Getting Drunk With Lea DeLaria: The Autostraddle “Orange Is The New Black” Interview

Lea DeLaria is the stuff of gay legend. She was the first out lesbian comic to ever appear on television with her 1993 appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show, and now 20 years later, she’s stealing scenes as the masturbating-with-tools butch dyke, Big Boo, in the hit Netflix series Orange Is The New Black. I met up with Lea to talk about dyke drama, seducing Laura Prepon, and sleeping with drunk girls who didn’t mention they already had girlfriends.

Lea and I met up at a Bushwick restaurant whose website included the words “farm to table” and “foraging,” so I already knew it was going to be the gayest night ever. The second I walked in with her, it was clear that this restaurant (with placemats that look like this) was pretty much her Cheers.

placemats

Probably doubles as a dental dam

We tucked away into what looked like a suburban basement where middle class kids play spin the bottle, ordered tequila shots and let shit get real.

Out Magazine 1998

Out Magazine 1998

Your background is insane. You’re an actor, a stand-up comedian, you’re in Broadway musicals, you’ve released albums. 

Yeah, I’m a Renaissance man. That’s how I like to put it. Jack of all trades.

Did anyone ever try to make you choose just one career avenue to pursue?

Really, really early on in my career someone said “Well you have to decide whether you’re a stand-up comic or a singer,” and I said “Why do I have to make that decision? I’m both.” And it’s very old school, it’s very much like Sammy Davis Junior and even older, like vaudeville.

That’s exactly what I say when people seem shocked that I do multiple things! In vaudeville, you HAD to do a million things but now if you do more than one thing, people assume you’re only really good at one. 

They laugh at you or they’re like “Riiiight. Of course, you’re a singer.” I mean, nobody can belt a D sharp as well as me, you know? It’s like, I’m lucky. And in some ways, I’ve been able to shut those assholes up.

I feel the same way. I was told I couldn’t do more than one thing but I always felt like, “But what if you’re the exception to that rule?”

And you’re not the only one. Like the girls in Orange is the New Black? All of us do something else.

That’s awesome. I know Jessica Pimentel is in a death metal band, right?

Yeah that was the one where I was like “WHAT?” When you see her, you’re like “Really? Death metal?” She’s like this pretty, young Latina. That’s the first thing. A fucking Latina? A CHICK? AND she sings death metal???

That’s maybe my favorite thing about OITNB. There’s not a token woman — Latina, black, white, lesbian — on the show because no character is that easily defined. Not to mention, before this the only show queer women had was The L Word, which obviously paved the way, but still. It was like the Passions of lesbian TV shows. It wasn’t real obviously, but it’s still so exciting to now see a show with women and queers of varying races and backgrounds and body types.

Orange is a little bit grittier, a little more real. The L Word, let’s face it, was a soap opera, like you said, exactly, like Passions. And this is not. It’s a dramedy. And I was on One Life To Live for 10 years, so I know soap operas.

[At this point Lea had me Google her role as a psychic on One Life To Live and it was worth it. See?]

Yeah, I’ve been moderately famous my whole life. I always say it’s been a long climb to the middle. I’ve never had this kind of fame. When you waved at me earlier, I figured you were the person I was meeting at Autostraddle, but I get that wave all the time so I wasn’t sure.

Well, you’ve been around forever. You were the first openly lesbian comedian to perform on TV. That’s huge. 

That was 1993. At the time, it was the number one talk show on in America. My opening line was “It’s the ’90s. It’s hip to be queer and I’m a big dyke.” In my nine minutes on the show, apparently I said the words dyke or queer about 57 times. (Laughs) There was actually a whole problem with the network where they said I couldn’t use the word dyke because they were afraid of getting sued.

Even though you’re a dyke calling yourself a dyke.

Exactly! That’s what Arsenio said. He told them to go fuck themselves, essentially. He said, “She’s a dyke and if she wants to call herself a dyke, then that’s what she’s gonna be called.”

That’s so badass! I now love him even more. 

He talks about me like I’m one of the things that he gave the world. (Laughs). Yeah, the world was ready for me! (Laughs).

[Then Lea and I share things that are probably best kept to Lea, myself, and the tequila, but it involves her fucking some shit up at a lesbian coffee house that I'm going to pretend is The Planet and my telling her about kissing people who had girlfriends they didn't tell me about.]

Then why’d they kiss you? Aww, come on. Listen, you gotta tell em you got a girlfriend first! Then you can kiss em and do whatever you want. You gotta give them the option first! Then it’s on. (Laughs). That same thing happened to me at a lesbian bar in Brooklyn. I go in there and I have to admit, I’m a little loaded. That’s me. Dyke bar, twelve at night, I’m loaded. So I go in and some girl, a pretty hot femme, starts talking to me and here’s the thing about butches, ladies, don’t come on to them. Jesus christ, you like a butch you gotta stand in the corner and give her the eye and let her know you’re interested. So anyway so this girl’s giving me the eye and we start chatting it up and I’m like let’s get out of here and she’s like “sure” and so we go to her place. So we’re like, getting it on— I can’t believe I’m telling this story. It’s a gay website, right, so I’m not gonna get in trouble?

Yes. The gayest. It’ll be fine. 

So we’re doing it, we’re having a good time and I hear this banging on the door and I ask, “What’s that?” She says “Nothing, ignore it.” So I ignore it and now the person starts screaming the name of the girl that’s inside so I’m like, “What’s going on?” and she’s like “Ignore it!” so I ignore it, I keep going. And then finally the girl out in the hallway says, “Asshole, blah blah blah. I know you’re in there and I know you’re fucking Lea DeLaria!” Apparently she’d gone to the bar with her girlfriend… and left with me. [Laughs]

What the fuck?

