Disney makes history with first LGBTQ+ main character

Disney Channel will historically feature a gay character in the upcoming second season of the show "Andi Mack."

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Disney makes history with first LGBTQ+ main character

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The LGBTQ+ community has historically been either ignored or stereotyped by television shows. Gay characters have been especially absent from children’s shows. Disney Channel intends to change this with the premier of the second season of “Andi Mack” on Friday. It will be the first Disney Channel show to feature a storyline about a character coming out.

Disney has not shied away from LGBTQ+ inclusion recently, with a gay character in the recent remake of “The Beauty and the Beast” and a gay couple kissing in “Star vs the Forces of Evil” on Disney XD. However, the decision to include a storyline about a gay main character is a first for the network. Many other youth-oriented channels have had minor gay characters but few, if any, have featured one and created a recurring storyline around them. With “Andi Mack,” Disney is leading the way to a future with more representation for a group that is often marginalized.

This historic move will give younger viewers who are struggling with their sexuality a character they can identify with. Seeing someone on-screen who is like them is validating and helpful to someone who is in the middle of their own journey of self-discovery. Being represented in the media is essential in helping minorities, in this case younger members of the LGBTQ+ community, feel normal and not alone in their struggle.

This show is not just important for LGBTQ+ kids to watch. Straight viewers who see a gay character that is not defined by stereotypes and who is also similar to them will be less likely to be homophobic. One of the best ways to fight prejudice is through empathy and if “Andi Mack” can get kids to empathize with and root for a gay character, it will help many of its viewers become more tolerant and compassionate.

If “Andi Mack” is successful other networks may follow Disney’s lead. LGBTQ+ characters becoming common place in shows geared towards a younger audience will give LGBTQ+ kids and tweens figures to look up to and will help other viewers learn to respect others regardless of sexuality. “Andi Mack” has the ability to make television history and positively impact the youngest generation of TV viewers and many more to come.

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