Lea DeLaria is a big, fat lesbian — and she couldn’t be prouder.
She came home to Belleville this week to deliver a message about loving yourself regardless of how others might judge or try to shape who you are. DeLaria is a comedian, jazz singer, activist and actress on the hit Netflix series “Orange is the New Black” playing Carrie “Big Boo” Black.
She spoke this week to a full house at Lindenwood University-Belleville, which was Belleville West High School when she went there, from the stage where she first learned to act.
She talked about a man calling her a dyke and then beating her unconscious decades ago. She talked about why she thought being “out” would be important for future generations. Then she spoke of being amazed that change came during her lifetime, from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage to a club for gay kids at her alma mater, Belleville West.
Never miss a local story.
“It’s shocking to me how far we’ve come, it’s amazing to me how far we’ve come,” said DeLaria, who will marry fiancee Chelsea Fairless on Jan. 8.
One mom asked about how best to support her 16-year-old lesbian daughter’s efforts to start a gay teen club in Collinsville. DeLaria said having supportive parents like she did was an important start, but to those who refused to accept her daughter or would block her goals she advocated a blunt attitude that amounted to “the heck with them.”
Which essentially circled back to her original message: Love yourself regardless of shape, size, belief, race, gender, orientation or ability. You may wait a lifetime if you allow others to validate who you are.