The Disney Company has continued its goal of inclusion of the LBGTQ+ community with the Disney Channel series “Andi Mack” which airs on Fridays at 8 pm. The series is the first Disney show or movie to include an LBGTQ+ storyline. Over this season “Andi Mack” will focus on main character Cyrus Goodman (Joshua Rush) coming out. The storyline holds very real emotions of coming out as part of the LBGTQ+ community, including the fear of telling people and feelings that you must hide it to fit in, shown through the eyes of Cyrus Goodman. According to ABC News the subsequent episodes of the season will deal with Cyrus’s “journey to self-acceptance as a gay person.”
Despite the controversy, in recent years the Disney Company has worked to include the LBGTQ+ community in its programming. This overall reflects Disney’s policy of inclusion seen throughout the company’s programming. Since 2013, Disney has included several LBGTQ+ characters, including movies such as Disney’s live action movie “Beauty and the Beast” and Disney Channel shows like “Doc McStuffins” and “Good Luck Charlie.”
“Andi Mack,” which focuses on a group of pre-teen friends finding out who they are, does not skip over issues such as teen pregnancy or coming out as gay. The series uses a mixture of humor and touching moments to reach its target audience. The series targeted for older children and pre-teens focuses on real issues and provides positive role models. In the after-segment, “Mack Chat,” actor Joshua Rush said, “I feel honored and excited to play such an important role. I just hope I can be a good enough role model.”
Showing a character who is in the LGBTQ+ community is not only a way to show inclusion and acceptance in Disney programming but it also gives young pre-teens, who might be struggling through the same thing, someone to look up to and hope that acceptance is possible. It gives them the knowledge that many people may be going through now, or have gone through already, similar situations.
Unlike adult shows that feature LGBTQ+ community characters, Disney has worked hard not to play into the stereotypical role of what it is to be gay. Having been approved by National LGTQ+ organizations GLAAD and PFLAG, the show is a good resource for pre-teens, teens and adults who might be questioning their identity, coming out or already are a part of the LGBTQ+ community.