Andi Mack not only gave Disney Channel it’s first openly gay character but also its first gay couple (made of main characters).
Growing up, I adored the Disney Channel. In middle school, I spent many years absorbing Disney Channel programs and movies like Zenon, That’s So Raven, Kim Possible, Recess, High School Musical, American Dragon: Jake Long, Cheetah Girls, and more.
But growing up gay, I never saw myself in these characters. Sure, the channel had plenty of black characters to love, but never any gay ones. That resulted in me diving into other avenues for gay content in my growing teens like Queer As Folk and Not Another Gay Movie. Sadly, that probably wasn’t the best stuff to watch as a growing teen.
This is a story shared by a lot of former Disney channel fans who were also LGBTQ. But now, that story is changing. Thankfully, the tv market for gay viewers and LGBTQ youth has changed greatly in the past ten years. Now, teens don’t have to explore those mature shows, as they can find representation in age-appropriate mainstream content.
Last night’s episode brought fans to tears of joy after the reveal of a blossoming new couple. The show’s gay champion Cyrus (played by Joshua Rush) found himself being confessed to by friend T.J. (played by Luke Mullen).
The touching scene begins with Cyrus learning his friend’s real name for the first time, as he’d always referred to him as T.J. Thelonious Jagger then asked if there was anything else Cyrus wanted to know while reaching out for his hand. Cyrus, noticing the hand, smiles and asks, “Is there anything else you wanna tell me?” The two share this exchange for a moment before they knowingly smile and hold hands.
While no words are said to outright state the scene’s significance, the message is blatantly clear.
Unfortunately, the scene comes in the recently released series finale. As we shared with you earlier, the show Andi Mack has been canceled. But thankfully, the program was given time to wrap up its storylines with the rest of season three. Despite this unfortunate ending to the groundbreaking show (that tackled topics like anxiety, religion, teen pregnancy, and more) viewers and the world at large have greatly benefited from its run.
At it’s beginning, Andi Mack was expected to be different. The show, created by Lizzie McGuire creator Terri Minsky, started with the premise of an Asian-American girl finding out that whom she thought was her sister was actually her mother. But the show gained media attention after it had one of the main character’s best friends come out.
Andi’s friend Cyrus first came out to another friend named Buffy towards the start of Season 2. He later came out to Andi before officially coming out to the world, and his former crush, with the words “I’m Gay.” Fans of the series then quickly took to the idea of Cryus taking up a relationship with another character on the show.
DISNEY CHANNEL DID THAT!!!!!!! CYRUS GOODMAN DID THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/kTNRxcDdDY
— triz (@realitywarpers) February 8, 2019
While T.J. was first introduced to be an antagonist to Cryrus and his friends, the character soon turned into an ally for the group. Shippers then went to the races with ideas of T.J. and Cryus starting up a relationship. And though it came at the series finale, the gay relationship became a reality. It also became Disney Channel’s first gay couple involving main characters. Before this, the channel only included married moms as side cahracters in one episode of Good Luck Charlie.
As you can imagine, many people, including current and former Disney Channel fans, celebrated.
— eve (@lemonboytyrus) July 26, 2019
tj: *puts his arm around cyrus* pic.twitter.com/3sMJbcQwm5
— theo kippen warrior • (@cykippen) July 26, 2019
— J (@idmarryyou2) July 27, 2019
— 부 (@kAnnabalistic) July 27, 2019
— bella the wise (@mericas_ass) July 27, 2019
just realized i’m never gonna get any cute boyfriend moments from cyrus and tj because andi mack was CANCELLED pic.twitter.com/598XARXoKT
— ً (@louisxgalaxy) July 26, 2019
Never seen this show at all, but I really have to give Disney MAJOR kudos with getting with the times and introducing openly gay couples in their shows now. Hope this won’t be the last time we see this from them. pic.twitter.com/bc9nQm5AZk
— Jordan (@JaggedKeiji) July 27, 2019
So while it’s a goodbye, we have to thank Terri Minsky, the cast of Andi Mack, and Cryus/T.J. for giving us the representation many of us dreamed of as LGBTQ youth. Hopefully, this is the start of a brand new age of television.