Andi Mack, one of Disney Channel’s most popular shows, will break new ground in its Season 2 premiere Friday, revealing that one of its main characters, a middle schooler, is gay.
The series, conceived by Lizzie McGuire creator Terri Minsky, focuses on a 13-year-old girl, Andi (played by Peyton Lee), and her best friends Cyrus and Buffy (Joshua Rush and Sofia Wylie) as they navigate growing up. On tomorrow’s episode, Cyrus will realize that he has feelings for Andi’s longtime crush on the show. This will be a first for Disney Channel, which has never before depicted a character discovering that he or she is gay.
Andi Mack has never been a traditional show by Disney standards. The pilot established that the person Andi thought was her older sister is actually her mother, who had abandoned her at birth. Despite veering from the Disney formula, it has been a tremendous hit for the network, ranking as 2017’s top TV series to date among girls 6-11, girls 9-14 and girls 6-14. The average viewer is 10 years old.
The move to confirm Cyrus as gay (something the show hinted at during the first season) is bound to cause some controversy among select viewers, but it was quickly praised by LGBTQ groups.
“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 in a statement. “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.”