The Disney Channel is finally getting with the times. On Friday, the network will introduce its first gay storyline on the show "Andi Mack."
While the tween series focuses on the title character, the show's one-hour Season 2 premiere will centre on one of Andi's best friends, 13-year-old Cyrus Goodman, who realizes he and Andi have feelings for the same boy.
But that's not even the best part. According to Cosmopolitan, in subsequent episodes, Goodman's storyline will focus on his coming out and explore how he figures out his feelings while dating a new girlfriend.
"'Andi Mack' is a story about 'tweens' figuring out who they are," the Disney Channel said in a statement. "[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."
Following this announcement, Twitter quickly erupted in applause for the show, praising the Disney Channel for exploring this subject matter and normalizing complicated feelings regarding sexuality.
One user also gave a major shout out to the show for always making an effort to be inclusive and representative of all people and experiences.
The Walt Disney Company also released a statement regarding the new storyline. In part, it read, "Disney remains committed to continuing to create characters that are accessible and relatable to all children."
It's 2017, so it's about time the Disney Channel included a gay storyline. But that's not to say the network hasn't made some effort to normalize LGBTQ relationships in the past.
In 2014, the show "Good Luck Charlie" featured a young girl with two moms, and earlier this year, Disney XD quietly aired its first same-sex kiss onscreen during an episode of the animated show "Star vs. The Forces of Evil."
Additionally, back in March, the live-action "Beauty and the Beast" remake was the first Disney movie to feature a gay character.
"LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston. He's confused about what he wants," director Bill Condon previously told Attitude magazine. "It's somebody who's just realizing that he has these feelings."
Although Disney has only made moves to increase LGBTQ representation onscreen this year, the company itself has always been inclusive.
According to The Atlantic, Disney World has been hosting Pride events since 1991 and the company has been offering health benefits to the partners of LGBTQ employees since 1995.
In the past, other networks have also included LGBTQ characters in their stories. For example, Nickelodeon's "Loud House" featured an interracial gay couple last year, and PBS' "Postcards from Buster" portrayed gay parents in 2012.
So while Disney is a little delayed in acknowledging and portraying LGBTQ characters, we're glad to see they are finally representing this group.
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