The Disney Channel is breaking new ground this week with a storyline on its tween-targeted show Andi Mack. The latest episode finds the title character crushing on a guy—and one of her BFFs, Cyrus, realizes he's crushing on the very same boy. Cyrus comes out to his other BFF, Buffy, who supports her friend.
While some teen-focused shows have featured powerful LGBTQ storylines in the past—including Buffy the Vampire Slayer and My So-Called Life—this is a first for Disney and also among the first directed at this younger demographic. It's definitely time to bring these conversations to tweens, as "coming out" is no longer something that happens in late teens or adulthood. Several of my 13-year-old's friends have already come out—and thankfully, have been supported by their classmates, friends and families.
"Andi Mack is a story about 'tweens' figuring out who they are," a Disney Channel spokesperson said via press release. "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."
By creating more storylines like these, it can help both the kids who realize that they are LGBTQ, and their friends and family who support them. I'm continually heartened in seeing the way my daughter and her friends support each other and celebrate their differences—whether it's religion, race, sexual orientation, or simply differing passions and interests in life. It gives me hope for the future, that we may be able to overcome some of society's hatred and prejudice as the new generation takes the lead. But for now, this storyline on this Disney Channel show will be one small step forward.