Queer as Folk has gone through many iterations, but Peacock's new revival is distinctly modern in scope. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday, creator Stephen Dunn reveals that the 2016 Pulse shooting inspired the new series, which explores the aftermath of a similar tragedy at an LGBTQ+ nightclub.
According to THR, Dunn acquired the rights to Queer as Folk after meeting original series creator Russell T. Davies and pitching him a story that begins with a nightclub shooting in a New Orleans gay bar, not unlike Pulse, and follows the city's LGBTQ+ community as they recover from tragedy.
"Pulse is a specific event that targeted the Latinx community in Orlando," Dunn explained. "Our show is completely fictional, but the trajectory of our story is inspired by the realities of what that was like — not just that night, but the aftermath and the way that the community of Orlando rebuilt in the wake of that tragedy."
As Dunn tells it, "[Davies] loved the concept and the energy that I brought to it and felt like this had the potential to expand on the legacy of this series." He then put together an all-queer writers' room and met with Pulse survivors, some of whom became consultants on the new series.
"After Pulse, it felt the first time that the [queer] community had really felt united," said Dunn. "It happened in Orlando, but the ripple effect was felt across the world. I remember being in Toronto at Pride and not feeling safe going out to a bar. It was terrifying and I’m sure I’m not the only person who felt that way."
Dunn added, "What you’ll see in Queer as Folk is the honest truth of what it is like to go through something like that and how it’s not this saintly victim tragedy story. These are real people and they’re not victims. They survived a tragedy, and they are human beings whose lives were completely turned upside down after this. And this community all responded in completely different ways."
Dunn also noted that although the shooting is the "inciting incident" of the series revival, "We never show it. That's not what the story is. The story is about the characters and rebuilding ... We barrel through the darkness with humor in our hearts because it’s such an important survival tool for queer people."
The first season of the Queer as Folk revival premieres June 9 on Peacock.
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Deena ElGenaidi's writing has been featured in Nylon, MTV News, Insider, The AV Club, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @deenaelg.