Disney Channel Character Comes Out as Gay in Season Premiere

Disney Channel Character Comes Out as Gay in Season Premiere

Corey McConnaughy, Contributing Writer

WARNING: The following article contains Andi Mack spoilers.

Growing up, Disney Channel ran a handful of great shows I simply couldn’t bear to miss a single episode of. Sitcoms such as That’s So Raven, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, and Lizzie McGuire had great comedy and even approaches to teaching kids about serious topics including smoking and body dysmorphic disorder. I can’t talk about Disney Channel without mentioning their animated series. Kim Possible, Phineas and Ferb, The Proud Family, House of Mouse, and The Weekenders easily made my must-watch list. I could talk about its original TV movies, but I’ll save that for another time.

On April 7 this year, a new kid on the Friday block made her debut and won over a million viewers, and her name is Andi Mack. With a target audience comprised of kids and teens ages 9 to 16, the family-friendly dramedy depicts the titular character (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) as she embarks on a journey through adolescence with the help of her best friends—Buffy (Sofia Wylie) and Cyrus (Joshua Rush)—and her family.

I had my fair share of profound teen memories, but they were nothing out of the ordinary: moving to another state during high school, realizing I wanted to pursue media and acting in college and adulthood, being hired for my first job, etc. However, Andi Mack caught everyone off guard (me included!) in the pilot episode when her older sister, Rebecca (nicknamed “Bex,” played by Lilan Bowden), confessed to Andi that she’s actually her mother. “No… that’s not true! That’s impossible!” you may be saying to yourself, but it doesn’t stop there, young Padawan!

Remember one of Andi’s sidekicks, Cyrus? Well, he had a confession to make too in the season two premiere, “Hey, Who Wants Pizza?,” which aired on October 27 of this year. In the episode, the Andi Mack Community Wikia mentions that he “introduces his girlfriend, Iris (Molly Jackson), to Buffy and Andi, but he seems uncomfortable around her.” Andi’s crush-turned-boyfriend, Jonah (Asher Angel), asks her, Cyrus, and Buffy to a party held by their middle school’s ultimate frisbee team. When it ends, Cyrus wants to talk with Jonah, but he’s upset to find that Jonah exclusively wants to talk to Andi instead. Buffy notices what’s up and asks him if he has feelings for Andi, to which he declines. This leads Buffy to figure out he instead sees Jonah as more than his friend, but his crush, in turn coming out to her. “He tells Buffy that he feels weird and different,” says the Wikia, but her reply is lighthearted: “Cyrus, you’ve always been weird. But you’re no different.” The Wikia also states that she “makes sure [he] knows that she supports him and will always be there for him.”

ABC News says this episode makes Andi Mack the first Disney Channel program to “depict a character coming out as gay,” and I’m glad to say that there are other forms of entertainment which portray gay characters in a positive light, shows like Good Luck Charlie and The Loud House, and not to mention the viral animated short In a Heartbeat. What these representations serve as are role models—despite being fictitious—to viewers of all ages who either can’t find the words to describe their sexual identity or are petrified to come out themselves, and Disney’s approval of the episode may help them build the confidence to break free and turn their fears into pride.