Extra Virgin: An emotional deep dive into trauma and gay online hookups

Main actors of Extra Virgin gay kiss

Extra Virgin is extra intense and a powerful must-see.

The play starts in darkness, with an all-too real sex scene. It also features full frontal nudity and we’re definitely not complaining.

The laddish and older Elliot (Alexander Hulme) and twinky Noah (James Farley) are on a Grindr hookup – which by nature are usually unplanned and a unique experience shared between two strangers – but nothing could be further from the truth here.

The play escalates from pillow talk to Noah playing expertly with Elliot’s mind, until Elliot reaches breaking point.

‘It may be triggering or uncomfortable’

Hulme acts exceptionally well and portrays a mixed bag of emotions in a way that is believable and cultivating to the audience. It really sucks you into the play’s emotional vacuum.

The story contains twists and surprises right until the end, which gets you through the slower parts of the play. There were moments in the beginning when you were left wanting more from the performance, but this is salvaged by a dramatic and well-performed second half of the play.

The narrative is a slow burner. Though saying that, both actors exchange comedic and relatable dialogue, leaving us laughing and nostalgic of our own sexual experiences.

Extra Virgin cast

Extra Virgin. | Photo: PBG Studios Production Photography / supplied

The play’s title of Extra Virgin doesn’t give much away about the true nature of this seemingly light production. But a note to some viewers: it may be triggering or uncomfortable as it touches on topics of violence, sexual abuse and rape.

Farley adds a boyish charm to his character, giving the character the vulnerability it needs, while also appearing borderline sociopathic.

On preparing for playing his emotional role, Farley told Gay Star News: ‘As a young gay man myself, I am very similar to Noah. There wasn’t much to research. I decided I could bring the character to myself.

‘I’ve found an actor only needs two qualities to play characters in extreme situations like this: Imagination and Empathy. If you like lack in one you can make up for with the other.”

‘If you come to see Extra Virgin, make sure your phone is off as the play relies on its silence and tension!’

That it does James, that it does.

★★★★

Extra Virgin runs until 10 February 2019 at the Above the Stag Theatre, Vauxhall. Tickets on sale here.

See also:

Is this the gayest pantomime of all time?

REVIEW: Holding the Man: A timeless story of endless gay love and loss

Southern Baptist Sissies: The gay Book of Mormon come to life (and stage)

Author: Alex Protopapa

The post Extra Virgin: An emotional deep dive into trauma and gay online hookups appeared first on Gay Star News.

Sex Education accurately deals with real life issues through a teenage lens

Eric and Lily starring at a screen while wearing make-up

If you haven’t already given new show Sex Education a chance, then view this as my official pitch.

Get comfortable, because this is gonna be a long one.

The show was released onto Netflix on 11 January.

It focuses on main character Otis, played by sweetheart Asa Butterfield. We watch as he teams up with school reject Maeve, played by Margot Robbie doppelganger Emma Mackey, to set up a clinic to deal with their fellow students’ sex and relationship issues.

Maeve deals with the money and business side of things, while Otis is the one giving the advice.

You’re wondering how a socially awkward virgin might be equipped to deal with such problems? Well, his mother (Jean, played by bi icon Gillian Anderson) just so happens to be a well-known sex therapist.

Serious spoilers ahead (you’ve been warned)

A vital part of the show is Otis’ relationship with best friend Eric.

Eric is one of many LGBTI characters featured.

Throughout the course of the show, we witness Eric deal with a lot –  From living in a religious African household to being the victim of a homophobic attack.

I know I’m not the only one who felt nervous for Eric in the build up to said attack.

Otis and Eric were due to travel to watch a screening of Hedwig and the Angry Inch while both in drag. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Otis ends up unable to join Eric.

Eric Effiong, Otis’ best friend | Photo: Sex Education Netflix

‘Gay best friend to the school’s mean girls’

As an LGBTI person, I was immediately set on edge by the thought of a young queer person, travelling along, while in drag. Any queer person can unfortunately relate to the feelings Eric was having in that situation.

