My Straight-Gay Friend aims to entertain and dispel stereotypes on sexuality
If the title doesn’t catch your attention, the off-kilter quirkiness of My Straight-Gay Friend surely will.
This new YouTube web series follows a closeted homosexual named Max Amiri, and his roommate, Troy, who is heterosexual and his polar opposite in almost every way. It’s a story about their riveting journey throughout university and their growth as individuals.
Max’s life is based loosely on the creator and writer of the series, Max Housany, a fourth-year electrical engineering student at the University of Ottawa.
The idea started last year in the summer of 2015, but the web series was unsuccessful due to a lack of equipment. Housany and his team however, refused to relinquish the project, and applied what they have learned since their first run.
“When I read the script, I loved it. I was vibing with it,” said Manisha Wanniarachchige, a third-year software engineering student and one of the series’ directors.
Throughout pre-production Housany was also introduced to Kerry Chalmers, who was instrumental in breathing life into Housany’s vision, bringing valuable years of experience, technical knowledge, and filming acumen to the table.
The cast and crew for this series includes over 65 people, which can make scheduling can difficult. Fortunately, Anne-Carolyne Binette, one of the series’ lead actresses and an entrepreneurship student at the U of O, said that they always find a way to make it work.
“When you do something that you love, the passion just explodes everywhere. It’s been a fun experience—it’s a fun crew. Lots of laughs. The cast and crews come prepared and ready to have a good time.”
James Raynard, a master’s student in counselling and spirituality who portrays the straight roommate Troy, recalls being contacted by Housany for the role. Even with a non-paid position, Raynard is in it for the learning experience.
“It’s great because you make friendships with people you wouldn’t normally make friendships with. It’s how you overcome the differences.”
“Even though there’s been a lot of progress in the LGBTQ+ community, there’s still not enough representation,” Housany expressed. “Especially when you look at the character of Max who comes from a Middle Eastern background. A character like him hasn’t always been portrayed in the media.”
Housany also wishes to portray sexuality as just one aspect of a person, as he feels it does not wholly define an individual.
“It’s very diverse and reflective of the Canadian culture. The characters bring their ethnic background and add their own personal touches,” said Chalmers.
My Straight-Gay Friend is available exclusively on YouTube and new episodes are released weekly or bi-weekly.