entertainment

From 'Queer as Folk' to 'Drag Race': Gay men reveal the TV moments that defined their lives

Take an exclusive first look a new series of Netflix short films celebrating the LGBTQ representation and nostalgia.

2019-09-11

Whether it was John Paul and Craig's electric affair on Hollyoaks or *that* Queer as Folk sex scene, for decades television has shaped how we as LGBTQ people see ourselves.

Those moments have often formed an integral part of our own journey towards self-acceptance, and its relative rarity - something which is thankfully becoming less of a problem in 2019 means that many od us revel in a shared nostalgia for television's defining queer moments.

Now, Netflix - whose own commitment to diverse LGBTQ representation has been consistently demonstrated through shows like Orange Is the New Black and Sex Education - have launched a new series of short films celebrating the TV shows and characters that have become a part of the modern queer cultural story - and we can exclusively premiere two of them for you.

The first travels to Llanelli in southwest Wales, where 24-year-old Mason reveals how LGBTQ representation on TV provided a vital queer education as a child growing up in small town Britain, including the "sexual awakening" that was Casualty's Dylan.

The second heads to Belfast to meet Vincent Creelan, who was married to a woman at 19 and recalls how there were "no positive messages" for LGBTQ people in the country until he heard a gay man on the radio as a teenager.

Vincent explains how he later went to see 1985 romantic drama My Beautiful Launderette at the cinema while his wife was away, revealting that how seeing gay life and love expressed freely on the big screen made him examine is own life and realise "that's what it could be".

With modern shows like Netflix's recent Tales of the City revival and Grace and Frankie continuing to lead the way for conversations about sexuality and difference, the films' creators Emily McDonald and Christo Geoghegan explain how they wanted to celebrate the power of television to encourage acceptance.

"When we were growing up, there wasn’t much content being made for queer people and what little there was, was often difficult to access. When you don’t see anyone like you on TV, you’re essentially told you that don’t exist," the filmmakers say.

"Nowadays with platforms like Netflix, it’s so much easier for LGBTQ+ people to access queer content.

The pair go on: "When Netflix approached us to make these films, we wanted to show the positive impact that honest portrayals of LGBTQ+ characters in TV and film can have on queer people of all ages.

"Television has the power to affirm the lives and feelings of LGBTQ+ audiences whilst also educating straight cisgender audiences in the process.

"These films are our love letter to queer characters and storylines and the space they hold in our, and the hearts of other LGBTQ+ people, across the UK & Ireland."