The 34-year-old actor is currently starring as Donald Bassett – the boyfriend of Olly Alexander’s character Ritchie Tozer – in the Channel 4 drama about the HIV/Aids crisis during the 80s, and he believes it’s bought back a lot of difficult memories for some families.
He told Sky News: “I think what’s really struck me is that for lots of gay men who lived through that period or lots of families who lost loved ones or people who lost friends, I think it’s an unhealed wound. I think it’s reopened that and that’s obviously quite difficult and painful, but I think it’s been cathartic.
“I think what’s very evident is that there is a lot of unresolved trauma around HIV and AIDS. There’s a lot of people who have not had a chance to express these things. You know, as we see in ‘It’s A Sin’ – no spoilers – but boys just going home and friends never finding out what happened to them, that’s a really awful thing to have gone through.”
Nathaniel – who tested positive for HIV at the age of 16 – drew a parallel between the AIDS crisis and the coronavirus pandemic. However, he thinks there are some notable differences.
He explained: “I try to imagine what the HIV and AIDS epidemic might have been like if it had happened today.
“But I think we’ve got to remember that HIV predominantly is transmitted through sexual contact or through intravenous drug use and there’s a lot of shame and there’s a lot of stigma associated with those things, and particularly with gay sex.
“I still think it wouldn’t quite have been dealt with in the same way [as COVID-19], because we still have structural and systemic homophobia within our society. And some of the attitudes that we see in ‘It’s A Sin’, I think, still prevail today.”