Joshua Rush made history during his time on Andi Mack, breaking ground by playing Cyrus, the Disney Channel’s first openly gay character. And now that the series has wrapped, Rush is making some history of his own.
On Tuesday, the 17-year-old actor — who is currently voicing the title character in DreamWorks’ new animated Where’s Waldo? series — came out as bisexual, opening up about his sexual orientation in a series of emotional tweets.
“It’s me, I’m bi,” Rush wrote. “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.”
“Thank you to you for giving me the courage to know who I am and tell you this today,” Rush added. “Happy 20biteen!”
Coming to terms with his sexual orientation was something Rush said he long struggled with, even while portraying a character going through a similar thing.
“I suffered with some level of my own internalized homophobia even while playing the first openly gay character on Disney Channel,” Rush wrote in his tweets.
He explained, “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,” Rush continued. “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.”
So how did Rush get there? He wrote, in his tweets, that he helped arrive there in part through material produced by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
“I want to encourage you to read their page on bisexuality,” Rush tweeted, linking to their website. “It has been incredibly helpful to me, and their resources have helped me to find where I fit on the spectrum of sexuality.”
The actor also encouraged his 70.9K followers to consider donating to GLADD and the Trevor Project.
“Our show wouldn’t have existed in the form that it did without GLADD, but also because their hard work in furthering acceptance in media helps an uncountable number of people,” Rush wrote, adding that the Trevor Project is “literally saving lives every day.”
“Being bi isn’t all of my identity, nor is it the most important part of my identity,” wrote Rush in another tweet. “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.”
“Helping young LGBTQ+ voices feel heard and loved is utterly crucial,” he said.
Many of Rush’s fans praised him on Twitter for coming forward with his truth.
“I’M SO PROUD OF U,” one wrote — a comment many, many others shared.
“These past few years you’ve been such a huge inspiration to the [LGBTQ+] community, while you yourself were struggling as well,” another tweeted. “I hope you’re facing nothing but overwhelming support right now. Love you so much.”
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