Group shot of HUSBANDS cast and crew, photos provided by Christoph and Company.
LGTBQ is an acronym for several terms that seem to be almost taboo in some parts of Utah, leading to fear, harassment and degradation. HUSBANDS the series, a growing online sitcom about the life of a gay couple is working to change that.
On Nov. 11, at the Jeanne Wagner Theater, they will be presenting “UniTy: You are the Future,” an evening of comedy and message of hope for LGBTQ youth. The evening will include a social hour at 6 p.m., screening of HUSBANDS Season 2 at 7 p.m., followed by a panel discussion.
We asked Sean Hemeon, who plays Brady Kelly in HUSBANDS, some quick questions about the event.
Why are you hosting this event?
"I have personal reasons, but the biggest reason is the high level of at-risk LGBTQ youth in Utah. HRC did a survey nationally and in Utah and asked LGBTQ youth questions like 'Are you happy?' 'Do you have people that support you?' and 'Are you assaulted because of the way you identify sexually?' Utah’s statistics were higher than the national ones. I feel something needs to be done and awareness needs to be raised. A lot of these youth are raised in a suppressive environment, and I think they and everyone else needs to hear message of acceptance and equality."
This event is aimed towards at-risk LGTBQ youth. Why?
"Jane Espenson, the creator of HUSBANDS, found out that the Utah Homeless Youth Resource Center needed funds. Also KSL, the local TV station recently refused to air The New Normal, which sends the message that being gay is not acceptable. A lot of people know I grew up in an LDS family. We lived in the Utah/Oregon area and I’ve been through the process of leaving the church, coming out and coming to terms with the way that I am. I just thought 'Oh my gosh, I know what this is like and I can do something to help.'"
What is your hope with the panel?
"On the panel we will have HRC, two members from HUSBANDS and we just confirmed that a University of Utah professor of psychology will also be joining us. We have several things that we want to cover:
We want to make people aware of the National LGBT Hotline. They are trying to get further into Utah. They get a lot of calls from Utah, but not a lot of LGBTQ youth know about it. HRC is another resource.
We’re hoping the University of Utah professor can cover the science behind being gay. I want to talk about the transition behind religious youth and how it affects them and how it affected me. I’m really excited to share my story as well.
Cheeks has a different story from me. He grew up in Texas in a place where he couldn’t hide it like I could.
We want to talk about how LGBTQ is covered in the media. Really we just want to cover all bases of experience and share our own knowledge, experience and support."
What reactions do you expect?
"Some of the questions we expect from the audience are, of course, questions about the show such as guest stars, etc. Also, because we are telling personal stories we expect questions about those. But what I really want from this event is for at least one audience member to leave feeling more hopeful, informed and able to cope and face the world."