This Friday, October 27th, Disney Channel will air the one-hour season premiere of “Andi Mack”, a popular coming of age show. The show, starring Peyton Elizabeth Lee, will open its new season with the introduction of a new side storyline, where Andi’s friend Cyrus, played by Joshua Rush, develops feelings for a boy named Jonah. This is groundbreaking for Disney Channel; they have never had an LGBT focused story arc.

It may not be as wonderful as many may think, but Coming Out Stories can be very heartwarming and good for young children to see. They can even good for parents to understand how to handle such a big step for a child.

However, not all coming out stories have happy endings, and, more likely than not, Disney will make this a happy ending.

The problem with a “side story”

Disney is only now jumping on the hype train after 25 countries have legalized same-sex marriage and 25 more are in the middle of national debates. In addition, the recent release of the short animated film, “In a Heartbeat,” caught so much praise for its beautiful representation. So, it isn’t very surprising that it finally happened.

The second season is said to center on Cyrus and his journey to coming out to his friends, family, and even breaking the news to his girlfriend. Already the show’s plot has been praised for its mature orientation, with Andi discovering in the first season that her big sister is her biological mother.

The problem with this is there is no way the show titled “Andi Mack” is going to be centered around anything other than Andi. If it does, reviews are bound to plummet. Who wants to watch a show named after a character that isn’t even focused on? It’ll be like “Orange is the New Black” for audiences all over again.

The problem with a “happy ending”

Above all, the problem with portraying a coming out storyline that is marketed towards younger audiences is the fact that not all coming out stories end well, and it’s good for children (and, well, everybody) to understand that. The episode was screened by GLAAD, whose CEO and president, Sarah Kate Ellis, stated “With more and more young people coming out as LGBTQ, Andi Mack is reflecting the lives and lived experiences of so many LGBTQ youths around the country.

Television reflects the real-life world and today that includes LGBTQ youth who deserve to see their lives depicted on their favorite shows.”

It is worth noting that 40 percent of LGBT youth in America still don’t feel accepted in their communities. LGBT youth are still two times as likely to have been physically assaulted, and 68 percent of LGBT youth say they hear negative remarks about being LGBT from elected officials, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Of the 1.6 million homeless youth, 40 percent are LGBT, when LGBT youth only make up about seven percent of the youth population as it is, according to the True Colors Fund. Many coming out stories end with people being kicked out of their homes, beaten, disowned by their families, and even just unacknowledged, which on its own, is just as damaging to the adolescent psyche.

If Disney is willing to take one step towards representing a true relatable coming of age story, they should be willing to go all the way.

Please, Disney, address the fact that it isn’t safe for everyone to come out. Show that it is acceptable to stay hidden from some people because we don’t live in a time where things are always safe. Keep our youth safe.

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