Contains spoilers for Sex Education season 4.
After the fourth and final season of Sex Education dropped last week, fans praised the beloved show’s portrayal of a trans-for-trans (T4T) relationship in the fabulous power couple composed of new characters Abbi and Roman. Many highlighted how writers managed to deliver some joyful and intimate trans representation without resorting to stereotypes or tragic tropes.
Whether you enjoyed the final season or are among those who criticised this conclusion to the beloved show, there’s one thing that never disappoints about Sex Education, and that’s its incredibly diverse representation. Since its debut in 2019, the series has gained notoriety for being brutally honest about teenage lives and struggles and for its ability to represent diversity.
In the newest and conclusive episodes, fans got to watch beloved characters from the previous season continue their journey, while some new faces were also introduced. Among the new additions to the Sex Education universe were Abbi and Roman, two trans characters played by trans actors and created by trans writers.
A power couple hugely popular and celebrated in their school, Abbi and Roman have a falling out related to their sex life in true Sex Education style, before getting back together. Fans praised the show’s ability to portray diversity even in their experience. Instead of creating two monolithic characters, the writers penned individuals with very different life experiences: one with a supportive family, while the other has a difficult relationship with relatives; and both of them approaching their transness in different ways.
Today we wanted to introduce you to some of the new (and amazing) characters of #SexEducation Season 4 ?
Starting with the most popular couple at the new school: Abbi and Roman, played by the brilliant Anthony Lexa and the entertaining Felix Mufti ? pic.twitter.com/X6Y9YnDIvo
— a daily crow ✨ (@adailycrow) September 19, 2023
In an interview with Diva Magazine, Sex Education trans writer Krisha Istha said: “It was really important for us to show the multi-faceted lives trans people live. We went back and forth in the writers’ room, trying to find the ‘ideal’ trans storyline until we realised that any one portrayal of the trans experience (whether the struggles or the joys) wouldn’t do trans people justice unless it was balanced out by the other.”
Explaining further how these characters came to life, they said: “We are at a time when anti-trans rhetoric is at an all-time high and there is a misunderstanding that trans people have an easy time getting access to gender-affirming healthcare, which any trans person with lived experience can confirm is not the case in the slightest.”
They added, “I hope trans and non-binary viewers feel seen, while cis audiences who might not know much about it but have seen trans ‘issues’ bandied about get a better insight into what our lives are really like, which is both sometimes hard but also full of camaraderie and community.”
am i the only person on this fucking app that loves both roman and abbi THEYRE SOOOOO THEY MAKE ME SOOO CRYING SOBBING SHITTING MY PANTS pic.twitter.com/q9IiPPBLCH
— andy ? (@c3m3t4rydr1v3) September 24, 2023
Another point of praise in how Sex Education managed to portray trans-for-trans love was the incredibly intimate sex scene that is shown at the end of the season. Director David Thackeray shared the process of creating such a scene in an interview with Digital Spy, saying: “I think what’s amazing, and what Sex Education does so well, is that the writers have specialists come in, and they work out what to put on the page, basically, to make sure that it’s coming from real sources and not just imagination.”
He explained how the scene was constructed with the help of an intimacy coordinator and an LGBTQ+ consultant to ensure that the two actors were comfortable with what was going to happen and the sexual relationship would be represented authentically.
Actor Felix Mufti, who played Roman, also opened up about the sex scene in an interview with Gay Times, saying that it was a “joyous and beautiful” moment. “You never see two trans people having sex [onscreen], ever, especially on their own terms,” Mufti said.
“We felt like we were creating a queer archive for people to relate to. T4T people never see representation on TV, so the fact that we could be the faces and voices and bodies behind that was really special,” the actor added.
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