Congratulations on your Golden Globe success. There’s lots of awards buzz. What does that mean to you? It’s exciting. It means more people will see the film, which is extraordinary. We were trying to do justice to being raised in that community. To see that being celebrated on a larger scale is exciting. More people can see this place that very few have heard of outside of police reports.What has the reaction in Liberty City been like? They know it’s happening but they have other concerns. Liberty Square, where the bulk of the movie was shot, is going to be “remodelled” and we don’t know what this will do to that community. Two of the youngest stars of the film are still students in the school system there. It’s great they can see their work being applauded across the world but there’s so much more we should do to rally behind them. The film is beautiful but painful to watch. Is it healing for you? No, not watching it. I hate to say that because people hoped that it would be. Watching it means engaging with memories and questions to which I don’t think there are answers. People think I didn’t turn out like Chiron, that I came out OK. But college degrees don’t assuage that kind of suffering or make the chaos go away. What has been healing and therapeutic is that there are countless people online who have written that their existence was similar or even if it wasn’t, that the film still helped them.
Have you thought about what impact Trump will have on your work and that of other artists?Sure. I don’t know the president or if he adopts racist views in his home. I do know the people who support him are very racist, misogynistic and have a homophobic agenda. What is terrifying is the carte blanche it has given people on the street to espouse those things and to use aggression in ways they’ve been concealing for a long time. Artists such as me have spoken about them often but we’ve been told we were making these things up or not perceiving them correctly. But the veil’s been lifted. I think about those who are made even more vulnerable by these platforms. We must give voice to the voiceless, engage them and protect them. You’ve said your favourite 'gay' or 'queer' film is The Talented Mr Ripley. Why? It’s a movie about identity. What’s your performance and how will it be? I saw it at a young age and had an understanding that no matter what you choose, you still have to go home to your own monsters. He [Ripley] was never going to be able to stop performing or to be his most intimate self. There are people who can attest to that, whether it’s performing as masculine or feminine or whatever, and then finding themselves not able to stop doing that. It’s about the chaos and what it costs. Moonlight is in cinemas now. More stories: Paul O’Grady recalls the horror of the AIDS crisis in brand new Attitude Heroes podcast Inspiring story of forbidden love discovered in Word War Two letters between two men