Out Gay Aussie Actor Tim Draxl Says In Our Blood Will Resonate With Audiences

Out Gay Aussie Actor Tim Draxl Says In Our Blood Will Resonate With Audiences
Image: Tim Draxl - Photo: Ann-Marie Calilhanna

Actor, singer and visual artist, Tim Draxl, is one of Australia’s hardest-working performers and now the multi-talented Draxl is headlining the new four-part ABC drama, In Our Blood, which traces the Australian government’s response to the burgeoning AIDS crisis in the 1980s. 

Speaking with the Star Observer, Draxl, says In Our Blood is “the story of the queer community who led the way in the response to the virus. It’s a story of a government that empowered the communities that were the most hard hit by the virus.”

Draxl says it was a “radical” move by the government, [which] “took the stance to empower a people who were essentially illegal or engaged in illegal activity.” 

“You have to remember it was 1983. Sodomy laws were still in place, that were dealing with sex workers and intravenous drug users, all of which were illegal activities; so to have a government realize that they were at risk of dying from HIV and to empower them and support them was quite amazing.”

“What’s remarkable is that they were able to as a government…put their prejudices and differences aside and work together,” says Draxl.

“Australia set an example for the treatment and prevention of HIV and AIDS for the rest of the world.”

A Musical Drama

In the series, Draxl plays David Westford, an out senior advisor to the Minister of Health. Draxl says that was one of the reasons he was attracted to the project. “[Westford] was an openly gay man in Parliament in 1983, which blew my mind. You know, I really didn’t know anything about this part of our history.”

Another element of the script (written by Adriano Cappelletta, based upon his play) was the fact that music plays a central role in the telling of the story, which for Draxl, fresh off his starring role as Steve Healy in the Australian production of Jagged Little Pill was an exciting idea.

“It’s a musical drama. There are characters who act like a Greek chorus. There are characters who break the fourth wall to speak directly to the audience.”

“I find that so engaging in a story that is very sad and tragic and filled with incredible sorrow and heartbreak; to have that kind of engagement,” Draxl says. “I think it’s such an interesting way to tell this story. I think it will really resonate with audiences and engage them.”

A Queer Project

In Our Blood, a four-part ABC drama traces the Australian government’s response to the burgeoning AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Image: ABC

For Draxl, the queerness of the project was a significant draw for signing on to star. “What struck a chord with me was that it was a queer story. We’re finally at a time in world history when being queer is not a negative anymore.”

“To finally have a TV show that’s made in Australia and; this is testament to the producers, that they wanted to cast all the queer roles with queer actors and they achieved that. Even our directors were gay; John Sheedy, Nicholas Verso.”

Draxl also is proud to note that “A lot of the crew were members of the queer community, and even those that weren’t; and this was really beautiful, I remember at the wrap party so many of the grips and the lighting guys and camera operators, who were that kind of traditional Ozzie bloke, came up to me at the wrap party and were just so beautifully open about how much they loved working on this project and hearing about this story and seeing it be told by queer actors.” 

“Authentic representation is so important for younger generations to be able to see themselves reflected back and represented authentically, it’s life-changing.”

Coming Out

Tim Draxl – credit: ann-marie calilhanna

For Draxl, who became a household name after playing Dr Henry Fox, a gay doctor in the long-running series A Place to Call Home, coming out as gay while trying to build a career as an actor was not an easy process.

“I know that when I came out in the late 90s, early 2000s, I was kind of in and out of the closet repeatedly, because I was being told that, being gay in my industry was going to be very difficult and it was going to be very hard to have any kind of career as a gay man, as an actor in film and television.”

“It still takes me a lot of work to kind of not think of myself as a second-class citizen. I see younger generations living with such beautiful abandonment, and, and it’s so beautiful on one hand, but on the other hand, I feel, not resentment, but I always wonder, who would I have turned out to be if I were just coming out or coming to terms with my sexuality now?”

You Don’t Have To Wear A Mask Anymore

For Draxl, incorporating both his masculine and feminine identities is something he is becoming more compelled to bridge in both his creative and personal lives. This is particularly evident in his social media content, especially on Instagram where he has over 35,000 followers.

“If I didn’t have to have to sacrifice my femininity, I inherently had when I was a kid – I was very effeminate –  because of my career, and because of being told that I couldn’t be gay, I really drummed that out of myself. I remember looking at myself in the mirror sometimes and giving myself a really stern conversation that I had to be more masculine, I had to fit in.”

“As a creative person, it’s so liberating to be able to be yourself when I don’t have to wear that mask anymore. I don’t have to sit in the makeup chair, before the shoot every day and try and pretend like I’m going on a date with a girl or throw some story about some girl in the mix just to make them think that I’m straight.”

 “When you don’t have to wear that mask anymore when you can just truly be yourself, that’s when the creativity flows and that’s when the truth will set you free.”

As for today’s youth, Draxl says, “I think it is so important to remember our history and so for younger generations to understand and know the sacrifices that were made for them, to be able to live their lives as freely and as openly as they do now.”

‘In Our Blood’ premiered on March 19 on ABC TV. All episodes are available to binge on ABC’s streaming platform iview.


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