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Actor Joshua Rush made history and headlines as one of Disney’s first openly gay characters with his portrayal as Cyrus in Disney Channel’s “Andi Mack” this past fall.  

Rush, who has also starred in“The Lion Guard” and “Chuck,” was met with criticism with his new role on the Disney Channel. However, this came as no surprise for the 16-year-old teen and in an exclusive interview with People magazine the actor describes just how important playing a gay character is to him.

“I think the most important thing for me when I got this part was to do it right,” Rush told People. “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.”

Rush’s character, Cyrus, navigates his identity as a gay teen after revealing he has a crush on his friend Jonas, played by Asher Angel, in the series’ second season premiere.

Rush hopes that his role will not only serve as an inspiration for other teens struggling with their identity, but also will encourage other sitcoms to explore gay storylines so that it evolves from being taboo to being normalized.

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