Fan-Favorite Disney Character Comes Out as Gay

in Disney, Movies, Television

The 'high school musical' cast stands in front of a pride flag.

Credit: Inside the Magic

High School Musical (2006) stars Corbin Bleu (Chad Danforth), Monique Coleman (Taylor McKessie), Lucas Grabeel (Ryan Evans), and Kaycee Stroh (Martha Cox) return to East High in a clip from the final season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, coming to Disney+ next month. But Tuesday’s fourth season trailer revealed more than just a nostalgic performance of an all-new song, “High School Reunion.”

“It’s time for the high school reunion we’ve all been waiting for… 😉,” Disney wrote. “Here’s a sneak peek of the opening number of #HSMTMTS, streaming August 9 on @DisneyPlus!”

As the four East High alums perform, the camera focuses on a similar-age man beaming with pride. During a break from the performance, we see Sharpay Evan’s brother, Ryan, kiss him!

Ryan Evans has long been an LGBTQIA+ icon. In 2020, the director of the original film and its sequels, High School Musical 2 (2007) and High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008), Kenny Ortega, confirmed that the character was always written as gay.

“We decided he’d probably… come out in college,” Ortega said. “It was less about coming out and just more about letting his true colors come forward.”

All High School Musical posters edited next to each other, showcasing the cast
Credit: Disney

But High School Musical: The Musical: The Series did what Ortega and his team couldn’t in the early 2000s, showing Ryan as openly gay on camera.

“I was concerned because it was family and kids that Disney might not be ready to cross that line and move into that territory yet,” Ortega recalled in 2020. “So, I just took it upon myself to make choices that I felt that those who were watching would grab. They would see it, they would feel it, they would know it, and they would identify with it. And that is what happened.”

Are you watching the last season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments!

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