Netflix show ‘Sex Education’ releases an open casting call for transgender actors

Picture taken by: Hannah Ozkadi

As season 4 is on the way, viewers of Sex Education can get ready to invite two new trans characters into their homes.

Following the show’s previous seasons, the writers have chosen to incorporate a trans couple which will  allow the audience to navigate through their experience with their families, the lgbtq+ community and their relationship. The significance of this announcement follows the shows casting of non-binary actor Dua Saleh, for the character Cal.  

The effort behind the show is impressive and has been celebrated by many of the lgbtq+ community for spearheading the film and tv industry by being inclusive and understanding of their struggles. By integrating their narrative into a popular Netflix series, producers and writers have broadened the minds of their diverse audience. In casting the actor for Cal, Laurie Nunn, the show’s creator spoke on how it was important “to make sure we were approaching that narrative with authenticity”, and as a result they talked to non-binary consultants. 

Previously, the show has been praised for talking about sex in an entertaining and educating way for its younger audience members. From featuring different relationship dynamics and presenting sex as an enjoyable and healthy part of growing, the shows consideration for involving actual lgbtq+ community members is immensely important in spearheading inclusiveness in the industry. 

The casting call was released through a tweet by Krishna Istha, writer of the critically acclaimed show, who announced that they were excited to invite trans actors of any or no experience to audition for the roles of Abbi and Kent. In the character description Abbi is described as being ‘a young trans woman with a 90s Winona Ryder vibe’ alongside her boyfriend Kent who is ‘trans-masculine, goofy, forgetful and a great listener’. The casting call has excited many fans of the show.“]

The overall outlook on this is generally positive as it is necessary for those that are trans to see positive and regular relationships like theirs broadcasted on a platform easily accessed by others. It not only allows the trans community to feel represented but it allows them to be widely understood by the public that may not be generally used to seeing such dynamics in your regular tv show or in day to day life. This is especially important as there has been a constant rise (25%)  in transphobic hate crimes in the UK within the last two years alone as reported in the BBC

Anthony Lexa, 21, trans woman picked up on this by mentioning that , “people need to realise how important representation is. Displaying transgender characters and their struggles on programmes as main stream as Sex Education can help the community feel seen and make them feel better.” She also said that, “It can also educate those around them, when they struggle to do so, creating a safer and more empathetic environment”.  

The importance of inclusivity is indescribable for anyone within the lgbtq+ community. There haven’t been many shows that have been dedicated to representing them through mainstream media forms, however, the show ‘Pose’ was one of the first to vehemently defy this. Set in 1987, the show follows the LGBTQ ball dancing scene in New York, with the show being successful for having ‘the largest cast of trans actors in TV history’, as described in the independent. Similarly to Sex Education, this was widely supported and praised by the lgbtq+ community. 

With its great support for the shows inclusion of trans actors, Pose and Sex Education may push other shows to go down a similar route. The Open call was released on the 17th of November 2021 with shooting for the show taking place between April-November 2022. 

Best of luck to those that apply.

Words by: Hannah Ozkadi | Subbed by: Tia Janowski.

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