When the US version of Queer As Folk first premiered back in 2000, Bill Clinton was still in office, the Twin Towers still stood, gay marriage was a pipe dream, ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ was still official government policy and 14 states still had anti-sodomy laws on the statute books. In short, it was another lifetime ago.
By the time it ended 5 years later it had broken new ground in US television by becoming the first television drama to prioritise LGBT+ narratives and depict graphic scenes of gay sex. All of which were a first on US television. This month as part of their pride issue Entertainment Weekly has gathered the entire cast together – the first time they’ve all been together since they filmed the finale in 2005 – to celebrate the boundary-pushing show.
Brian (Gale Harold), Michael (Hal Sparks) , Emmett (Peter Paige), Ted (Scott Lowell), Justin (Randy Harrison), Ben (Robert Gant), Debbie (Sharon Gless), Lindsay (Thea Gill), and Melanie (Michelle Clunie) all praised the willingness of the Showtime hit to push the envelope in what was then a very conservative cultural landscape.
Executive producer Ron Cowen said he saw Queer As Folk “as an opportunity to address a lot of issues that had never been shown on American TV before. That was very important to us because we, gay people, didn’t really see a true reflection of ourselves on TV very often.”
He continued, “I think it’s actually so thrilling to know that young gay people are watching this show because they didn’t grow up with all the stuff that we were dealing with at the turn of the 21st century. We all went through a lot of stuff. So they come to the show with a very different point of view, but the one similarity I find with the young people now and the people back then that they’ve all said is that ‘you showed me, I saw myself’ and that meant so much to people. And the other thing they all say is ‘in watching your show, I knew I wasn’t alone’ and that’s a blessing.”
Watch the behind the scenes video below.
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