Sex Education season 4: Who was Shay Patten-Walker? (Dedication explained)

POLAND - 2023/01/06: In this photo illustration a Netflix logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
POLAND - 2023/01/06: In this photo illustration a Netflix logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) /

It’s time to jump into new episodes of Sex Education one last time, as the Netflix Original is back with its final installment. The British dramedy premiered on the platform in 2019 and soon became a favorite amongst subscribers worldwide, following a teenager named Otis and his coming-of-age story. The series tackles many issues related to sex, gender, race, and relationships, shining a light on what young adults go through as they find their identity in the world.

Though Sex Education is incredibly funny, it’s also very serious at times as it tackles sensitive topics and storylines. The fourth season is no different as we see characters endure plenty of very personal battles, from Cal’s inner struggle in not being able to get top surgery to Aimee finding ways to heal after being assaulted. The series has also been applauded for its LGBTQ+ representation, and creator Laurie Nunn has spoken about how important diversity is to the series.

If you’re binging through Sex Education season 4 right now and are wondering about the one dedication in episode 5, here’s what you need to know. The late Shay Patten-Walker might’ve very well been connected to how well the new season handled the LGBTQ+ representation.

LGBTQ+ rights advocate and public speaker Shay Patten-Walker passed away in 2022

Shay Patten-Walker is memorialized at the end of episode 5, and they, unfortunately, passed away in Feb. 2022. The LGBTQ+ rights advocate and public speaker was a transgender person who used they/them pronouns, and after doing some research, it’s apparent that they were incredibly well-regarded in the community. They attended the University of Greenwich and worked as a freelance speaker and facilitator for various LGBTQ+ and human rights organizations.

Some of Patten-Walker’s accolades include speaking at the 2021 Generation Equality Forum, working with organizations like Gendered Intelligence, UK Black Pride, and others, and serving as a voice actor. And though we could not find an obvious connection between them and Sex Education, one comment we noticed on their Instagram gives us reason to believe we might know why an episode was dedicated to them.

This has not been confirmed by Netflix nor anyone directly involved with the show, but Patten-Walker’s last Instagram post before their death mentions being “a writers consult for a show I love,” which could definitely be Sex Education. We know the show was renewed for a fourth season in Sept. 2021, and though we don’t know when the writers’ room began, it’s not outside of the realm of possibility that Patten-Walker could’ve served as a consultant.

It doesn’t look like the writer of the episode nor the creator of the series has posted about Patten-Walker on social media, so it’s hard to speculate how much involvement they had in the show. That said, Patten-Walker was certainly an influential person in the LGBTQ+ community, as we mentioned. Many tributes were shared after their death, with the Head of Trans Inclusion at UK Black Pride, Rico Jacob Chace, calling them “one of the pillars in the Trans/NB community.”

A memorial ceremony was hosted in Patten-Walker’s remembrance in March 2022, and they were also remembered at the Trans Day of Remembrance in London, England in late 2022.

The fifth episode of Sex Education season 4 features a conversation between Cal and a new character named Aisha after they go on a date to the movies, in which Cal opens up on the struggle they have with their mother. They say that she doesn’t understand their identity and they get tired of always having to explain themselves to her. Cal’s storyline is one of the more focal this season, which is great.

Rest in peace, Shay Patten-Walker. Our thoughts are with their loved ones.

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