Disney Channel

Disney’s ‘Andi Mack’ Introduced a Gay Storyline in its Season Premiere

Disney Channel is no new champion to the pro-LGBTQ+ movement, and they continue to proudly show their support for the community by introducing a gay storyline in one of its coming-of-age series.

“Andi Mack”, which originated back in April, is a series that follows the life and adventures of 13-year-old Andi Mack, played by Peyton Elizabeth Lee, and her two best friends, Buffy Driscoll (Sofia Wylie) and Cyrus Goodman (Joshua Rush). The main focus of the series is to show the journey of young teenagers figuring out who they are, which was made clear from the very beginning as Andi learned that her free-spirited older sister Bex (Lilan Bowden) was actually her mother during the pilot episode. At that moment, Andi’s journey of self-discovery began and has been aided by her two best friends, Buffy and Cyrus, ever since as they, too, are trying to figure out who they are and where they stand in this crazy world.

During the Friday premiere of its second season, Andi was struggling with a crush on one of her middle school classmates, Jonah, and later in the episode, Cyrus shares that he is struggling with the realization that he, too, had a crush on Jonah when he comes out to Buffy. Take a look at the emotional, heartfelt scene below:

This move by Disney Channel wasn’t the first of its type, but it was definitely historic as it became the channel’s first story arc about a character coming out as gay. In other words, this is the first time Disney Channel will display a character’s journey to self-discovery as an LGBTQ+ individual on live-action TV. What makes this projection even more remarkable is the effort put into making this introduction come to life in the best way possible. In an effort to make sure Cyrus’s story came across in both an age-appropriate and respectful manner, Terri Minsky, the show’s creator, and Disney Channel consulted child development experts, in addition to pre-screening the premiere episode to a few LGBTQ+ advocacy groups, which included GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Defamation), PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), and Common Sense Media.

“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.”

- Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO

According to Deadline Hollywood, “Andi Mack” ranks as the most popular TV series of 2017 among girls ages 6-11, 9-14, and 6-14. Yet, as usual, everyone just won’t be happy. One Million Moms (OMM), a conservative group known for being anti-anything gay, posted a statement on their website last Thursday - the day before the episode aired - ‘alerting’ all moms while simultaneously bashing Disney Channel for “becoming another Freeform Network” that no longer caters to children and abandons family-friendly content. The petition created by OMM garnered more than 7,000 signatures; however, as expected, and rightfully so, Disney Channel kept their position in airing the episode and it was received with much more warm welcomes and appreciation than not. To catch “Andi Mack,” tune into to Disney Channel every Friday at 8:00 pm EST.

'Doc McStuffins' Introduces A Two-Mom Family

LGBTQ+ family representations have been unapologetically featured before by the mainstream Disney Channel, and earlier this month their continued push for pro-LGBTQ+ themed shown progress as an interracial two-mom family was featured on the kid-favorite ‘Doc McStuffins.’

“I always envision ‘Doc McStuffins’ as a show about what it means to accept everyone as part of our communities. As part of a two-mom family, I’m proud to have an episode that reflects my son’s world and show everyone that love is love in McStuffinsville.

-       Chris Nee, Show Creator & Executive Producer

‘Doc McStuffins,’ which first premiered in 2012, is an animated children’s series that follows the life of 7-year-old Dottie “Doc” McStuffins who dreams of being a doctor when she grows up. However, in the meantime, she helps cure her toys and the stuffed animals in the neighborhood of fictional illnesses by giving them regular check-ups.

In the episode titled “The Emergency Plan,” the focus was placed on a family who experiences an earthquake and learns how to plan for it in the future. The family just so happens to be headed by two interracial moms, Thea and Edie, who were voiced by comedian Wanda Sykes and actress Portia de Rossi – both of whom also identify as lesbian in real life. Thea & Edie were dolls that were separated from their kids when a toy dragon caused an earthquake, and with Doc’s help, they were reunited and learned the true value of having a backup plan in place for emergency events. In an interview with GLAAD, Sykes channeled her own family experience with her wife Alex when expressing how happy she was to be a part of a show that her kids loved to watch. She stated, “We’re two moms, and we have a boy and a girl --- two kids. It’s going to be very exciting for my kids to see that --- our family represented.”

Of course, with every monumental and praise-worthy moment for the LGBTQ+ community comes with unwarranted backlash from those that hold restrictive mindsets. One Million Moms, a conservative organization known for bugging out over anything that shows favor to the LGBTQ+ community, bashed Disney in a post on its website for “pushing an agenda” by featuring the two-mom family on one of its shows. They continued by writing, “Controversial topics and lifestyle choices should be left up to the parents to discuss and Disney Junior should not introduce this to young children. Just because an issue may be legal or because some are choosing a lifestyle doesn’t make it morally correct.” They then followed their proclamation with an urge for parents to sign a petition in an effort to convince the Disney Channel Network to remove the episode. As expected, Disney has not budged.

You can check out Doc saving lives every day on Disney Channel and Disney Junior by checking your local TV listings. You can also view online by clicking here. In the meantime, check out this little snippet from “The Emergency Plan” episode below: