I was 12 years old when Queer As Folk debuted on Channel 4. I was in my formative years, everything was confusing and everything was strange. Puberty is a mess for everyone! Anyone that says otherwise is an android/cyborg or is lying.
One late night while flicking through the channels on Sky, I stopped on Eurotrash. Or at least I think it was Eurotrash. Regardless, this programme had a segment on show about gay men living in Manchester. It was called Queer As Folk. I didn’t know I was gay, I didn’t know being gay meant being different. I knew I had an attraction to men but I was working on the assumption that everyone else did too. The show’s central cast, Nathan, Stuart and Vince would help me to realise what ‘gay’ meant. One of the main characters Vince was even a huge geek! You could be gay and a geek?! My whole world was blown right open!
It was an awakening for me. I had a crush on Nathan and now I can see he was a mirror for me. So much of what he was experiencing would play out in my own life. The first time Nathan and Stuart kiss and ultimately sleep together I was shaking. That was gay sex?! That’s what I was going to get to do?! I wanted to turn 18 straight away, find a gay bar and find a man! It would be another 4 years before anything like that would actually happen and there wasn’t a bar. We met on MySpace! It didn’t matter!
The series was unheard of it’s time. It had only been six years that homosexuality was decriminialised in Ireland. Now here was a UK Network airing a series about the lives (albeit dramatised) of three gay men. I don’t think I was the only teenager, the only person who felt the impact. The show’s cast are all almost instantly recognisable. Stuart played by Aidan Gillen now plays Little Finger in Game Of Thrones. Nathan is played by Charlie Hunnam now known for Pacific Rim and Sons of Anarchy.
Queer As Folk helped me truly understand a part of who I was. I didn’t feel so weird and there was certainly less confusion when I knew I really wanted to kiss men!
18 years on now and I’m looking back on a pretty gay life with nothing but pride!
Editor-in-Chief, part-time super villain and hoarder of cats. If you can’t find me writing, I’m probably in the kitchen!