On StarzPlay, a reinvention to celebrate the LGBT+ community and its diversity

When the British series Queer as Folk came on the air in 1999, it was a small revolution. For the first time, the public can follow – in France, on Canal + – the adventures of gays and lesbians in Manchester: stories of love and one-night stands, but also of coming out and discrimination, together with the celebration of friendship.

Stephen Dunn, now 33, remembers discovering these episodes in his youth. “I watched secretly, turned the volume down to the maximum”, he said 20 minutes. Later, when he became a high school student, the 30-year-old Canadian rented DVDs of five seasons of the American remake, released between 2000 and 2005, and it “blew his mind”: “I admire punk. side and no apologies [qui ne s’excuse pas d’être ce qu’il est]. This year, the fan of yesterday signed the reboot – or reinvention – of Queer as Folkits episodes will air in France this Sunday on StarzPlay, a few months after being broadcast across the Atlantic.

“Sight is important”

“Telling stories is very important to me in my work, explained the gay screenwriter, director and producer. I feel it’s time to expand the legacy of the show to portray queer narratives under the this iconic franchise. “Then he bought the rights and met Russel T. Davis, the creator of the original series, who gave him his blank check: “I pitched my idea to him and he loved it. »

The new cast, which places racialized, trans, non-binary or disabled people at the center, stands out from the previous ones, which focused on gay, cis and white characters. “Visibility is key. Our version gives so much to a part of the community that we don’t need the opportunity to be seen on screen,” said Devin Way, who plays Brodie.

“The title says a lot,” says Stephen Dunn. Let’s open a parenthesis: “Queer as folk” is an English expression that means, roughly, “People are weird”. “Queer” has also long had a shameful meaning for homosexual people – like “invert” in French. Over time, many non-heterosexual people have re-used this stigmatizing term to claim it and give it a positive and political meaning. End of digression and return to Stephen Dunn. “I think the title has a different meaning than it did twenty years ago,” he said. Through him, I want to see what it means to be queer in 2022, in queer identity [“queerness”] and that the series represents people on the fringes. »

New Orleans, “liberal oasis”

The plot is located in New Orleans. “This town is a liberal oasis in a Southern Republican state. [la Louisiane]. It has survived many things, hurricanes, floods… It also has the happiest and most vibrant community I have ever seen. It is known that this series will deal with heavy subjects, that it is located in New Orleans, in this energy, makes it possible to bring a touch of light”, continued the creator of this new version.

The ambivalence is at work from the first episode where, as revealed in the trailer, a shooting erupts in the middle of a party, inside a nightclub, Babylon. A sequence that does not fail to remember the attack that took place at Pulse, in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016 and left 49 dead – without counting the terrorist.

“Orlando changed the way LGBTQ+ people in this generation see the danger and violence against the community. You can ask any American bad person: they can tell you where they when they found out that there was a shooting there, said that 20 minutess Johnny Sibbily, who played Noah. There was before and after Pulse. “I want to Queer as Folk respectful, inclusive, non-traumatic, so I choose not to show violence. This is not the story of the shooting, but of a community rebuilding itself,” said Stephen Dunn.

“Our human rights are not up for debate”

“It is important to share these stories so as not to forget that, even if there is progress, there will always be people who want to attack us, to take away our rights”, remembers the interpreter of Noe. Words that echo the reactionary revival in the workplace in recent months in the United States.

While some are worried about a backlash to gay marriage after the Supreme Court overturned abortion rights, Florida has already put in place a law, called “Don’t call his detractors gay” . It prohibits, in particular, to raise any question related to sexual orientation in school. In other states, it is the rights of trans people that are in question.

“Our human rights, our identities, as queer people, are not up for debate,” Stephen Dunn said. It is important to ensure that we have more, easy to find. The stories of Queer as Folk more important than ever. It can be a survival thing for some people alone. This will make them realize that they are not alone. This is what happened to me when I watched the series as a teenager. Seeing this community gives me hope for what I have to face every day. I hope that whoever sees this series understands that the community is there for him, and that even in this current environment, there is a lot of support and love. »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.