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Tilda Swinton attended 43 funerals in one year during the height of the AIDS crisis

By Will Stroude

Tilda Swinton has opened up about losing dozing of friends to AIDS during the height of the crisis, and slammed Britain’s draconian Section 28 law, which forbade outlawed positive depictions of LGBT people and wasn’t repealed until 2000, in an interview with Out Magazine.

The most notable friend the Oscar winner lost was English director Derek Jarman; but she experienced many more loses as the virus tore through the gay community.

“In 1994 alone, the year Derek died, I attended 43 funerals,” she recalled.

She went on to talk specifically about the stigma facing HIV+ gay men in Britain, adding that Section 28 helped to “suppress” queer culture.

“When many of our friends became, often mortally, ill, and then the reactionary right wing started their ominously oppressive campaign of violence on the culture, well-being, and civil rights of the LGBT community and the wider diverse life of the entire country, we joined the vanguard of a resistance movement that needed to be highly active.

“This is an extremely defined time in my memory… The Thatcherite Clause 28, which sought to prosecute and suppress queer culture – against which we campaigned in outrage – was an attack on the civil liberties of us all.

“My grandmother, born in 1900, who lost two brothers and most of the boys she had grown up with between 1914 and ’18, counted the funerals and listened to the rhetoric from Parliament and said, ‘But, my darling, you are at war.’ That’s what it felt like. She got it.”

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