The aftermath of the homophobic attack itself particularly is quite intense and really shows you a new side to Eric. But personally, it’s the aftermath that makes it worth watching.

Your average teenage would have absolutely no idea to go out coping with such a thing, and that’s exactly the point.

Had Eric immediately sat down and rang the police to report the incident, it wouldn’t have felt as real. An attack is scary and the first thing you probably want is comfort – Just as Eric seeks when he heads straight to his best friend’s house.

Eric even takes out his emotions following the attack on the school’s only other openly gay person – Anwar.

Don’t get me wrong. The ‘gay best friend to the school’s mean girls’ type character has been wildly overdone at this point.

What makes Anwar different is that he’s Indian, and until the encounter with Eric, hadn’t come out to his family. He isn’t the ‘gay best friend to the school’s mean girls’ who has been out to his parents since he was eight.

This glimpse into his family life adds some much appreciated depth.

Anwar. played by Chaneil Kular | Photo: Sex Education Netflix

‘You can’t engineer a relationship’

While Anwar and Eric are the only out gay men at the school, they’re far from the only queer people at the school we encounter.

In episode 4 we follow the relationships issues of same-sex couple Ruthie and Tanya.

They’re best friends. Tanya was really supportive of Ruthie when she came out. Not long later, Tanya also came out.

From there, the pair thought it just made sense to date because they already got along so well.

Personally, I have seen very similar things happen in the real world.

It’s something that does actually happens and definitely isn’t discussed enough.

It’s similar to the way that if you’re the only queer person if your workplace, when another queer person joins, there’s an expectation that you’ll date or hook up at some point. I’m sure we can all agree that this is downright annoying.

Seeing such a rarely portrayed relationship dynamic is refreshing. While Ruthie originally takes the stance that a straight boy can’t help them with their relationship, he does end up giving her some hard hitting (and true) advice: ‘You can’t choose who you’re attracted to. You can’t engineer a relationship.’

She also makes the incredibly accurate observation that it’s ‘weird a teenage boy is a sex therapist.’ We’re all with you on that one, Ruthie.

Ruthie (L, played by Lily Newmar) and Tanya (R, played by Alice Hewkin) | Photo: Sex Education Netflix

Casual representation

I have two more queer reasons you should watch the show.

There’s a really hot regular on the show called Jackson, played by Kedar Williams-Stirling. (He’s not the reason – But also, you should watch the show to see just how hot he is.)

Maybe I completely missed it, but there was barely any previous mention that he had two Moms before his Moms were there on screen. There was no ‘Hey this is Jackson, and he has two Moms.’

He just, had them. They were just there. I loved that casual normalization of having two parents of the same gender. Oh – and they’re another interracial couple.

My final queer reason is that I, alongside many people on Twitter, am fairly convinced that Otis is a romantic asexual person. It was a feeling I had from the very first episode, and had all the way until the last episode.

Jackson’s parents | Photo: Sex Education Netflix

‘It is stupid and ridiculous, but also… real’

There are also plenty of non-queer reasons as to why everyone should give the show a shot.

The script is brilliant, and it will have you genuinely laughing out loud. Eric is damn well hilarious. And I challenge you to not fall in love with Otis’ Mom, Jean.

It deals with real, hard-hitting stuff that the teens of today can come face-to-face with.

There’s an emotional episode where main character Maeve finds out she is pregnant and decides to have an abortion.

Teenage abortion is another issue that is vastly underrepresented in the media.

The scenes of her going through the process are overwhelmingly emotional and intimate. Your heart really aches for dear Maeve, a character who by this point you’re already well attached to.

Not only do you see Maeve dealing with this, you get to see how Otis deals with it. There are a couple of amazing moments where he’s trying desperately to figure out how he can best support her – And ends up buying her some flowers and a sandwich.

Again, this is one of those incredibly awkward moments where it is stupid and ridiculous, but also feels very real.

