16-year-old Andi Mack star opens up about playing Disney Channel’s first openly gay character

Joshua Rush attends Build Series to discuss 'Andi Mack' at Build Studio on February 21, 2018 in New York City.

16-year-old actor Joshua Rush has opened up about playing the Disney Channel’s first out gay character.

Rush plays Cyrus Goodman on Disney’s popular series Andi Mack.

The second season of Andi Mack featured a gay plotline where Cyrus develops feelings for a classmate – before coming out.

Disney Channel was forced to pull the show from air in a number of countries after outrage at the gay storyline.

Speaking to People, Rush said he sometimes feels the “pressure” of the role.

He said: “I feel the pressure, and I also don’t.

“I think the most important thing for me when I got this part was to do it right.

“I knew that I wanted to do it justice, because I knew that people were gonna end up seeing this and being like, ‘Wow that’s me, I identify with that [and] I can be who I am now,’ but I also wanted to make sure that it’s not all-encompassing. Like that’s not all of Cyrus’ personality.

“We put the work in, and I think it shows.”

(Disney Channel)

He added: “It’s important that everybody gets representation and that anybody having thoughts on who they are is able to see that represented on TV and to be shown that’s okay.

“I think Cyrus feels different, and I think in our teenage years we all feel different at different times, so it’s important to show anyone that Cyrus is comfortable with who he is and is happy with who he is.

“I think this storyline is definitely going to help a lot of my peers.

“I was the first person that one of my good friends came out to, and I think that if I had someone like Buffy on TV, I think I would’ve done a better job and had been a better friend in that situation. I’m glad that I can be a part of this.

“I hope that more shows will follow in Disney’s footsteps with Cyrus’ storyline. Really, I look forward to the day that it’s not an unusual occurrence.

“I hope everyone can one day see that our differences are beautiful and that love is love.”

(Disney Channel)

Last year the show was outlawed in Kenya after fury at the storyline.

Disney Channel subsequently caved into wider pressure from homophobes – pulling the show from air in as many as 50 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

Disney will no longer air the show DStv, the network that broadcasts the channel in 50 countries, including Kenya, Ghana, Angola, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Mauritius and Tanzania as well as parts of the Middle East.

In a statement Disney said: “Disney Channel creates stories that entertain and inspire kids and families and reflect the rich diversity of the human experience.

“While our shows are developed for global audiences we are committed to respecting each market’s cultural sensibilities, compliance rules and regulations.

“Disney Channel in South Africa serves multiple countries across Africa and the Middle East, each with its own regulations to which we adhere.

“Accordingly, Andi Mack will not be broadcast through DStv.

“However, we are exploring alternative ways to make the series available to its fans in South Africa.”

News of this storyline also sparked outrage from US anti-LGBT group One Million Moms, who called for a boycott of the Disney Channel.