"Queer as Folk" and the trouble with slash

  • Kyra Hunting University of Wisconsin, Madison
Keywords: Fan fiction, Queer theory, TV


The Showtime TV series Queer as Folk (2000–2005) brought same-sex relationships and sex scenes to prime-time television, putting the stuff of slash up on the small screen. Despite incorporating many slash tropes into the canonical text, Queer as Folk troubles many of the traditional assumptions about how fan fiction and slash operate, particularly the association of slash with subversion. The intertextual relationship between canonically queer texts and their attendant fandoms requires new frameworks for exploring traditional fan fiction subgenres such as slash. When the canonical text itself is queer, gestures and genres that have generally been considered subversive can in fact be more conservative than the canonical text itself. When the political stakes of a canonical series are clear and explicitly progressive, the intertextual relationship between canon and fandom can be particularly important and uniquely problematic, as this case study of Queer as Folk demonstrates in its assessment of the complexities that arise when the canon itself is queer.

Author Biography

Kyra Hunting, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Media and Cultural Studies, PhD Candidate