The Disney Channel is set to introduce the first ever gay storyline to feature in one of the network’s shows.
Viewers will see 13-year-old Cyrus Goodman, played by Joshua Rush, coming to terms with his sexuality in the first episode of the second series of the hugely popular ‘Andi Mack’, due to air on Friday (27 October).
The show, popular with 6-14-year-olds, launched earlier this year and quickly became the most popular series across all of Disney’s platforms, including its UK channel.
Viewers will see Cyrus confessing to a friend that he has feelings for Andi’s crush, Jonah, before embarking on a journey of self-discovery as he works out how to tell his girlfriend.
Disney Channel said in a statement: “Andi Mack is a story about ‘tweens’ figuring out who they are. [Creator] 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.”
Walt Disney Co. added: “Disney remains committed to continuing to create characters that are accessible and relatable to all children.
The show’s producers spoke with child development experts ahead of the storyline and invited reps from organisations like GLAAD and PFLAG to a screening of the first episode ahead of its premiere.
GLAAD’s President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, said: “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.”