This deleted scene from It’s A Sin honours the pivotal role lesbians played during the AIDS crisis
Russell T Davies has unveiled a deleted scene from landmark series It’s A Sin that pays tribute to the role lesbians and queer women played at the height of the AIDS crisis.
Two years after the Channel 4 drama hit TV screens, Davies shared a powerful scene on Instagram that shows Olly Alexander’s character Ritchie Tozer in a hospital bed surrounded by his chosen family after being diagnosed with AIDS.
As Ritchie is tended to by nurse Eileen Morris-Jones, played by This Country’s Lorraine Fletcher, he laments: “I wish I’d been born lesbian. You lot have got it easy.”
Eileen responds by highlighting how lesbian and queer women fearlessly stood alongside gay men at a time where AIDS stigma was at its peak.
“Yeah, we’re the ones working extra shifts, and every weekend, and cancelling holidays,” Eileen says, “‘Cos there are staff in this building who won’t even touch you. But don’t you worry, we’ve got it easy.”
Jill Baxter, played by Lydia West, then tells Ritchie: “That’s telling you — you’ve been officially dyked.”
Set in the ten years between 1981 and 1991, It’s A Sin follows follows a group of gay men and their friends living in London as the AIDS crisis rips through the LGBTQ+ community.
In the face of government apathy, rampant homophobia and persistent misinformation from the tabloids who whipped up panic by labelling AIDS as a ‘gay disease’, lesbians stepped in to offer care, support and solidarity to the masses of gay men abandoned by the state and their loved ones alike.
While It’s A Sin’s Jill is seen researching AIDS and taking on the ‘motherly’ role for Ritchie and the rest of her household, the pivotal way lesbians looked after gay and queer men isn’t explicitly mentioned — until now.
Hundreds of people have since commented on the deleted scene, praising Davies for honouring the lesbian and queer women who took a stand, even if the scene ending up being cut.
“I really appreciate you recognising the sacrifices lesbians made during this time,” one person wrote. “It wasn’t just happening to gay men, it was happening to both of us in different ways. Not a lot of historical attention is paid to the work the rest of the queer community did.”
Another added: ““The part in history that the lesbians played in all this is so important. Why was this scene deleted?”
“It’s so important to see lesbian representation because there just isn’t much out there,” a third noted.
Other fans of the show have used the deleted scene to reflect on its importance in reminding people of the trauma of the ‘80s for the LGBTQ+ community.
“I am genuinely still in awe of everyone’s phenomenal performance in this show. It’s an absolutely top tier masterpiece and it’s so powerful. I have never been made to feel this way by another TV show in my life,” one fan wrote.
“Currently crying in Pret,” another summarised.
Upon it’s release It’s A Sin drew widespread acclaim for its depiction of the early days of the AIDS epidemic in the UK, and was praised for bringing education to a whole new generation of queer people.
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