I would be the first person to put my hand up and say that even as a womb-bearing person, I still would struggle to know how to best support a friend who was having an abortion.

Now I know what not to turn up with.

Otis after Maeve’s abortion | Photo: Sex Education Netflix

A truly relatable teen show

The show also tackles leaked private pictures (of someone’s vagina), a woman getting over the stigma around female masturbation… I could go on for days.

Before you say ‘leaked nudes isn’t something that happens in real life’ – It happened to a girl I knew in high school.

At this point, this is practically my love letter about the show/to the show.

I enjoyed watching shows like Skins and Gossip Girl as a teen. They were entertaining. But, they were never really relatable for me.

Sex Education is that relatable show I wish I’d had when I was in high school.

So, the show has eight episodes. If you watch one a day, you’ll be finished by next week. See you then to discuss?

Let Charlie know your thoughts on Sex Education via Twitter.

See also

Why I’m happy to let my sexuality define me

Here’s what Tana Mongeau and Bella Thorne’s relationship means to me

 

Author: Charlie Mathers

The post Sex Education accurately deals with real life issues through a teenage lens appeared first on Gay Star News.

Dear Logan Paul: Instead of going gay, how about you go away?

Logan Paul

Remember the guy who filmed a dead body in a Japanese suicide forest, then uploaded it to YouTube?

Well, Logan Paul is back at it again almost exactly a year later, but this time with another tone-deaf take.

On Wednesday (9 January), he revealed on his Impaulsible Podcast he was trying veganism and sobriety in January, then doing the opposite in February – lots of meat and booze.

But it’s what he’s doing in March that left a sour taste in my mouth – he wants to ‘go gay’.

That’s right, he said he and co-host Mike Majlak are doing ‘Male-only March’.

‘We’re gonna attempt to go gay for just one month,’ he explained. Then Majlak quickly chimed in: ‘And then swing… go back.’

The whole panel then erupted into laughter.

No one’s laughing

I’m all for people experimenting with their sexuality and trying new things to broaden their horizons but let’s be 100% clear here – that’s not at all what this is.

This is a joke designed to mock gay people.

It’s why they all laughed after they said it. It’s also why they quickly changed the subject, as if they were embarrassed by the revelation.

In the video Logan Paul showed images of a dead body | Photo: YouTube Logan Paul

Logan Paul showed images of a dead body | Photo: YouTube / Logan Paul

Being gay isn’t a choice and it’s certainly not a phase.

By saying you want to ‘go gay’, you’re deligitimizing the experiences of LGBTI people everywhere.

Well I have news for you, Logan Paul: Gay people are tired of being used as punchlines. In fact, we’re no longer putting up with it so we’re calling it out.

Homophobia is real 

If you want to experiment with men, more power to you. Heck, you might even find you enjoy sucking dick.

But this ‘male-only March’ idea is dangerous and downright homophobic.

Some people hurt themselves over the genuine fear they have of coming out as gay. Some people even have to hide their authentic selves and pretend they’re straight, just to survive.

Logan Paul

Logan Paul. | Photo: Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons

Your flippant suggestion it’s just something you can turn on and off is incredibly damaging.

If you had any genuine inkling towards sexual experiences with men, you wouldn’t package it up like this off-the-cuff wisecrack.

I feel sorry for the gay and bisexual men you ‘go gay’ for and inevitably lead on. I feel sorry for the people defending this.

But most of all, I feel sorry for you that in 2019, you think this stunt is in any way acceptable.

 

James Besanvalle is a journalist for Gay Star News. You can find him on Twitter.

See also:

YouTube briefly restricted Chelsea Manning’s Senate video as ‘inappropriate’

Gay wrestler finds used condom under boyfriend’s bed – then this happened

YouTuber Tana Mongeau talks candidly about her polyamorous relationship

Author: James Besanvalle

The post Dear Logan Paul: Instead of going gay, how about you go away? appeared first on Gay Star News.