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'Hetero' is a TV show for queer youth, made by queer youth

Six teenagers are in frame posing for a photo. One has her arms on another while two others are holding each other's faces. In the background is someone with a cigarette in their mouth.
Courtesy of Third Charm Films
The cast and crew of 'Hetero' were all teenagers during filming and the majority identify as queer.

“Hetero” is a new web series created by local teens that centers on a group of high school friends determined to save their school’s gay-straight alliance club.

Released last week on YouTube, the first episode of the five episode series has already racked up nearly 20,000 views. That response has been reaffirming for KJ Kieras, who wrote and co-directed the show.

“I just wanted to reflect the dynamics of my friend group and the people around me,” Kieras said. “I think that's one of the biggest reasons that we watch things, watch TV or watch movies is because we want to feel comforted and have our feelings and experiences be reflected."

Kieras is now a sophomore in college, but they thought of the premise for the show as a freshman in high school. Much of it is based on their own experience of being queer and finding refuge in the gay-straight alliance club, known as GSA club.

“A lot of the feelings of being isolated and feeling like you only have a couple of people to rely on was something that I really did go through in high school. And so having that be out in the world is obviously, you know, kind of tender,” Kieras said.

In the first episode, viewers are introduced to Quinn Goodman and their friends. The five of them make up the school's GSA club which they have to save. Their principal gives them the ultimatum to double the club's numbers or be shut down. This means having to recruit straight people for their club.

The cast and crew was largely queer, including Sabina Buensuceso who plays Quinn Goodman, a nonbinary lesbian. It meant a lot to Buensuceso who like Quinn, identifies as a nonbinary lesbian, to be a part of the show.

"I think now being able to watch shows and movies and see things that are made by and for queer people that are actually telling the stories that aren't painting us in a harmful stereotype or limiting us is it's so special and it's, it's almost healing as an adult," Buensuceso said.

The initial feedback from viewers has been positive. Kieras says they even got a comment from someone saying "Hetero" was the most they had ever felt represented by a piece of media. And that it has inspired them to keep acting.

"I wanted a friend group that looked like my friend group in high school," Kieras said. "I think if I'm going to write a queer show and then everyone's going to be like white and cis then I'm not accomplishing my goal of actually representing people."

New episodes of"Hetero" come out every Friday on YouTube.

Grace Madigan is KNKX's former Arts & Culture reporter. Her stories focused on how people express themselves and connect to their communities through art, music, media, food, and sport.