Russell T Davies OBE is a Welsh screenwriter and television producer well know for his revival of the Dr Who franchise in 2005 after a 16-year hiatus. To the gay community Russell is someone who has brought the reality of LGBTQ+ life to the mainstream.
In 1999 Queer as Folk, an 8 episode TV series that chronicled the lives of gay men living in Manchester gay village, was released. At the time, the response was mixed from gay commentators in relation to the portrayal of the characters. The show was criticised by some in the gay press for not addressing the issue of the AIDS epidemic. In the wider press and media, a commentator in the Daily Mail called for censorship (what do you expect from the Daily Mail?).
For many, Queer as Folk was ground-breaking for bringing gay life to the masses and creating a conversation about what it is to be gay at the turn of the 21st century. For me as a 19 year old lad not quite sure how to come out it was the inspiration I needed. It made me realise that there were other people out there like me and they were having fun! It wasn’t all AIDS, guilt and shame.
Russell’s other works that highlight the complex dynamics of the LGBTQ+ community include The Grand, Bob and Rose, the trilogy of Cucumber, Banana and Tofu, Years and Years, and most recently It's a Sin. These all were, and still are, ground breaking in their own right and have made a positive impact for the LGBTQ+ community addressing some very challenging themes.
Russell T Davies made a huge impact at a key time in my life and continues to do so for many of those in my community. For this, and many more reasons, he is the Oakleaf LGBTQ+ Hero of the Week.