Educational and embracing – two words that describe this 8-episode series which pleases not only Netflix’s 18 to 29 demographic, but also the LGBT community, which holds high praise for Sex Education for its promotion of equality and the beautiful ideology that ‘love is love’.
Its gripping and fascinating storyline addresses many pressing issues within our society, such as the shocking abuse towards the transgender community. This is brilliantly portrayed by Eric (Ncuti Gatwa), a gay student who becomes a victim of physical violence when he is walking home at night alone whilst cross-dressing. His abusers drive away with no condemnation and the free reign to continue harassing people like Eric, solely due to the fact that they look and behave differently. Eric’s resilience and bravery are evident when he arrives at the school prom dressed proudly in his feminine attire, an act which is respected and admired by anyone facing the same pressures as Eric does.
Gillian Anderson, taking on a rather different role compared to her previous, more reserved characters, plays a sex therapist who, ironically, is struggling to help her son cope with his own sexual problems. Her character opens the debate of whether openness and honesty really is the best policy in regards to the sexual education and advice you give, or decide not to give, to your children. Ultimately, throughout the course of the series, her unreserved personality is of benefit to her son (Asa Butterfield) in his journey to overcome his issues without the fear of judgement.
Not only does Sex Education address sexual issues, as expected from its title, but it also focuses on the everyday pressures that teenagers face in school. One character evidently affected by this is Jackson (Keder Williams). To his fellow pupils he appears a popular, care-free, and talented athlete. Yet, as we watch more episodes, we notice that the pressures placed on him to perform well as a swimmer and achieve his goals have led to him experiencing extreme anxiety. His admittance of this to Maeve (Emma Mackey), the ‘bad-girl’, gives teenage viewers the confidence to do the same and admit that they too are struggling to cope with mounting demands and anxieties – an achievement one can only view as having a positive effect upon a society battling to tackle mental health issues.
Each character beholds a completely different personality, some showing signs of desperation to not finish High School still branded as a virgin and others whose life is far more complicated, with financial worries and a troubled home life. Yet, each individual has to integrate together as a community who protects one-another. This diversity is represented in every High School over the country and therefore, it offers insight into why bullying and conflicts occur within these communities. Education upon this is essential and I highly commend Sex Education for its authentic and factual research into the reality of High School for our teenagers today and the good it is doing by bringing these issues to light in such an entertaining fashion.