A Disney Channel show will include its first ever gay storyline.
Season two of Andi Mack will see 13-year-old Cyrus – one of Andi’s two best friends – begin to realise he has feelings for fellow teen Jonah.
He doesn’t know if Jonah likes him back, but from previews of the season’s first episode tomorrow, it seems that the main issue will be Andi’s crush on Jonah.
In season one, Andi realised that she only joined the Space Otters ultimate frisbee team to get close to Jonah – at the same time that Cyrus was making himself the team’s official fan.
So that is likely to be the biggest drama – that is, apart from the fact that Cyrus has a girlfriend – Iris.
This will mark the first time that the Disney Channel has shown a character’s journey to discovering that they’re gay.
And the news confirms what many fans of the show thought at the end of the first season, when a silent gesture spoke volumes.
In the scene, Jonah is talking about how you know whether a girl is into you, and is told by his friend Amber: “If she turns to look back at you, it means she likes you.”
After this is said, Cyrus does just that and turns around – looking directly at Jonah.
Fans were thrilled.
But not as thrilled as they were at this latest news – understandably.
As season two progresses, Cyrus will find he can count on his friends Buffy and Andi to support him – after he tells Buffy in the premiere.
In advance of the season premiere, Josh Rush, who plays Cyrus on the show, posted on Instagram to express his excitement with the plotline.
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Starting conversations about trust, love, relationships and family dynamics is easier when you have a show that you can relate to. Andi Mack gives young people and their parents, mentors, and champions a meaningful way to talk about these topics and the power to decide their futures. I’m so proud to bring Cyrus’ groundbreaking storyline to life and for you to see what we’ve been working on. Tune in this Friday at 8pm EST for the season premiere of season 2 🎬 #andimack #disneychannel
He wrote: “Starting conversations about trust, love, relationships and family dynamics is easier when you have a show that you can relate to.
“Andi Mack gives young people and their parents, mentors, and champions a meaningful way to talk about these topics and the power to decide their futures.
“I’m so proud to bring Cyrus’ groundbreaking storyline to life and for you to see what we’ve been working on,” he added.
Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of GLAAD, saw the first episode in advance and voiced her approval.
“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,” she said.
“Television reflects the real-life world and today that includes LGBTQ youth who deserve to see their lives depicted on their favourite shows.
“Disney has been a leader in LGBTQ inclusion and there are so many young people who will be excited to see Cyrus’s story unfold,” she added.
A Disney Channel spokesperson 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,” they added.
Disney’s move comes after it featured interracial gay parents in Doc McStuffins earlier this year – voiced by Wanda Sykes and Portia de Rossi – causing a predictable freakout from One Million Moms.
And Disney XD cartoon Star vs. the Forces of Evil featured the subtle moment in an episode last week, as main character Star is left lovesick during a slow dance at a concert.
A number of the couples in the background were shown enjoying a quick peck, including a few same-sex couples.
Watch the first 5 minutes of the new episode here: