A significant step!
LGBTQ rights have come a long way within the past decade. Same sex marriage was legalized in the United States, and more and more media outlets have begun to represent the LGBTQ population.
That said, there are still some serious biases that the media holds in regards to LGBTQ representation. Not all outlets are willing to budge, or even comment on, the LGBTQ issues. Most people likely assumed that Disney might be one of the last media moguls to incorporate an LGBTQ character on one of their productions, but now they’ve proved everyone wrong!
Disney has just announced that one of their original Disney Channel shows will soon be featuring the network’s first openly gay character. Needless to say, many members of the progressive community are seeing this as a huge victory.
If you spend any time raising children, babysitting, or if you just still have your inner child, you’ve probably spent a decent amount of time watching Disney Channel. If so, you might have caught a few episodes of Lizzie McGuire creator Terri Minsky’s Andi Mack.
The main character of the show is Andi herself, but her friend Cyrus Goodman also gets a lot of air time. Now, Disney has revealed that Cyrus will be coming out as gay in the second season. The season premiere will feature Cyrus realizing that he has feelings for another boy in their group of friends.
The Disney Channel released a statement about their decision:
”Andi Mack is a story about ‘tweens’ figuring out who they are. [Show 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.”
Walt Disney Co. also released a statement about the choice which said, in part:
“Our stories are timeless because they speak to the heart; our characters appeal to children across gender, ability, and experience because they’re defined by kindness, loyalty, humor, courage, wit and other traits that make a good friend. Disney remains committed to continuing to create characters that are accessible and relatable to all children.”
A Step in the Right Direction
The announcement is making waves all over the country with organizations lauding the decision. The President and CEO of GLAAD made a statement saying that “Andi Mack is reflecting the lives and lived experiences of so many LGBTQ youth around the country.”
He continued that television is a mirror of our social climate and that “the real life world and today that includes LGBTQ youth who deserve to see their lives depicted on their favorite shows.” He concluded by saying that he is excited to see how the legendary company handles the groundbreaking storyline.
Although there have been allusions to gay characters in other Disney productions, this is the first gay character that will be featured on the Disney Channel. The company made headlines for having an openly gay LeFou in the recent live-action Beauty and the Beast, but it was scorned by many in the LGBTQ community. Critics pointed out that LeFou is a villain and hardly a good representation of gay men. (In fact, LeFou translates to “The Fool.”)
Disney XD also featured its first same sex kiss in the second season of Star vs. the Forces of Evil.
This has also lead many fans to wonder about the recent Disney Channel hit Raven’s House. The star of the That’s So Raven follow up, Raven Symone, has been open about her sexuality (she dates women, but prefers not to be labeled as gay). This has lead many fans to wondering whether Raven’s House could potentially feature its titular character pursuing a same-sex relationship.
Representation and Inclusion
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