‘Andi Mack’ Character To Come Out As Gay: A Disney Channel First

Discussion in 'Disney Chat' started by NutMeg, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. NutMeg

    NutMeg The Nefarious N.M.G.

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    I saw this headline today and was so thrilled! The episode premieres this Friday - I'll definitely be tuning in, and I hope some of you will, too. I think it's imperative to support these kinds of choices. If this episode is well-received by audiences, I'm sure the Mouse will take note! And hopefully that means more LGBTQ characters from Disney, including in feature films. :)


    ‘Andi Mack’ Character To Come Out As Gay: A Disney Channel First

    In a first for Disney Channel, a key character on its popular tween series Andi Mack will realize he’s gay and come out to his friends.

    The story arc will mark the channel’s first depiction of a coming-out journey. The character – 13-year-old Cyrus Goodman, played by 15-year-old Joshua Rush – will begin his self-discovery in this Friday’s second season one-hour premiere episode.

    “Andi Mack is a story about ‘tweens’ figuring out who they are,†said Disney Channel in a statement. “(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.â€

    The Walt Disney Co. released a general statement on stories and characters, which reads, in part, “Disney remains committed to continuing to create characters that are accessible and relatable to all children.†(Read that entire statement below.)

    The coming-of-age series, starring Peyton Elizabeth Lee as the 13-year-old title character, premiered in March, becoming the top series of the year among girls (median age is 10) and #1 in its time period among all children ages six-14. It holds the top series spot on Disney Channel VOD, Disney Channel’s DisneyNOW app and on Disney Channel UK.

    The series, launching on Disney Channels around the world through mid-2018, was created by executive producer Minsky (Lizzie McGuire), and follows Andi as she comes to terms with news that Bex, the girl she thought was her older sister, is actually her mother.

    With a realism not always evident on tween-focused programs, Andi Mack follows Andi, her family and her two best friends – Cyrus Goodman and Buffy Driscoll (Sofia Wylie) – as they navigate their lives.

    The new season finds Andi hoping that her parents Bex (Lilan Bowden) and Bowie (Trent Garrett) will marry, while she also attempts to hash out her feelings for longtime crush Jonah Beck (Asher Angel).

    But it’s another storyline that’s breaking Disney Channel ground: Cyrus begins to realize that he too has feelings for Jonah, a development that begins what a source describes as a journey to self-acceptance.

    In the season premiere, Cyrus confides his feelings to a supportive Buffy, a scene intended to provide positive role models for children – and adults – watching.

    Subsequent episodes will follow Cyrus’ ongoing story, which will include wrestling with how to tell his new girlfriend Iris.

    We hear Minsky and Disney Channel, to ensure the story arc is age-appropriate and respectful, consulted with child development experts and was screened to organizations including GLAAD, PFLAG, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, and Common Sense Media.

    The groups are effusive in their approval of the storyline:

    “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. “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.â€

    Jaime M. Grant, Executive Director, PFLAG National, said, “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.â€

    Said Ginny Ehrlich, CEO, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy: “Starting conversations about trust, love, relationships and family dynamics is easier when a favorite TV show like Andi Mack explores them with humor and heart, and helps viewers figure out how they might handle similar situations. Andi Mack gives young people and their parents, mentors and champions a meaningful way to talk about these topics and the power to decide their futures.â€

    The second season of Andi Mack premieres Friday, October 27 at 8 pm ET/PT on Disney Channel. Minsky exec-produces along with Michelle Manning. Phil Baker is the co-executive producer, and Horizon Productions is the production company.

    Here is the Walt Disney Co. general statement on its stories and characters:

  2. MerlinEmrys

    MerlinEmrys Hicitus Pinicus!

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    Well well! *pins this for later reading after class*. I'll be there. I think this is an important step for Disney. I hope they do it justice. :)
  3. AvatarAng1

    AvatarAng1 DPF Court Jester

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    I don't want to be rude, but why would anyone care about this?

    I feel like this is just a publicity stunt to get more eyes on the show.

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  4. pretty Omi

    pretty Omi Resident Smol Wolf

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    It could be publicity, sure, but the more gay characters in tv shows, the more "normal" is becomes. LGBTQ people are still fighting for rights every day, but getting more representation on tv shows, especially those aimed at a younger audience, can help those kids growing up, to feel like they're just like anyone else, to help kids understand that there's nothing wrong with it, to give them role models and characters to relate to closer, and to help the next generation grow up with less hatred in their hearts.
  5. Snoffsan

    Snoffsan Well-Known Member

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    THIS! You said it perfectly!
  6. MerlinEmrys

    MerlinEmrys Hicitus Pinicus!

