Queer As Folk (US)

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Name: Queer as Folk
Abbreviation(s): QAF, QAF (US), QAFUS, QAF-US
Creator: based on Queer as Folk UK, created by Russell T. Davies, developed for the US by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman
Date(s): 2000-2005
Medium: Television
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: Wikipedia, crack_van overview
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Based on the British series of the same name, Queer as Folk began airing on U.S. cable network Showtime in 2000. It was the first sexually explicit gay television series in history, part of Showtime's "No Limits" campaign.

Set in a highly-fictionalized Pittsburgh (played by the actual city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada), Queer as Folk ran for five seasons, during which time its characters dealt with issues all over the spectrum from soap-staples like infidelity and illness to "ripped from the headlines" political issues like marriage equality, violence against LGBT people, the way even people in the queer community often tried to get less socially conforming members (transgender, non-monogamous, etc.) to stay out of public view, struggles around HIV/AIDS, queer youth, LGBT adoption, and same-sex parenting.

The focal couples in the show, who were together in each of the five seasons, were Brian and Justin and Lindsay and Melanie. Michael and Ben were together for four of the seasons, and married legally in Toronto in Season Four.

There were several hostile straight characters, including a gay basher, a homophobic cop who ran for mayor on a campaign to clean up Pittsburgh's gay neighborhood, and a father who tries to kill his son's lover and disowns his son for being gay. However, there were also many straight allies who were major and strong secondary characters in the series: Debbie, mother of a gay son (Michael) and sister of a gay brother; Jennifer, mother of a gay son who starts out upset with his homosexuality and becomes a PFLAG mom; Daphne, the only major character of color in the series, who plays Justin's best friend for all five seasons.

Because it has many canonical gay male couples, Queer as Folk is often used as an example in multifandom discourse about topics such as the evolving nature and definition of slash, and the differences between gay male sensibilities and slash.

(Because it had both an original UK version, and a following US version, it's also frequently used as an example of translating shows between cultures.)

QaF Fandom

During the years the show was airing, the biggest connector webpage in the fandom was What Love Means (now missing -- here's a link to a version on the Wayback Machine).

A fan remembers: "...back in 2002, fanfic for QAF was not in the abundance it is now. It was possible to read every single QAF piece of fan fiction written and at times forced to impatiently wait for authors to post. The QAF stories were mostly posted on authors’ own websites. Many stories were linked on whatlovemeams.com." [1]

By 2006, nearly all fandom activity was taking place on LiveJournal. During Strikethrough 2007, one camp of the fandom made its base on the more fandom-welcoming InsaneJournal. This evolved to be a strongly canon-based, meta-friendly, fandom-monogamous community, while the LiveJournal Queer as Folk fandom is a more multifandom, AU/crossover/RPS-welcoming eclectic one. While relations between the two camps were tense in the first year or so after the "exodus," they co-exist now, and many fans cross between the two -- with new fans not even realizing there was any past hostility.


As mentioned above, a portion of QAF fandom moved to InsaneJournal. Queer As News was started to keep track of news concerning QAF on IJ, like challenges, new asylums, interesting meta and fics, etc.

Some other asylums of interest:

  • _love_qaf_fic - general fic archive
  • qaf_bunnies - plotbunnies of fics, vids, graphics, and more
  • qaf_challenges - writing challenges with a Brian/Justin focus
  • qaf_drabbles - drabble asylum with weekly prompts
  • qaf_retread - retreading the best of Brian and Justin fanfic
  • qaf_scavenger - QAF catch all asylum (place for silly fun that doesn't fit anywhere else)
  • qaf_archive - links to fic sites, vid sites, icon sites & graphics sites

Fan Fiction Archives

Example Fanworks





  1. Motivation, Audience and Style in Writing Fanfic, galedreamer, March 8, 2008