can retweet our tweet HERE, or send your own tweet using the links above.
Yeah, Andi Mack is fun, though I’ll be very upset if Cyrus doesn’t come out/get confirmed as gay soon, I’m so sick of TV shows coding a character as gay but coyly never confirming it just to string along LGBT fans
I just saw a trailer for season two of Andi Mack aND I KID YOU NOT it showed Cyrus uncomfortable in his heterosexual relationship aND BUFFY ASKED CYRUS IF HE WAS HAPPY FOR ANDI AND JONAH BECK AND HE SAID “yeah” IN THE MOST UNBELIEVABLE WAY WHILE LOOKING LIKE HE WAS ABOUT TO CRY. CYRUS BEING GAY (Or bi) AND I FEEL SO SAD I WANNA HUG HIM AND TELL HIM ITLL BE OKAY
So I’m watching this show designated for 11-14 year olds and I feel no regrets because the main character is asian and there’s a possibly gay/possibly bi/possibly queer character on the show in the process of coming out and realizing his sexual orientation.