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    This is actually a really big deal. Not just for all of the reasons that Omi gave, which are arguably the most important, but this is Disney. A huge, world renown, trend-setting corporation. This is one of the biggest opportunities for exposure the LGBTQ community has had, and from one of the most watched, main-stream companies in history. If Disney can pull this off without resorting to boiled-down stereotypes (*cough cough* The Real O'Neals / Glee / New Normal / anything Ryan Murphy has ever touched *cough cough*), then its one of the biggest steps in the right direction I think modern family media has taken.

    Honestly, if anything, this is a major risk for Disney. Plenty of countries who air this show will very likely pull it because of this decision. And plenty of religious groups--and thus a really large amount of family viewership--will denounce this and try to "boycott" it. There will always be politics and publicity involved, sure. But don't let that cynicism undercut how incredibly important this is for main-stream media and representation for the LGBTQ community. ;P <3
  7. NutMeg

    NutMeg The Nefarious N.M.G.

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    Perfectly said, both of you! I think for many of us (LGBTQ and LGBTQ allies), we don't view these decisions as controversial in the slightest. So it's easy to think of them as self-congratulatory ploys for publicity and praise. But as Merlin pointed out, there is definitely risk involved in this for Disney. A huge portion of their audience/customers are conservative families who view Disney as a squeaky-clean company that espouses "traditional values." I'm just waiting for the inevitable announcement that One Million Moms will be leading a boycott of Disney in response to this. I mean, if you go look at the comments on that Deadline article I linked to, there are plenty of positive responses, but there are just as many comments from outraged parents and grandparents who claim that their family will no longer be watching Disney Channel. Lots of vile nonsense about how Walt must be rolling in his grave, that Disney is promoting degeneracy, that the gay agenda is brainwashing children, etc... :banghead:

    But to be honest, does intent even really matter here? I mean, regardless of whether this is a sincere attempt at inclusiveness or a self-serving publicity stunt, it still doesn't change the fact that this is a big step in the right direction and will undoubtedly have a positive impact on many children/young adults who are struggling with these issues (as well as kids who have never really been exposed to LGBTQ people and perhaps need to learn to be more accepting. If they already like the show and relate to the characters, this is a huge opportunity to empathize with someone their age who is gay.) In addition to the bigoted comments on that article, there are also people expressing how they wish this had been depicted on a show when they were growing up, and how much it would've helped them. There's also a comment from a trans 14-year-old who has contemplated suicide, but who is ecstatic about this announcement. If this plot line resonates with just one LGBTQ kid and makes them feel better about themselves, it's absolutely worth celebrating and praising. :)
  8. NutMeg

    NutMeg The Nefarious N.M.G.

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  9. Sami

    Sami Well-Known Member

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    I always assumed he was the gay best friend... >.> my sister watches that show, she always thought he was the gay best friend too. I guess no change in our opinion of the show :p

    NOTE: The remainder of this post may be sad, disturbing and/or controversial, what has happened is true and the rest is my opinion.

    I did see some of those comments, oh my gosh sooo ignorant, such close minded thoughts people have. I can't believe some people still think this is a conscious choice people make, and that they can just change their mind and be 'normal'. Ignorance is probably one of my biggest pet peeves... i had an uncle who was gay, he's not with us anymore (he did commit suicide because he wasn't accepted the way he was) I also have a cousin who is gay he's still around, but I remember him having a hard time in his childhood, not in the family but in his every day life, he only recently came out a few years ago because of all the horrible things that were happening to people in the LBGTQ community. I had a friend who moved back here to CA because he was gay bashed and jumped multiple times when he was going to school in Utah. I had a friend who was beaten into a comma because he was a drag queen. I've had many friends in highschool who were afraid to say anything about their sexual orientation because of the backlash that others were getting for coming out.

    I'm not lesbian, or bisexual, but many of my friends are LGBTQ, it's sad that people are still fighting with them for being themselves. I think its good to educate children in positive ways on the differences in our society, and not to fear what you may not know or understand.
    I agree regardless of whether it's a publicity stunt or not, this can potentially help many children and/or adults who are confused or unsure of themselves. I feel like some of these parents/guardian's forget what it's like to be a kid, to go through changes in their body, brain, emotions, the psychological changes they go through during these points in their life (Jr.high and HighSchool). We learn about who we are through trial and error, but how can anyone learn about themselves if people are still insisting that they're wrong, or doing something bad or evil? I think it's a good step in the right direction, help people understand what it's like to go through something like that. I can only imagine how scary it may be for a young person to finally find themselves and be persecuted for it. (That is truly a very scary thought) People can say "sticks and stones may break my bones" but i say words will make you kill yourself. Words are a powerful thing, hitting someone may bruise their skin but words can haunt you for a lifetime.

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