Disney Channel is getting ready to make history. The Andi Mack season 2 premiere, which is set for this Friday, will feature the first ever gay storyline in the history of the network. Disney Channel has featured gay characters before on single episodes, but never over the course of a developing story arc. Here's what a Disney spokesperson had to say about it.
"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."
Andi Mack, which was created by Terri Minsky, centers on a 13-year-old girl named Andi, played by Peyton Elizabeth Lee and her interactions with friends and family. In the upcoming season 2 premiere, Andi is sorting out her feelings for her classmate Jonah (Asher Angel). Her friend Cyrus coincidentally realizes that he also has feelings for Jonah and confesses this to Andi's friend Buffy (Sofia Wylie). This will begin a multi-episode arc of self-discovery for Cyrus, who will ultimately find self-acceptance. Here's what GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis had to say.
"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. 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."
Disney Channel and Terri Minsky consulted with child development experts while putting together this groundbreaking storyline. They also screened it in advance for Common Sense Media, GLAAD and PFLAG. Andi Mack is one of the network's top-rated shows and is the number one series among young girls. So there's a lot of responsibility to handle this in the right way. Here's what PFLAG executive director Dr. Jaime M. had to say.
"Sharing one's innermost self can be challenging, and to do so as an adolescent can be particularly so, especially when in the midst of figuring it out for yourself. Coming out requires honest self-reflection, no small amount of bravery and a safe place with at least one trusted person, a friend, a parent, a teacher, who can hold your confidence ... and your heart. Andi Mack's creative team captures this moment of revelation with such thought, care and authenticity; it will be a memory moment for some, and a teachable moment for many."
Since Disney Channel is such a strong brand for young viewers, this season of Andi Mack is sure to have an impact. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, Disney, in it's written policy regarding stories and characters puts an emphasis on inclusion "with stories that reflect acceptance and tolerance and celebrate the differences that make our characters uniquely wonderful in their own way." Even though this is an important and landmark storyline for Disney Channel, it's sure to cause some controversy and backlash.