Saturday, January 5, 2013

Queer as Folk as a Resource for Writers

Familiar with this ground-breaking Showtime presentation that ran for five seasons 2000 to 2004? Good. Not acquainted? Here’s a brief introduction.

It’s likely the first time a television show tackled the grittier aspects of gay and lesbian life. There’s quite a bit of nudity in these episodes, including portrayals of sexual practices. Some of the scenes are graphic, but never pornographic in my opinion. The plots are fast-moving and engross the watcher. The characters—gay and straight—are compelling, and range in age from fifteen to a man in his sixties; lesbians are also represented.

The topics presented on the show are still relevant today: clubbing; casual but responsible sex using condoms; long-term love interests; HIV; gay bashing; discrimination; gay marriage; kids. This is only a sampling.

Where the gay/lesbian character stands with his/her family figures in as well. Ranging from a colorful PFLAG mom who embraces her son and the surrounding culture to outright familial rejection, these are believable interactions.

Whether you’ve never seen the show, or want to reacquaint yourself with the characters, it’s good entertainment, and an easy way to get some information. It could inspire your next manuscript.

I'm sure not everyone agrees. Comments?

Whitley writes erotic and M/M romance. Find her books at


  1. Kelly, I was very eager to see this show when it was first on, but, alas, we didn't -- and still don't -- have showtime. Wah! I'd watch it in a heartbeat. I did catch an episode or two at a friend's house, and it was very compelling.

    My wife and I are scheduled to sign our wills (at last) in a couple of weeks. Big bucks, but very necessary.

    I have enough material on this subject without watching the series {wry grin} and two books with gay main characters almost ready to submit. I do very much want to watch the series, though

    PS: I am not a robot, but I have lousy vision. Let's see how many times I have to try to get past the spam filter....

    1. Margaret, congrats on signing your wills! I think I caught one or two episodes at a friend's house, too (no Showtime). But the series is available in DVD format.

  2. I watched all five episodes of QAF, got them from netflix. It was an amazing and enjoyable journey. I even wrote a QAF fanfic lol It is a wonderful resource for learning about certain gay lifestyles and attitudes, especially for those who are used to thinking in purely romantic terms, cause it isn't always.

    Far from pornographic, although you might see the male member, none of the sex scenes were explicit, all done in good taste and very sensual.

    I would like to see the UK version too someday.

    The nice thing is if you can afford to buy it, you can write it off on your taxes! Yes, it's legit! So are the books you buy to research and/or review!

    Great post, Whitley! I could talk about QAF all day!

  3. Hi, Margaret. No Showtime here either. It's available on DVD and Netflix. Even if you don't use it for your writing, as a source of entertainment, the characters are compelling.

    Hi, Julie.
    I agree--very enjoyable. Never get tired of the characters or storylines. The nudity is in good taste.

  4. I've never seen it, but you have my curiosity up.

  5. Though it's very common to see gay characters in television today, they often are still tokens. Queer as Folk and the L Word did lift up GLBT issues that still need to be addressed in the wider community. Hate and prejudice are still present today.

    On the romance side of things, shows like Queer as Folk do show the humanness of the gay community---in all its too often juvenile behaviors. And, yes, that's very real sometimes. But true love, long-lasting love is there and just as cherished as in the hetero world. (And most of us in the gay community aren't as gorgeous as these actors!)

  6. Hi, Marion,
    Good! Check it out!

    Hi, Janie.
    Yes, long-lasting love. The portrayal is there with Ben and Michael, I think. In the real world, I think most people strive for love and understanding.


  7. Interesting post :) I got it on DVD and enjoyed it immensely, but never thought I could offset it against taxes, LOL! It's research ;)

  8. Hi, Annette.
    Yes, it IS research! :>D