by Raven K.
Last month, the Disney Channel made history by having the character Cyrus Goodman on their show, Andi Mack, state that he is gay. Cyrus Goodman had previously stated that he was interested in boys twice (in the episodes, “Hey, Who Wants Pizza?” and, “Cyrus’ Bash-Mitzvah!”). The first time was to his best friend Buffy (echoing the groundbreaking coming-out scene in Buffy The Vampire Slayer when Willow tells Buffy she was into Tara 19 years ago), but he never said explicitly that he was gay until “Once in a Minyan.”
Andi Mack isn’t new to breaking new ground in children’s entertainment. They have been tackling topics like teenage pregnancy, mental health, different cultures and learning disabilities for a while now. One such instance was when the show’s love interest at the time, Jonah Beck dealt with panic attacks (which is another thing that also happens in this episode).
The episode, “Once in a Minyan,” now available on the DisneyNow website and app, is about Cyrus’ bubbe’s (or grandmother’s) shiva (funeral) which is tackled with grace and respect as are all of the things this show takes on. He tells his friends that he wished his bubbe would’ve seen the gay part of him before she passed, which then inspires him to come out to his former crush/friend by saying the words, “I’m gay.”
I was a year younger than Cyrus when my bubbe died. Much like his, mine was my role model and my biggest supporter. She’d watch all of my theater performances even though we all knew that they were garbage, she’d read all of my stories and had taken care of me when others couldn’t, but I never got to tell her I was a lesbian. She died before I learned to accept myself. It never was a confusion about what she would’ve said (she wore crop tops in her 70’s)–she would’ve said that she loved me no matter what–but I still wish I could’ve said the words even now, more than 5 years later. But much like the first gay character on the United States Disney Channel, I used my bubbe’s memory to come out. Not at her shiva like Cyrus, but at my bat mitzvah where members of my family and congregation could see me embrace my authentic self.
Andi Mack has been a show in which many people have seen themselves on the screen when they hadn’t growing up, including me. Not only has this show been the winner of a GLAAD media award, but it has been also nominated and has won other accolades over the two years it’s been airing. It has not been renewed for season 4 yet – so I implore you to reach out to Disney and keep watching to let them know that this is a show that’s important and tells kids that they “may be weird, but [they] are no different.”
** Andi Mack’s next episode won’t air for another month for editing out a certain actor which you can read about elsewhere. But this also gives everyone time to catch up! Here is a masterpost with links for every episode.