The Disney Channel officially has its first-ever openly gay character. During a recent episode of Andi Mack, Cyrus Goodman (played by Joshua Rush) made history by uttering the words "I'm gay" to a friend.
Although the character had told friends Buffy and Andi about his sexuality in a previous episode, he said the words for the first time during Friday's episode, "One In a Minyan."
In the scene, Cyrus is explaining the traditional Jewish food at a buffet table at his grandmother's shiva, the ritual mourning period following someone's death.
"That, of course, is Aunt Ruthie's kugel," Cyrus told friend Jonah. "That's your classic bagel and lox. That's gefilte fish, skip that."
"And I'm gay," he added quickly.
Jonah, played by Asher Angel, simply smiled and said, "Yeah? Cool."
"In the writer's room, I shared a personal story about how nervous I was to come out to a college friend back in 2010," Hurwitz wrote. “While grabbing burgers one afternoon, he asked me to pass the ketchup, so I handed him the bottle while mumbling the words, ‘I’m gay.’ He looked up at me, said ‘Cool,’ then proceeded to put ketchup on his burger as if I hadn’t just revealed my most personal, deepest truth.”
“I remember thinking: That’s it?! After a ten-year journey to come out to myself, I finally come out to my friend and all I get is a 'Cool?!' But what I ultimately realized was that my friends and family loved me unconditionally before I’d even learned to truly love myself," he added.
"In spite of Cyrus' nerves about telling Buffy, Andi, and now Jonah, he continually underestimates how much people accept him for who he is," he wrote. "No matter how 'weird' or 'different' he feels (his words from Season One), his friends will always be right by his side, loving and supporting him."
Rush, 17, told Good Morning America that the response to his character's sexuality has been "overwhelmingly positive."
“Over the last few days I've really gotten to see the myriad of ways that both this new coming-out scene for Cyrus, and this Jewish representation of his family, has affected the fans,” Rush said.
“Taking on the role of Cyrus has been one of the most fun things I've ever done in my life," he said. "Being Jewish, being 14, going to middle school, having this small, close-knit group of friends, and being gay are all just parts of his personality."0comments
Rush added that when he was Cyrus' age, he was bullied a lot. “So it's inspiring to see how Cyrus knows he doesn’t have it all figured out yet, but he isn’t afraid to ask the hard questions about who he might be and what that means for him,” he explained.
New episodes of Andi Mack air Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on the Disney Channel.