“Andi Mack” and Representation

In April of this year, Disney Channel premiered the show, Andi Mack, To simplify the plot, it follows the story of a young girl, Andi, who discovers that who she believed was her sister is actually her mother. A show dealing with the concept of teenage pregnancy and a single mother was a huge step for Disney Channel, and was met with a bit of controversy when it premiered. However, the show does seem to be generally well-received and, as a casual watcher, I find it to be very realistic and tasteful in dealing with what would be a “mature” topic, at least for Disney.

Now, Disney, with this very same show, has taken another large step by announcing that one of the main characters, a friend of Andi’s named Cyrus, will be the first main character in Disney history to be openly gay.

Now, Disney has had non-heterosexual characters before; a child with two mothers in Good Luck Charlie, same-sex kisses in Star Vs. The Forces of Evil, and most recently with LeFou in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. But they have never had a character who is deeply rooted in the plot of the show portrayed this way.

Without giving away too much of the first season’s plot, Andi is interested in a boy at her school, Jonah, who does seem to be interested in her as well. This is explored throughout the first season. With this announcement, the second season, episode 1 preview, and certain scenes in season 1, it appears that Cyrus is also realizing his interest in Jonah. Disney states that he will be coming out to his friends, and that the response will be one that is positive and encouraging.

In a public statement, Disney stated that “Andi Mack is a story about ‘tweens’ figuring out who they are…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.” On an Instagram post from Joshua Rush, who plays Cyrus, he expresses his pride and excitement to be portraying Cyrus in his groundbreaking story.

Andi Mack season 2 premiered tonight, October 27, 2017, at 8 p.m. EST. I am watching along, eagerly watching Cyrus’ journey and cheering him on, as all deserved to be cheered on in an endeavor like this.

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