As one of the most influential companies in the entertainment business, Disney has been working hard to represent the LGBTQ community in some of its most popular films and TV series such as Frozen, Good Luck Charlie, Star vs. The Forces of Evil and Beauty & The Beast. Seeing those progressive efforts has been great, and now the House of the Mouse is breaking new ground by finally giving the spotlight to a gay character.
A coming out story has become the focus of one of its most popular shows, #AndiMack. In case you're not caught up with Disney Channel's original programming, the series centers around a young girl named Andi as she navigates her complicated family and school lives alongside her best friends.
'Andi Mack' Explores The Coming Out Journey Of One Of Its Main Characters
The Season 2 premiere, "Hey, Who Wants Pizza," shows #JoshuaRush's Cyrus Goodman –– Andi's best friend and one of the show's protagonists –– realizing that he has romantic feelings for his longtime adventure partner, Jonah. Confused and unsure of what to tell his girlfriend, Cyrus confides in his other friend, Buffy, who supports him and overall becomes a support pillar for his journey.
This revelation is meant to start a multi-episode arc, through which our beloved goofball will slowly come to terms with his feelings, and eventually accept himself as gay.
Such an important storyline can't be taken lightly, and Disney is fully aware of that. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the company reached out to child development experts to create the episode, and subsequently screened it for PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and Common Sense Media (a company focused on promoting safe media for children) before airing it.
In an interview with THR, Dr. Jaime M. Grant, executive director of PFLAG, commended Disney's authentic approach to the storyline:
"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."
Furthermore, Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO and president of GLAAD, explained that, with the entertainment industry playing such a pivotal role in people's lives, this storyline will have a great impact on LGBTQ children: "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."
The positive impact is already evident, because numerous people have taken to social media to share their excitement about where Andi Mack will take Cyrus' storyline, and how it will impact children's entertainment as a whole:
It's great to see such great reception for this storyline. Admittedly, this is one step in a long road for better representation in the industry, but hopefully Disney's plan will inspire other children's shows to give the #LGBTQ community more time in the spotlight and deliver storylines that inspire their viewers.
What do you think about Disney delving for the first tome in an LGBT story through Andi Mack? Let me know in the comments!
[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]