Disney has previously featured same-sex characters in episodes of its kids shows, such as Good Luck Charlie, Doc McStuffins and Star vs the Forces of Evil, but an upcoming storyline in Andi Mack will mark the first time a character comes out through a series arc.
The series centres around 13-year-old Andi (Peyton Elizabeth Lee), her family and her two best friends, Cyrus (Joshua Rush) and Buffy (Sofia Wylie).
The second-season begins with Andi awkwardly sorting out her feelings for her classmate Jonah (Asher Angel). At the same time, Cyrus, also 13, realises that he, too, has feelings for Jonah and confides in Buffy. The Hollywood Reporter notes this kicks off his journey to self-acceptance.
“Andi Mack is a story 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,” Disney said in a statement.
Disney also sought guidance from child development experts plus the advocacy groups Common Sense Media, GLAAD and PFLAG.
“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 GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Television reflects the real-life world, and today that includes LGBTQ youth who deserve to see their lives depicted on their favourite 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.”
Andi Mack also airs in Australia on Disney.