Lea suffered a homophobic attack in her 20s (Picture: Rich Polk/Getty Images for Netflix)
Orange Is The New Black star Lea DeLaria was hospitalised aged 24 after a ‘major gay-bashing’.
The 63-year-old moved to San Francisco in 1982 where she began her stand-up career, which discussed her sexuality as a butch lesbian.
While her work – including a number of musical comedies in the 1980s – was met with acclaim, DeLaria said she was ‘majorly, majorly gay-bashed’ when she first moved to the Californian city.
Speaking to Page Six, the actress said: ‘My nose was broken, chipped an eye socket, had several cracked ribs.
‘I’ve been verbally abused more times than you can mention in my life, and that still goes on. There’s always someone who’s going to call me a fat guy.’
DeLaria said that butch women are attacked more than any other women in the lesbian community, adding: ‘It’s always been rough on trans women, very rough especially for trans women of colour, and it’s always been incredibly rough on butch lesbians.’
She credited her role as Big Boo on Netflix’s Orange Is The Black with opening up ‘people’s hearts and minds to women who look like me’, saying: ‘Because Orange was the first positive representation of a butch lesbian that I’ve ever seen in mainstream media.’
The actress is a proud butch lesbian (Picture: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
DeLaria landed the role of Carrie ‘Big Boo’ Black, a lesbian inmate who had a number of ‘wives’ in Litchfield, on the prison comedy drama in 2013, and appeared in all seven seasons.
The seventh and final season aired in 2019, making the show Netflix’s longest running original series.
Prior to this role, she was well-known on the stand-up comedy scene, and is credited as the first openly gay comic to appear on a late-night US talk show for her 1993 appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show, on which she said: ‘Hello everybody, my name is Lea DeLaria, and it’s great to be here, because it’s the 1990s! It’s hip to be queer! I’m a big d**e.’
DeLaria has also starred on shows including Friends and Will & Grace, and is an accomplished jazz singer.
Currently, she is working to promote The Lesbian Bar Project alongside Jägermeister, to support lesbian bars in the aftermath of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
DeLaria was previously engaged to fashion editor Chelsea Fairless, but they split in 2017 after nearly five years together.Credit: Original article published here.