The original cast of Queer as Folk USA are reuniting after 20 years to raise money for cash-strapped LGBT+ community centres

The original cast of the American Queer as Folk are planning a digital reunion to raise money for cash-strapped LGBT+ community centres.

As the Showtime series celebrates its 20th anniversary, cast members will come together for a YouTube live stream on Friday (May 1) that will raise funds CenterLink, a network of queer shelters.

The “May Day Home Stay Gay Play” event will, according to The Hollywood Reporter, be hosted by Scott Lowell, who played Ted on the television series from 2000 to 2005.

It comes after GLAAD’s star-studded digital gala featuring Barbra Streisand, Billy Porter and more coming together to raise money for CenterLink’s 250 centres across the US.

Queer as Folk USA cast reunion marks US series’ 20th anniversary. 

Actors Sharon Gless, Hal Sparks, Randy Harrison, Peter Paige, Michelle Clunie and Robert Gant will take part.

Creators Ron Cowen and Dan Lipman will also join writers, directors and other cast members for the telethon, that will offer viewers the chance to bid on show merchandise.

A general view of the Showtime and Motorola Final Season Premiere of Queer As Folk at Regent Showcase Cinemas on May 18 2005 in Hollywood, California. (Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

Community centres and shelters are a crucial lifeline for LGBT+ folk across the US, with queer homeless folk being some of the most marginalised and vulnerable groups in the country.

Yet, as the coronavirus pandemic bears down on the country, these centres have emerged as a strained and scarce resource.

Many provided financial assistance and medical service on threadbare budgets even before the crisis, but the pandemic has dried up vital revenue streams.

‘We saw it as an opportunity to address a lot of issues that had never been shown on American TV before.’

Queer As Folk, based on the British show of the same name, followed five gay men living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and ultimately ran for 83 episodes

The series received critical acclaim for sending seismic shockwaves across the States at a time when LGBT+ representation in the country was slim.

This is not the first time the cast have reunited, however, as the gang previously got back together for Entertainment Weekly‘s Pride issue in 2018.

The show’s executive producer, Ron Cowen, reflected on its impact at the time: “We saw it as an opportunity to address a lot of issues that had never been shown on American TV before.

“That was very important to us because we, gay people, didn’t really see a true reflection of ourselves on TV very often.

“Back then, you couldn’t get married. There was Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the Army.

“In 14 states, there were still sodomy laws on the books. It was a very hostile atmosphere.”

He added: “We thought the major backlash would be from right-wing religious people, but we never heard a word.

“The show received criticism from gay people and gay organisations, but they never said we weren’t telling the truth.”