Elizabeth Taylor would be “horrified” to learn about current HIV/AIDS rates in young gay men, the actress’s granddaughter revealed in a new interview.
Naomi deLuce Wilding, 40, tells The Telegraph that “a real complacency” regarding HIV/AIDS in the gay community had already set in before her legendary grandmother’s death at the age of 79 in 2011.
“Even before she died, when my grandmother was pretty ill, she was horrified to see that,” Wilding said. “Sadly I don’t think she had the strength to say what she really felt at that point.”
Describing Taylor as a “very intuitive woman,” Wilding said, “When she saw that people — friends of hers and fellow actors — were being stigmatized [for being HIV-positive], she recognized an opportunity to use her voice and fame to speak up for those who were being discriminated against.”
That mindset, Wilding implied, prompted Taylor to establish the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (or ETAF) in 1991, following the 1985 death of her good friend, Rock Hudson, due to complications from HIV/AIDS.
During her lifetime, Taylor was reportedly critical of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s response to the HIV/AIDS crisis, and lobbied celebrity fans like Michael Jackson and Elton John for support in her cause.
“It is bad enough that people are dying of AIDS, but no one should die of ignorance,” Taylor, who became known internationally as a prominent figure in the fight against HIV/AIDS, is quoted as saying.
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