OITNB’s Lea DeLaria: Butch lesbians are ‘ostracised’ by the community
Orange is the New Black star Lea DeLaria has complained that butch lesbians have been “ostracised”.
Stars of the Netflix prison show Lea DeLaria and Taryn Manning spoke to the Television Critics Association about the show’s success.
DeLaria – an out comedian who plays fan favourite Big Boo on the dramedy focussed on her own identity as well as Boo’s.
She said: “Butches have a shared life experience, and you saw all of it in Boo’s backstory.
“My own community ostracizes me and thinks of Nelly Fags and Butch Lesbians as sort of the pariahs of the community.”
DeLaria then opened up on how she was different to her character’s backstory: “My parents actually learned, they actually listened to me, they actually became people who understood that being uncomfortable within my own skin and having no apologies for who I am was an important thing in this world.”
“Unfortunately, the story that [OITNB] showed, Boo’s story, is all too common.”
However, the Netflix star also spoke about a brighter aspect of the LGBT community: “The politics of the LGBT community has been about gaining our rights, fighting for our rights, achieving our rights. And recently it’s been turned a little bit more towards winning the hearts and minds of people.”
She ended with: “I feel very strongly that Orange is the New Black has been very important in that part of what’s happened to us in that community…That’s an amazing turn of events.”
Meanwhile Taryn Manning – who plays Tiffany ‘Pennsatucky’ Doggett on the show – made sharp criticisms of the US Justice system.
The actress said: “Believe it or not, criminals, they can tend to have a lot more rights than the victim.
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“If you go to look for a criminal lawyer, there’s a lot. There’s not really a ton of lawyers for the victim.
“It’s pretty corrupt and it’s not all fair. It’s definitely a grey area.”
Uzo Aduba – who picked up an Emmy for her role on the show – shared a different aspect focusing on the portrayal of characters.
“I think [Jenji Kohan]’s done it in a really beautiful humanising way, so we don’t think of these people as strictly inmates and we don’t think of them as a number, but we think of them as human beings.
“These are mothers, these are daughters, these are sisters and grandchildren, and sometimes good people can make mistakes,” she adds. “She’s good at keeping their dignity within the story.”
The real-life person on which lesbian character Alex Vause was based recently hit out at the show – branding the series “total fiction”.