When the hit Netflix show “Sex Education,” released its first season in 2019, it was already a radical concept: following British teenagers as they explore their sexuality, navigate relationships, and the constraints of their orthodox high school and steadfast teachers.
Main character Otis, the son of a famous author and sex therapist, decides he’s good at giving advice and starts an off-the-books business at his school consulting students on their sex lives. The first three seasons are an exploration of the interpersonal relationships between all the usual high school players: cool kids, nerds, fashionistas, and the awkward quiet kids.
The show has always explored queer relationships, and even introduced a central non-binary character in season three, but there’s something magical about season four’s characters and dynamics. According to GQ, realistic depictions of the complexities of identity are what really hit the nail on the head for representation this season.
The new season places the original cast in a completely new environment, at Cavendish College, a departure from their former stomping grounds at Moordale Secondary School. Here, queer characters rule the school, including a warm-hearted couple Abbi (trans-fem) and Roman (trans-masc) depicted by Anthony Lexa and Felix Mufti, who were discovered for the parts by an open casting call.
“We wanted to add Roman and Abbi to show the breadth of trans experience,” season four writer Krishna Istha told GQ. “You know, the show is called Sex Education. And the point, to some extent, is education.”
Istha went on to explain how season four’s script was an open collaboration between the writers’ room, story consultants and the actors themselves, an effort that rendered a more honest exploration of representation in the world of intimacy and desire.
This fourth and final season is a welcome celebration of queer and transgender identity and relationships in the midst of a difficult time for transgender communities in America. Nationwide, anti-trans bills preventing both trans adults and students from living as their true selves have been introduced and passed at record breaking levels. Shows like Sex Education that boost representation and attempt to garner understanding of trans identities are the kind of push back we need.