February 10, 2021
How well does the Russell T Davies drama capture the 1980s Aids crisis? Influential queer figures who lived through it and in its wake – including Owen Jones, Rev Richard Coles, Lisa Power and Marc Thompson – give their verdicts
A joyful yet devastating series centred on a group of friends whose lives are changed irrevocably by the HIV/Aids epidemic, It’s a Sin is not only the most talked-about TV show of 2021 so far, but also Channel 4’s most watched drama series in its history. Russell T Davies’s 80s-set series has started conversations around Britain about the realities, both political and personal, of living through the HIV/Aids crisis, led to an increase in people getting tested for HIV, and helped raise awareness about preventive medication (PrEP) and the effective treatment now available for people living with the virus.
To discuss these topics, we convened a roundtable discussion with influential queer figures who lived through the crisis, and those who have grown up in its wake. Taking part in the conversation are Lisa Power, a co-founder of LGBT charity Stonewall who also volunteered for Switchboard during the Aids crisis; the Rev Richard Coles, the vicar of Finedon in Northamptonshire and former member of the pop group the Communards; Marc Thompson, an HIV activist, the director of the Love Tank CIC and the co-founder of PrEPster; Guardian columnist and author Owen Jones; Omari Douglas, who plays the character Roscoe in It’s a Sin; and Jason Okundaye, a writer and the co-founder of Black & Gay, back in the day, a digital archive honouring and remembering black queer life in Britain.