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It’s a Sin leaves queer people in tears – and brings back painful memories of the worst years of the AIDS epidemic

Patrick Kelleher January 23, 2021
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Its a Sin has so much to teach us in the ongoing battle against HIV stigma

The central cast of It's A Sin. (Channel 4)

It’s a Sin is bringing back painful memories of the early years of the AIDS epidemic for queer people – and it’s also educating a new generation.

The first episode of Russell T Davies’ new series aired on Channel 4 on Friday night (22 January), with the entire series landing on streaming platform All 4 immediately afterwards.

It’s a Sin follows three gay men as they move to London in the early 1980s and end up renting a flat together, which they call the Pink Palace. They live a life of sexual freedom and experimentation for a time – but the arrival of a mysterious illness, said to spread among gay men, changes everything.

Years & Years singer Olly Alexander plays main character Ritchie Tozer in the series, a young gay man from the Isle of Wight who believes the AIDS epidemic is nothing more than a “money-making scheme for drug companies”.

“Do you seriously think there is an illness that only kills gay men? It can calculate that you’re gay and kill you, but only if you’re gay and no one else?” he asks in It’s a Sin.

It’s a Sin brings back painful memories of the AIDS epidemic.

The critically-acclaimed series has won plaudits from LGBT+ viewers everywhere, with many praising Davies and the show’s cast for putting a much-needed spotlight on the horrors of the AIDS epidemic.

Many queer people who came of age during the AIDS epidemic have shared their own painful memories of the crisis on Twitter, while younger viewers have thanked Davies and the cast for educating a new generation about the early impact of the disease.

Many others also noted how important It’s a Sin will be for educating a new generation about the AIDS epidemic – especially when so few young people learn about it at school.

People who are living with HIV also shared their own experiences, and reminded people watching It’s a Sin at home that the virus is now treatable through antiretroviral drugs, meaning a diagnosis is no longer a death sentence.

Many sought to remind young queer people that those with HIV now live long, healthy and happy lives.

Others just shared their love for It’s a Sin, with many declaring it Russell T Davies’ masterpiece.

It’s a Sin is available to stream on All 4 and HBO Max.

Related topics: It's a Sin, Olly Alexander, russell t davies

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