Gay movie-maker Lee Daniels feels lucky to be alive because the AIDS epidemic “wiped away” most of his friends.
The “Empire” creator admits he once tried to commit suicide by contracting the virus through unprotected sex with strangers at bathhouses, while high on drugs – and he still can’t believe he’s AIDS-free.
In a candid lecture on the epidemic the 57-year-old gave at Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and TV, Daniels said, “It (AIDS) wiped away all of my friends. I had no friends… It was terrifying, because we never knew whether you could drink from glasses or what it was. It was the most terrifying thing ever.
“And I didn’t understand why it was that I wasn’t (dead), because there were far better souls than me that were going (dying). I thought that I needed to go. And so I descended into drugs and into sexual bathhouses to die.”
“That I don’t have AIDS is a miracle from God,” Lee added. “I really don’t understand it, because I should have had HIV. Everybody else did.”
The “Precious” filmmaker also revealed he was often misunderstood by his father, who didn’t know how to handle his homosexuality.
“I walked down the stairs with high heels on (when I was a kid), and he put me in the trashcan,” Daniels recalled. “I have no hate in my heart for my father at all. I think that he didn’t understand (homosexuality).”
“She saw greatness, and she said that I was going to have greatness far beyond hers, which was incomprehensible to me at the time,” he said.
“My dad told me I was going to be nothing. (But) she says, ‘Listen, you know, you’re not like all the other guys around here. You are a f##got’. I said, ‘What’s that?’ And she says, ‘Don’t worry about it, but you’re going to get used to… people are going to call you that. But you have to remember, as long as you are strong, as long as you are fearless, as long as you are honest, you have nothing to worry about’.”