Disney Channel is preparing to air its first gay storyline.
Andi Mack's second season premiere will feature one of the show's main characters, Cyrus (Joshua Rush), beginning to realize he has feelings for a male classmate.
The episode, which airs on Friday, shows Andi (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) sorting out her feelings for her classmate Jonah (Asher Angel), while Cyrus realizes that he, too, has feelings for Jonah. Cyrus confides in his and Andi's best friend, Buffy (Sofia Wylie), as he struggles to determine how to tell his new girlfriend. Buffy's reaction is intended to serve as a positive example for both children and adults.
"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," a Disney Channel spokesperson said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
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While gay characters have previously appeared on Disney Channel on shows like Good Luck Charlie and Doc McStuffins, the storyline of a young character realizing that he or she is gay is a first for the network.
Disney Channel and Minsky both worked with child development experts in formulating the premiere's arc. The episode was also pre-screened for several organizations, like Common Sense Media, GLAAD and PFLAG.
"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," GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis told THR. "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."
"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," added PFLAG executive director Dr. Jaime M. Grant. "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."
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