Lea DeLaria | Orange is the New Black

Lea DeLaria: We Cannot Forget 'Butch Dykes and Nelly Faggots.'


To Lea DeLaria Orange Is the New Black’s Big Boo is more than just one of the first “three-dimensional butch dykes” she’s had the chance to play. She’s a symbol of LGBTQ history:

“We cannot forget where we came from.” DeLaria told Buzzfeed in an interview. “We cannot forget our history. And butch dykes and nelly faggots, that’s where we came from.”

DeLaria sees her personal experiences with fans as a testament of the show’s progressive impact on audiences:

[T]eenage boys come up to me on the street and want to get their pictures taken with me, want to give me a hug, tell me that Big Boo’s their favorite character. That means a lot to me. Because I’m winning the hearts and minds of people that are young and are going to grow up and control the world.”

DeLaria, you may not know, is also an accomplished jazz singer.

Listen to her sing "Black Hole Sun", AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Amazing. She killed it.

    Posted by: Adam | Jun 21, 2014 5:01:34 PM

  2. I love that big dyke.

    Posted by: Jerry | Jun 21, 2014 5:37:19 PM

  3. What does it mean, "butch dykes and nelly faggots, that’s where we came from"? Historically there were only "butch dykes and nelly faggots"? I don't really think so.

    Posted by: Pandion | Jun 21, 2014 5:45:24 PM

  4. Lea has got some great acting chops. She has displayed them in numerous roles, one of my favorites is "The Edge of Seventeen", she's particularly good as a mentor for a boy coming out at the edge of 17, and we get a small sample of her incredible singing talent. You just gotta love this amazing woman.

    Posted by: I wont grow up | Jun 21, 2014 5:47:21 PM

  5. Re. Pre. SENT.

    Posted by: Hank | Jun 21, 2014 5:49:34 PM

  6. Have always loved Lea! She rocks in every way possible.

    Posted by: tagg | Jun 21, 2014 5:50:10 PM

  7. @pandion. Butch dykes and nelly fags who couldn't, or wouldn't hide, or blend in, were, just by their existence, the front line of visibility and activism, since long before there WAS an LGBT movement.

    Posted by: Hank | Jun 21, 2014 5:59:10 PM

  8. What an amazing talent and an incredible woman! Love her!

    Posted by: Marc | Jun 21, 2014 6:11:14 PM

  9. I'm both a butch dyke and a nelly fag in the bed.

    Posted by: Kissyfur | Jun 21, 2014 6:52:19 PM

  10. Wow, I've always been a fan, and have seen Edge of Seventeen too many times to count, and LOVE OITNB, but I had now idea she was THAT talented of a singer!!

    Posted by: L'Herb | Jun 21, 2014 7:04:52 PM

  11. The desire to "normalize" queerness is understandable in practical terms but it is an ahistorical effort to induce cultural amnesia.

    The folks at Stonewall were NOT "nice", They were fags and drags and fought back because their investment in their own self-worth was greater than anything they felt for suburban sub rose "homosexuals". We may not want to think of some of them in our homes but they are a big part of who we are now. And they are still among us. Rejoice.

    Posted by: gregorybrown | Jun 21, 2014 7:08:24 PM

  12. I typically dislike really stereotypical characters. However, she is brilliant actress and brings so much humanity to her character on Orange is the new black.

    This Soundgarden cover was amazing. Just awesome.

    Posted by: Kurtis Edwards | Jun 21, 2014 8:00:50 PM

  13. Heh.... looks like Grogorybrown was a "queer studies" major.

    Posted by: Hrm | Jun 21, 2014 8:08:28 PM

  14. You don't have to be a "queer studies major" to know and respect queer history and the blood shed to put us where we are today. Some of us lived it, and are still around to talk about it. It's true: The dykes and nelly fags refused to blend in and conform, and they fought for the right to be themselves in life and in death. Were it not for them, we would not be where we are with AIDS treatment and marriage equality, and the ability to "blend in" (or not), send our kids to school and have BBQs with all of our straight neighbors. I said goodbye a long time ago to too many good people. What a difference 20 years makes, much less 50.

    Posted by: WRR | Jun 21, 2014 8:20:03 PM

  15. I am uncomfortable to the core with bull dykes and nelly faggots. That's the way it is. However, persecuting them is grossly immoral. Delaria has from time to time behaved like a vulgar pig, she is also talented and funny. We steer between the rocks. I look forward to this film.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jun 21, 2014 9:36:09 PM

  16. @ Uffda - where to begin? Steering clear of butch dykes and nelly faggots has apparently left you unable to tell the difference between a TV screen and a theater screen.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Jun 21, 2014 10:52:45 PM

  17. UFFDA, go blow some bubble gum.

    Posted by: Kissyfur | Jun 21, 2014 11:24:28 PM


    Posted by: CHOCOLATEBEARCUB | Jun 21, 2014 11:33:56 PM

  19. I meant UFFDA

    Posted by: CHOCOLATEBEARCUB | Jun 21, 2014 11:34:07 PM

  20. I love Lea. She's an amazing talent. Her cover of "The Ballad of Sweeny Todd" is masterful. Even Stephen Sondheim was blown away by it.

    Posted by: Drew in SF CA | Jun 21, 2014 11:37:27 PM

  21. now imagine if a straight person said it~

    Posted by: luke | Jun 22, 2014 12:25:03 AM

  22. Mike: try harder. Make sense.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jun 22, 2014 1:46:49 AM

  23. From a Broadway special a few years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lv9pwY-Npw4

    That dame's got an amazing set of pipes, that's for sure.

    Posted by: Gregory in Seattle | Jun 22, 2014 3:51:09 AM

  24. Again, I'm not so sure that the Stonewall crowd (indeed mostly dykes and drag queens) were the "frontline of the LGBT movement"...
    The first gay activists, Karl Ulrichs, Magnus Hirschfeld, Edward Carpenter, and in America for instance Kameny or Dale Jennings, were not nellies at all.
    And the original Stonewall movement only fought for the "freedom" for gays to screw each other to death in bars and clubs.
    It was a later generation who fought for marriage etc (=true equality). And Larry Kramer, for instance, doesn't seem a particularly nelly fag.

    Posted by: Pandion | Jun 22, 2014 4:02:26 AM

  25. @Pandion marriage equality does not equal true equality. Like the Stonewall riots it's a step towards true equality.

    Posted by: Billy | Jun 22, 2014 9:07:46 AM

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