Andi Mack's Cast & Creator Reflect on Crafting Disney's First LGBT Storyline: "I Wanted It to Feel Like Acceptance"

Exclusive! Creator Terri Minsky and star Joshua Rush, among others, open up about bringing the groundbreaking storyline to life on the Disney Channel hit.

By Billy Nilles Nov 03, 2017 6:00 PMTags

Andi Mack made Disney Channel history last week.

The charming, coming-of-age series, which centers on the 13-year-old titular character (played by Peyton Elizabeth Lee) and her interactions with her family and group of friends, became the first series in the network's storied history to introduce a central LGBT storyline when Andi's friend Cyrus (played by Joshua Rush) realized he had feelings for a male classmate and shared those feelings with his BFF Buffy (Sofia Wylie).

The scene between Cyrus and Buffy, which creator Terri Minsky and the network worked on with child development experts and screened for organizations such as GLAAD and PFLAG, was tender and stirring, a moment that no doubt made a lot of kids at home in the midst of their own confusing sexuality awakening feel a bit more at ease, while teaching anyone with a confused kid in their life how to best handle things when the time comes.

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"I know there are a lot of kids out there who think that they're weird and different," Minsky said in a BTS featurette, exclusive to E! News, of the scene in which Buffy assures her friend that he's no different. "I guess I kind of wanted Buffy to say it to all of them, and I wanted it to feel like acceptance."

Tasked with handling Cyrus' important storyline at such a young age himself, Rush is just hopeful that it can do some good for kids everywhere. "I hope people, out of Cyrus's storyline, get this feeling like you can be who are," he added. "And if there's something you're thinking about, you should talk about it."

Andi Mack Will Feature Disney Channel's First LGBTQ Storyline Ever: Why That Matters

As Lee added, with a startling maturity considering her young age, she's proud that her show can create opportunities for conversation between the families watching at home. "I hope it gives kids the confidence to be proud of who they are and just be happy with themselves," she said. "All of the stories in Andi Mack, particularly Cyrus' story, give this amazing opportunity to open conversation between parents and kids, or between friends."

And watching they are. The exceptional second season premiere, which was faced with a boycott by the organization One Million Moms over the groundbreaking storyline, saw its ratings surge 72 percent above those of the series premiere back in April delivering its No. 2 telecast to date in total viewers, as well as key demos kids six-14 and adults 18-49, in live +3 day national ratings.

As the cast explains it, it's easy to see why. "It reflect real life. Real life has big highs and big lows, and it's very imperfect," Lilan Bowden, who stars as Andi's mom Bex, said of the show. "And when we get to see that on TV, I feel like it gives us a lot of comfort."

"The show just celebrates the human spirit and how it's different and unique," Lee added. "And I think that that's something that's really special that you don't always see on TV."

For more from Minsky and the cast as they reflect on the important storyline, be sure to check out the video above.

And to watch how Cyrus' journey to self-discovery plays out, be sure to tune to Andi Mack Fridays at 8 p.m. only on Disney Channel. And if you need to catch up on the season two premiere, it is available on the DisneyNOW app.