‘Andi Mack’ makes LGBTQ history

Disney’s first recurring gay storyline

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Photo by Victoria Van

Story by Madison Brown, entertainment editor

Disney did it. On Oct. 27, the season two premiere of the TV show “Andi Mack” featured the franchise’s first-ever coming-out scene. Although this moment was only a minuscule scene in the hour-long episode, it took a monumental step in the company’s pursuit to head in a more modern direction.

Season one was a whirlwind of revelations for the characters in “Andi Mack.” The series commenced with main character Andi (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) finding out that her big sister, Bex, was actually her mother. While Andi tried to cope with this new and unexpected information, her best friends, Buffy (Sofia Wylie) and Cyrus (Joshua Rush), were starting to learn more about themselves. Buffy practiced containing her competitive nature in order to improve current friendships and forge new ones; Cyrus embraced his “feminine” personality, finding reassurance that he is loved just the way he is, despite his lack of “manliness.”

Season two picked up right where the previous season left off– with Andi’s family problems settled and the further exploration of the budding relationship between Andi and her crush. During the season’s premiere episode, 13-year-old Cyrus Goodman begins his journey of self-discovery when he confesses his attraction to the same boy Andi is interested in. While struggling to find the words to come clean about his newly discovered sexuality to Buffy, Cyrus is met with astounding support and acceptance from his best friend. Buffy immediately brushes off any apologies from Cyrus, stating that “[he’s] no different.” Cyrus then attempts to figure out how to quietly break the news to his girlfriend without revealing his secret to others just yet.

“Andi Mack” has joined the line of Disney’s past attempts to reinvent and develop their network. The sitcom “Good Luck Charlie” was the first from the network to feature lesbian parents. Subsequently, “Beauty and the Beast” adopted a gay version of the character LeFou. The latest attempt at inclusiveness was evident in the children’s TV series “Doc McStuffins,” which also featured lesbian parents.

The reason “Andi Mack” is so groundbreaking is because of the fact that it marks the first time that Disney has created a gay storyline for a main character. Their past attempts have not been directly publicized by their franchise or occurred in more than one scene or episode. But this narrative is here to stay; Cyrus will continue to develop his sexuality throughout the rest of the series.

While struggling to find the words to come clean about his newly discovered sexuality to Buffy, Cyrus is met with astounding support and acceptance from his best friend. ”

— Brown

To ensure that the plotline would be portrayed in a sensitive and respectful way, Disney enlisted the counsel of child development experts. Additionally, the network consulted the Parents and Families of Lesbians and Gays organization (PFLAG)– the U.S.’s largest LGBTQ organization.

“Coming out requires honest self-reflection, no small amount of bravery and a safe place with at least one trusted person,” PFLAG executive director Dr. Jaime Grant said.

Progress can be good. However, there will always be people to find fault with change. Kenya has recently banned all television stations from airing “Andi Mack” due to Cyrus’ newfound sexuality. The executive chief of Kenya’s Film Classification Board, Ezekiel Mutua, affirmed that “any attempt to introduce gay programming in Kenya will be met with the full force of the law.”

“Homosexuality goes against the collective and values of the people of Kenya,” Mutua said. “Children must be given correct information that family is a union between people of opposite gender.”

“Andi Mack” has notably been the show to break the mold of all Disney Channel stereotypes. With a storyline consisting of a biracial family, a strong female lead and now a gay character, Disney Channel has taken great strides to expand their definition of a relatable, family-friendly sitcom. Because of this, their audience, especially those coming to terms with their identity and sexuality, couldn’t be more appreciative.