Lucas Grabeel as Ryan with Ashley Tisdale as his twin sister Sharpay
Lucas Grabeel as Ryan with Ashley Tisdale as his twin sister Sharpay (Picture: Disney)

High School Musical director Kenny Ortega feels Disney wasn’t ready for an openly gay character at the time the films were released.

The musical movies, starring Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, were released from 2006 to 2008.

Kenny felt that the character Ryan (Lucas Grabeel) who fans have always believed to be gay, would come out in the future rather than in high school.

He told Variety: ‘We decided he’s probably going to come out in college.

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‘It was less about coming out and just more about letting his true colours come forward.’

Asked whether he thought he could have had an openly gay character in the films at the time, he admitted: ‘I have to be honest with you. I didn’t think at the time — and Disney is the most progressive group of people I’ve ever worked with.

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‘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.

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‘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.’

He added that since the films aired he has had ‘thousands of kids’ tell him that High School Musical has inspired them to ’embrace’ their true selves.

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