Joshua Rush isn’t your average 16-year old. Since early 2017, the teenager has played the role of Cyrus Goodman on Disney Channel’s groundbreaking queer show Andi Mack. His character came out as gay on the children’s television show, marking a historic moment for the network and for LGBTQ representation on kids’ TV. In an interview on Good Morning America, Rush said he isn’t just happy to play this role—he’s proud.
“I’m really proud to be able to play Cyrus,” he told GMA. “I think it’s an exciting role to be able to play for Disney. But I think more than anything, it’s an exciting role for these kids that are going to end up seeing Cyrus on their screen and going, ‘Oh, that’s me! I recognize that and I understand that and I resonate with that.’ I think it shows those kids that their stories are valid.”
Last week, Rush and his cast-mates attended the 11th Annual Television Academy Honors, where his show was honored as one of seven programs that inspired social change this year. The actor spoke of the messages he’s received from real-life fans who have been inspired and moved by his character’s coming out story.
“I get all these messages on my social media about people who have really resonated with the stories that we’re telling on Andi Mack,” Rush explained, “And the one that really hit closest to home was a girl saying when Cyrus said that he feels weird and that he feels different, that she felt a lump in her throat because she felt the same way. And that one, that one really hit me. That one really got me kind of emotional because it was so incredibly powerful, and it is just a reminder that I think about almost every day — that the work that I’m doing is showing people that it’s OK to be themselves.”
He elaborated, “Every time that somebody shares their story about how the show touched them or how much they like the show — it warms my heart. It makes me feel so happy.”
Season two of Andi Mack returns to Disney Channel June 4th.