“Hey, we’re probably going to revisit this,” Benjamin Law remembers telling the team behind his television show, The Family Law, back in 2016 when the first season was about to air.
Based loosely on his book of the same name, the SBS show follows an Asian-Australian family living on the Sunshine Coast, and in season one, central character Ben was already a teenager exploring his sexuality.
“If you go right back to the first episode of Family Law, there’s Ben spying on the hot male neighbour across the road,” Law tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
This year the show revisits Ben’s sexuality, and Law says he’s “really pleased” this is the direction of season three.
“We’re really stoked because the first season in 2016 made history in one way,” explains Law.
“It was the first Asian-Australian show to be on television in terms of showcasing Asian-Australian family, and now we’re making history again as the first show about gay teen sexuality.”
After same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia following the postal survey in 2017, Law believes one of the next big talking points for LGBTI rights has been young people.
“As much as Australians are increasingly and so obviously comfortable with a gay marriage and same-sex partners, I think a lot of people are still trying to get their heads around it and feel anxious about kids and teenagers being gay, lesbian, bisexual or being trans,” he says.
“This is a show that we’ve designed to explore issues of sexuality and identity – whether it’s to do with uncertainty, discomfort, anxiety, bullying – but also in a way that’s approachable.
“We’re making a comedy,” he explains, so viewers “can get their head around an issue that I think a lot of people find uncomfortable to talk about”.
Despite the show’s themes of teen sexuality, Law says parents are also an ideal audience.
“You might even be the most broad-minded and progressive of parents, but it still is a confronting thing for a lot of parents to discover that their children are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, just queer in general,” he explains.
“It’s not necessarily instructive,” he says, but this show “will kind of chart how parents might be feeling about that sort of stuff”.
“It will also show that at the end of the day, it’s not so scary. What your kid needs is your support and unconditional love and if you’ve been providing that already, you can’t go wrong.”
Trystan Go, 17, returns to season three as main character Ben, while Fiona Choi and Anthony Brandon Wang reprise their roles as Ben’s parents, Jenny and Danny Law.