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Orange Is the New Black star Lea DeLaria hospitalised after ‘major gay-bashing’, aged 24

Maggie Baska June 8, 2021
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Lea DeLaria

Lea DeLaria attends the 20th Anniversary Hudson River Park gala at Hudson River Park's Pier 62 on 11 October 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Orange Is The New Black star Lea DeLaria has revealed that she was hospitalised after being “majorly gay-bashed” in the 1980s.

DeLaria, who played Carrie “Big Boo” Black on the Netflix series, said she was 24 when a homophobic attack left her with a broken nose, chipped eye socket and several cracked ribs.

The lesbian comedian, 63, told Page Six the horrific attack happened after she moved to San Francisco in 1982 and performed a comedy routine that showcased her sexuality.

“I’ve been verbally abused more times than you can mention in my life, and that still goes on,” DeLaria added. “There’s always someone who’s going to call me a fat guy.”

Lea DeLaria said society has been “incredibly rough” on butch lesbians, but that she has experienced less homophobic harassment and violence since she appeared in Orange Is the New Black.

DeLaria also acknowledged that “it’s always been rough on trans women” especially “for trans women of colour” as well as butch lesbians.

“We get attacked more than any other women in our community,” she said.

DeLaria added: “What Orange has done for me, as a butch lesbian, is, it’s opened up people’s hearts and minds to women who look like me. Because Orange was the first positive representation of a butch lesbian that I’ve ever seen in mainstream media.”

Lea DeLaria told Page Six that she has been focused on her work with The Lesbian Bar Project, which aims to help the last surviving lesbian-specific bars survive COVID-19. According to the project’s website, only 21 lesbian bars are left in the entire US.

DeLaria shared that she feels like she is “walking to my sense of community”, “safety” and “camaraderie” when she walks “into a dyke bar”. She named the Cubbyhole in New York City as her “home” and is the “place I go to nonstop” since “everybody there knows me”.

“I’ve always had a presence in the lesbian bars, and I was always the famous lesbian that would go to the lesbian bars,” DeLaria said. “Most famous lesbians do not.”

Related topics: Homophobia, orange is the new black

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