A Disney Channel show aimed at tweens will feature the networks first LGBTI storyline.
Andi Mack starts it’s second season tomorrow (27 October) with an hour long premiere.
In the episode, character Cyrus realizes he has feelings for Jonah.
Main character Andi also has a crush on Jonah.
Cyrus confides in friend Buffy.
This scene is intended to provide viewers with ‘positive role models for children – and adults – watching.’
Future episodes will follow Cyrus’ journey of coming to terms with his sexuality. He will also navigate how to tell new girlfriend Iris.
Disney Channel reportedly spoke to a number of child development experts and LGBT groups to ensure the story arc was age-appropriate and respectful.
They spoke to GLAAD, PFLAG, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, and Common Sense Media.
The organizations also all received screenings of the hour long special.
‘Young people will be excited to see Cyrus’ story unfold’
15-year-old Joshua Rush plays the character of 13-year-old Cyrus.
Sarah Kate Ellis is the President and CEO of GLAAD.
She explained: ‘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.’
Andi Mack premiered on Disney Channel 7 April 2017.
Disney Channel renewed the show for a second season on 25 May 2017.
‘A powerful message about inclusion and respect for humanity’
Execute Director of PFLAG National, Jaime M. Grant, said: ‘Sharing one’s innermost self can be challenging. 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.’
Cyrus will be Disney Channel’s first LGBTI main character but not their first LGBTI character ever.
The network’s show Good Luck Charlie featured lesbian moms in an episode.
Terri Minksy created the show Andi Mack.
Previously she has written several episodes for Sex and the City and created teen show Lizzie McGuire.
A Disney Channel spokesperson explained said: ‘Andi Mack is a story about “tweens” figuring out who they are,
‘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.’