Bi the way

This Disney star may have just saved some lives by coming out as bi

Cyrus, Andi Mack, Joshua Rush, bisexual, coming out
(image via The Disney Channel)

Joshua Rush — the 17-year-old actor who played Cyrus Goodman, the first Disney character ever to say the words “I’m gay” — recently came out as bisexual.

You may recall that in October 2017 Rush participated in the Disney Channel’s first-ever coming-out scene when his character in the pre-teen drama series Andi Mack revealed his crush on a boy. Although the show subsequently left Goodman’s sexuality mostly unexplored, in February 2019 his character actually uttered the words “I’m gay” in another groundbreaking first for the channel.

But Rush himself had never publicly declared his own same-sex attraction … until just yesterday.

In a Twitter thread, he wrote:

first! i win! it’s me. i’m bi. And now that I’ve said that, I have a few things to rant about. There are more important things to talk about than me liking a whole bunch of genders, but I do want to share a few things with you guys.

I saw so many of you watch Cyrus come out and said “Hey! I can be me!”

How ironic, isn’t it, that me, playing that character, never had mustered up that courage?

Instead of feeling the courage to tell you today that I am an out and proud bisexual man because of the character I played for four years, I feel that courage thinking of all of you, who felt emboldened by Cyrus to come out.

I had a close friend of mine come out to me in fifth grade. FIFTH GRADE! That was well before I had any clue of my own identity and orientation. I suffered with some level of my own internalized homophobia even while playing the first openly gay character on Disney Channel.

I stuffed the existential crisis of talking about my sexual orientation into a box in my mind for years. Today, I release it into the world.

Being bi isn’t all of my identity, nor is it the most important part of my identity. Bi erasure and issues like it are important, but trans women of color still have a life expectancy of THIRTY FIVE YEARS and that is absolutely unacceptable …

Thank you to you for giving me the courage to know who I am and tell you this today. Happy 20biteen!

He then encouraged his followers to donate to The Trevor Project and GLAAD and to read GLAAD’s page on bisexuality.

Rush’s coming out and education on bi issues are great for other bi people, for visibility’s sake and to help reduce biphobia.

In a 2018 profile of Dr. Brian Dodge, a lead researcher on bisexuality and the health disparities they face, Dodge said “the vast majority” of biphobia he faces comes from gay and lesbian people.

A 2013 Pew survey found that bisexual people come out at rates three times less often than gay men, have four times fewer LGBTQ-identified friends than gay men and report higher levels of societal mistrust than gay men. This is because of “monosexism” — prejudice against those who are attracted to more than one gender —and negative stereotypes that cast bi people as confused, deceitful, ultra-slutty or trying to benefit from “straight/passing privilege.”

As a result, research suggests that bi people stay closeted because of the discrimination they face from other queer people and face more health disparities and mental illness than gay people.

By education people on bi issues, Rush is doing his part to help reduce anti-bi stigma while possibly saving a few queer youngsters’ lives in the process.