Ncuti Gatwa of Sex Education explains the importance of Eric hiding his sexuality from his family

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Sex Education Season 3. Ncuti Gatwa as Eric Effiong, Connor Swindells as Adam Groff in Episode 2 of Sex Education Season 3. Cr. © 2020 Sam Taylor / NETFLIX

Sex education is a show that tackles countless social issues in one episode, not to mention just one series – and this third season is no different from the ones that came before it. From sexual assault and homophobia to gender fluidity and civil rights, the new season covers a lot of ground when it comes to major issues affecting young people today. This season, a script that particularly stood out to us is that of Eric Effiong (played by Ncuti Gatwa), as it shows the very nuanced experience of a gay black man’s journey towards self-acceptance while growing up in a Nigerian household.

Coming out to family members is rarely an easy experience, but it can be made even more difficult when the concept of extended family is introduced, especially in non-white households which can often have large numbers of family members. extended family living abroad. We caught up with Gatwa to talk about the importance of showing the nuance of those experiences, the importance of extended families in non-white households, and what to expect from the character of Eric in the third season of the series.

The importance of presenting coming out experiences to non-white families is something that Sex education clearly values, and for Gatwa, this is because “the experience will always be different. her culture and race. ”Part of that appreciation comes from series creator Laurie Nunn, who Gatwa says“ has made history that her family loves her and accepts her. ”Gatwa also explained that “we are seeing the message come out because Eric has already dated his family before meeting him in the first season, and they understand it and love him already”.

As for Eric’s journey in season three, we see the added pressure that comes with trying to please his extended family, when he travels to Nigeria for a family wedding. “The introduction of the extended family, I think for anyone who is not white, is very important. For Africans and for Asians, we really have this idea of ​​an extended family institution and the pressure that it can. exert on the nucleus of an immediate family and its reputation, ”explained Gatwa.

Sex Education Season 3. Ncuti Gatwa as Eric Effiong in Episode 2 of Sex Education Season 3. Cr.  Sam Taylor / NETFLIX © 2020

Sex Education Season 3. Ncuti Gatwa as Eric Effiong in Episode 2 of Sex Education Season 3. Cr. © 2020 Sam Taylor / NETFLIX

Family and identity are two themes at the heart of Sex educationIn the third season, and especially for the character of Gatwa, the continued acceptance and understanding of his family is something incredibly heartwarming to watch. “It’s a very complex part of the story that Laurie has included and which I really appreciate because her family – even though it seems like they’re trying to suppress her identity and expression – they’re just extremely protective of her. him and understand the pitfalls he has. is going to run into in this world. “

Gatwa explained that for Eric, the third season of the show is about trying to understand himself and piece together the different parts of his identity. “He already has in mind that he’s black, that he’s gay, and that he’s Nigerian, and then he’s also religious. Now he has to try to integrate all of these elements of his being into his real self, so I think it’s really important to see these aspects of things and see what minority life is like. Eric is a minority within a minority, and it’s very difficult, so I think he was really important to show your experience because it will affect your whole life. “

Sex education season three is available to watch on Netflix now.


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