'I Always Felt I Was Queer,' Tilda Swinton Reveals

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday January 13, 2021

Tilda Swinton revealed that she has "always felt I was queer" in an interview with British Vogue. The 60-year-old international star added, "I'm very clear that queer is actually, for me anyway, to do with sensibility."

Swinton said that she "was just looking for my queer circus, and I found it" in the movies.

Swinton went on to add: "Now I have a family with Wes Anderson, I have a family with Bong Joon-ho, I have a family with Jim Jarmusch, I have a family with Luca Guadagnino, with Lynne Ramsay, with Joanna Hogg."

Swinton has worked with all of those directors, and many others, including filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (her voice is featured in del Toro's upcoming "Pinocchio").

She also worked with pioneering gay filmmaker Derek Jarman, who cast her in several of his films, including her first feature, "Caravaggio," in 1986 - a film that also cast Sean Bean in an early role.

Swinton starred in the title role of Sally Potter's 1992 film adaptation of Virginia Woolf's 1928 novel "Orlando." The character begins life as a man but mysteriously becomes a woman, and lives for hundreds of years. Swinton shared the screen in that film with Quentin Crisp, who played Queen Elizabeth I.

Swinton also played the Archangel Gabriel - who, being an angel, has no gender - in the 2005 film "Constantine," which is based on the DC Comics title "Hellblazer," noted UK newspaper the Daily Mail.

The Daily Mail also recalled remarks Swinton has made about gender in the past, saying in 2009 that she enjoys "walking the tightrope of identity, of sexual identity, of gender identity."

"I don't know if I could ever really say that I was a girl — I was kind of a boy for a long time," Swinton said in the same interview. "I don't know, who knows? It changes."

Added Swinton: "'That whole idea of transformation is at the heart of what I'm interested in as a performer and not least through the idea of gender. It's a very personal matter.... Yes, I'm probably a woman."

Swinton "is currently in a relationship with painter Sandro Kopp and shares twins Honor and Xavier, 23, with artist John Byrne, 81," noted the Daily Mail.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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