Representation is important, and thankfully there are plenty of gay characters on television today. But the sad truth is that this wasn't always the case. Before the '90s, if a homosexual appeared on screen, then the character was stereotypically camp, and used as the comic relief element of the show. But that all changed when Queer as Folk hit our screens.
The Channel 4 series debuted back in 1999 and was highly controversial at the time. It's no surprise really, it was steamy to say the least, but the narrative was incredibly compelling and original. Following the lives of three gay men who frequent the nightclubs of Manchester's Canal Street, Queer as Folk was revolutionary television - mainly because the characters felt like real people. What's more, never before had their been a television show that featured exclusively gay protagonists, which made the short-lived series revolutionary.
The Russell T Davies-penned drama marked the first time that homosexuality was depicted in a realistic way. It helped educate audiences that gay people are just like everyone else. It aided in changing attitudes around the world and, before long, Showtime had even acquired the rights to produce an American remake.
Without Queer as Folk, televison today might have been a very different place as far as representation is concerned, and we certainly wouldn't have had the likes of Glee or Looking.