The Disney Channel is set to premiere its first coming-out storyline of a 13-year-old boy on the hit show Andi Mack this week.
Rated the network’s #1 show for children ages 6 to 14, Andi Mack follows the story of a girl who discovers that the girl she thought was her older sister is actually her mother. Season 2 premieres this Friday and finds Andi hoping that her parents will get married.
But the drama doesn’t end there.
Young viewers will also watch as Andi’s best friend Cyrus, a key character in the show, realizes that he’s gay and has a crush on a fella named Jonah who Andi also has a crush on.
As the episodes unfolds, Cyrus will reportedly come out to a supportive mutual friend named Buffy, a scene intended “to provide positive role models for children — and adults — watching.”
Future episodes will apparently follow Cyrus’ “journey to self-acceptance” as he figures out how to tell his girlfriend Iris that he is indeed a homosexual.
According to Deadline Hollywood, The Disney Channel ran this plan by child development experts and screened the episodes to organizations including GLAAD, PFLAG, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, and Common Sense Media, who all thought this sounded like a perfect storyline for the six-to-fourteen year old audience members.
“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.”
The Walt Disney Co. released a general statement on its characters and storylines: