Episode 4: I'm Not Gay
Teens are in a state of continual sexual flux as their hormones swing and they feel uncertain about themselves and others. Gino, Gerome and Perry are suddenly faced with the stress and intrigue of homosexuality, homophobia and the confused sexual feelings that many teens experience.
Straight Talk by Straight Teens on Homosexuality and Homophobia
When was the last time you sat down and talked about homosexuality or homophobia. If you’re like most people the answer is probably never. The problem is that many teens have to live with these issues every day and very little is being done to help them. I’m Not Gay! is the standard answer when you’re a youth accused of acting in a way that others may consider to be sexually deviant. Few people realize, however, the stress, loneliness and fear that you feel if you are a closeted gay or sexually uncertain youth. Even worse, if you are the target of a homophobe you can experience mental or physical abuse or even be driven to suicide. Many parents refuse to accept that a child of theirs could be gay, or to discuss such issues with their children. Hiding their heads in the sand seems to be a safer alternative.
I’m Not Gay!, their most challenging episode, has just been released to coincide with the International Day Against Homophobia. It deals with the issues that teens go through living with homosexuality and homophobia. As straight but sexually accepting teens it was a major challenge to play the rolls of a homophobic teen, a closeted gay teen, a sexually experimenting teen and an out gay teen. To quote producer Paul Thompson, however, “Teens are not getting the issues that they need to get… These are issues that you can’t really avoid. Sometimes people are scared. Sometimes teachers or parents are scared to bring up these issues and that’s the main problem… This is something that teens really need to hear. This is something that we can really push the envelope with.” It would seem that they have been successful since the organizing group for the International Day Against Homophobia is now promoting the video as a resource for schools.
As violence in our society increases, there is a growing pressure to more effectively deal with the stresses of teen life, rather than to bury them. HormonesTv is one such answer. Created by two Canadian teens and their friends it deals with issues that many adults feel are too controversial to discuss. Topics to date include: how to put on a condom, oral sex, smoking up and with the release of I’m Not Gay, homosexuality and homophobia. Avoiding the standard “don’t do it” message that teens usually hear, stars Paul Thompson and Asif Deen thoroughly research their topics and visually present them in such a way that teens listen and learn. They have combined an unusual blend of teen humour, interesting story line and factual details, and have ended each episode with a cliffhanger, thus ensuring that their peers will be asking for more.
I’m Not Gay! depicts the trials of a young teen who is popular with the girls, but starts to feel a physical attraction towards another male. His best friend in the meantime doesn’t trust this newcomer and shows his true homophobic colours. A fourth male who is openly out with his homosexual lifestyle and two girlfriends intertwine with everything that’s happening to produce an exciting chain of events and a wealth of related information.
Fascinating as the story may be, what’s really important are the lessons learned. The cast depict what it is like to be a homophobe, a closeted teen, a sexually experimenting teen, an out gay teen and the girlfriends of both the homophobe and the experimenting teen. During this journey, viewers find out about the types of activities that gay youth enjoy, what it’s like to go on a gay date, how to increase their sexual safety if they experiment and the impact of homosexuality and homophobia on their friends. The cast also reinforces the fact that being a homophobe often reflects sexual insecurity, being gay isn’t wrong, safe sexual experimentation as a teen is normal and that it’s wrong to stay in an abusive relationship. All of this is done in a school-acceptable format. As serious as the information sounds, frequent giggles and gasps are heard from most audiences as the hormonestv cast use subtle humour and surprise twists to maintain the interest of teens while conveying information. This teen-centric approach to the topic has been an immediate hit.