In the last few years, we’ve seen more and more TV shows introduce LGBTQ+ characters into their stories. Queer characters have been there for some time. But it’s been a journey from being a caricature to having actual story arcs. From “Steven Universe” to Todd Chavez on “Bojack Horseman”, these characters are anything but the token queer.
Last Thursday, Disney Channel announced that the premiere of the second season of “Andi Mack” would bring a gay character arc. Disney has been shyer than other networks when it comes to representation: Ryan from “High School Musical” was never officially gay, LeFou from “Beauty and the Beast” barely counts, and the two moms on “Good Luck Charlie” were a very small plot point.
On the other hand, this story arc will mark the channel’s first depiction of a coming-out journey. As told to Deadline, the character, Cyrus, will begin his self-discovery on the second season’s premiere.
“(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,” said Disney Channel’s statement.
“Andi Mack” is one of Disney Channel’s most popular shows. It’s a story about tweens figuring out who they are, and it has already dealt with some intense issues. In the first season, Andi finds out that the person she thought was her older sister is actually her mother.
The writers also worked with GLAAD, PFLAG, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, and Common Sense Media to make sure the content would be age appropriate for the character and realistic.
“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.
This news is exciting because it’s extremely important that queer content is present in all-ages shows. Reserving gay storylines for teen and adult shows takes away young gay children’s opportunity to normalize and accept their feelings. Television reflects the real life world, and that includes queer people. LGBTQ+ youth deserve to see their lives depicted in a positive way on their favorite shows.