The Disney Channel is set to feature it's first ever gay storyline on kids' series "Andi Mack," concerning a 13-year-old character who realizes he is gay and comes out to his friends.
Deadline reported on Wednesday that Friday's second season one-hour premiere episode will mark the start of Cyrus Goodman's "self discovery" path.
The Disney Channel said in a statement that show creator Terri Minsky and his crew take "great care" in ensuring that the program is "appropriate for all audiences and sends a powerful message about inclusion and respect for humanity."
"Andi Mack" has enjoyed considerable ratings success, and is the top series of the year among girls of median age 10, and holds the No.1 spot among all children ages six-14.
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, praised the gay-friendly plot, saying, "With more and more young people coming out as LGBTQ, 'Andi Mack' is reflecting the lives and lived experiences of so many LGBTQ youth 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. Disney has been a leader in LGBTQ inclusion and there are so many young people who will be excited to see Cyrus' story unfold."
Conservative groups, such as the American Family Association, have strongly spoken out against previous gay moments in Disney programming, including gay kisses in an episode of popular cartoon "Star vs. The Forces of Evil" back in February.
"It is not Disney's place to assume the role of parents deciding when to confront children with alternative lifestyles. I'm not saying that it's wrong for children to know that gays and lesbians exist, only that parents should be the ones to tell them. Disney should not circumvent parents on this matter," wrote Ed Vitagliano, AFA executive vice-president.
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"It has grave — and perhaps eternal — consequences."
Disney's live-action "Beauty and the Beast" remake also attracted controversy earlier this year, with some conservatives deciding to boycott the movie for featuring an "exclusively gay moment" and breaking "new ground when it comes to LGBT visibility."
A Christian-owned drive-in movie theater in Alabama refused to show the movie, for which it said it received burn down threats.
"There have been quite a few people who've made some nasty, ugly comments. Some have wished our drive in would burn down," Carol Laney, the owner of Henagar Drive-In Theater, told Premier in March.
The cinema further explained that if one "can't sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it."
Other Christians disagreed with the theater's decision, however, pointing out that many other films that go against conservative teachings are not banned.
"I struggle to think of mainstream films that portray heterosexual relationships in a biblical way yet we don't hesitate to curl up and watch the complete series of 'Bridget Jones's Diary' or tune into 'Eastenders,'" writer and speaker Luke Aylen said.
"To draw the line at a gay character is absurd."