[Laughs.] Exactly. This is another lesson: ladies, if you’re gonna leave with me and you’re at the bar with your girlfriend, at least go up to her and go, “Daddy I’m feeling sick. I’m gonna go home but you stay here and have a good time,” and then leave with me. You don’t just walk out with me! Damn. Then I gotta deal with the butch at the door! [Laughs] Who was not pleased! Then they started fighting and I kinda snuck out. And there was this little evil bitch in me because as butch as I am there’s a little evil bitch in me who wanted to turn around and say “And by the way, just to keep the record straight, I was fucking her! She wasn’t fucking Lea DeLaria! I’M THE TOP!” I love that story though.

Samira Wiley & Lea Delaria

Samira Wiley & Lea DeLaria

So let’s talk about Orange Is The New Black. Did you know the show was going to be awesome just from the sides?

Well, first of all, Jenji Kohan, you know? And then I saw Natasha Lyonne, who I’ve had a crush on since Slums Of Beverly Hills. And then Prepon showed up about the same day I did, getting her hair blacked when I was getting mine blacked. And I just sat there going, fuck me.

Because all those women are so awesome?

Because it’s fucking Laura Prepon! Who doesn’t love her? I’ve wanted to get my dick in her mouth forever! (Laughs) She is the driest. Whenever I was doing something I always knew I was doing it right when Prepon was going like (gives a sly smile and slow nod) and I knew that was the right take. We all love each other on that set.

You can tell. There are shows where they’ll say that and you’re like “Uh, maybe? But probably not” but with that set, I absolutely believe it. It’s so hard to find a show with this many complex, realistic female characters, so I can’t imagine what it would be like to finally have a bunch of women, especially women of color who are usually only shown in basically one light, all on one set. 

Especially because any time you get these shows it gets fucked up by some producers and it gets turned into something horrible or it gets turned into basically The L Word, to sell spam. We got lucky I think in some respects, but I think that sometimes the universe aligns in certain ways. Netflix is doing something that’s never been done. You and me sitting down here, who’s done this before? Instagram photos we take on set? Who’s done that before? No one! Because the old school says, “Don’t do that because there’s some marketing thing that you’re fucking up.” I could go on and on. It’s been grassroots from the beginning and look at how huge it is without doing any Tonight Show appearances or anything like that, and they sold it to everybody and everybody’s watching it. All over the world.

They are. Even tons of straight people are watching it and not in a way that sexualizes the women on there. Because if you heard a straight person, especially a straight guy, say they watch The L Word, you knew why they were watching it. 

No! Listen to me, girl, I was chilling out in the airport waiting for my flight and this guy goes, “Oh, Big Boo can I borrow your screwdriver?” He’s yelling that at me and he couldn’t be more heterosexual, right?

I love that. That makes me happy. You have to hope that because this show is so humanizing, not only to prisoners but to queer women and women in general, that this has the power to change so much. 

God bless you, Jenji Kohan.

big-boo-party

Do you have to do anything to get into character at all?

No.

I didn’t think so. (Laughs)

It ain’t Beckett, you know what I’m sayin? What makes Boo really interesting is that she’s me. I mean, I’m just relaxed and me, I think.

I had a feeling. Because she’s very ‘no bullshit’, which you obviously are. 

I mean if I have to work for it… but I don’t have to do that with Orange. It’s just so me. That’s what’s great about it. They’re just writing for me. They’re completely writing for me. (Laughs).

That’s like a comedian’s dream because you’re selling your personality. 

Oh, totally! They let me ad lib and sometimes those lines they go right in, you know? Sometimes they don’t. It’s all good. Nobody has an issue. And let me be clear, we all do it. We’ve got a very talented cast here. And that’s what’s great about the show. You don’t have to deal with a lot of egos.

Right, it’s in service of the best joke or the best idea. That’s awesome. So last question. Does the show have a lot of lesbian writers on staff?

[Gives me a "Are you kidding me?" face] Lesbian writers, lesbian producer, uh, yeah! Lesbians everywhere! [Laughs]

Avatar of Lane Moore

Lane has written 3 articles for us.

73 Comments

    • Thumb up 32

      Please log in to vote

      That was actually the only part of the interview that I really didn’t like. It’s such a gross thing to say…it’s not just objectifying, it’s such an aggressive way of phrasing it, I found it extremely off-putting.

      • Thumb up 18

        Please log in to vote

        Yeah, that’s the kind of comment that makes me puke in my mouth a little when I hear it from men, and it isn’t any different hearing it from a woman. Which is interesting, because it wouldn’t have bothered me if she said she wanted to get in her pants, or if she made some innuendo about fingering or cunnilingus. But that specific phrasing made me uncomfortable.

        The rest of the interview was awesome, though.

        • Thumb up 9

          Please log in to vote

          Thank you for oh so eloquently voicing the disapproval throughout this thread that I’m sure many a femme (myself included) felt when they were reading this article.
          The agreement on a whole of the interview in the comments by other queer ladies makes me a bit queasy.
          I am really starting to feel defensive and unsafe after reading almost every single post on this site lately.
          Ugh.

        • Thumb up 12

          Please log in to vote

          What I really don’t understand, how is this even a dispute? When someone tells you, that [X] makes them uncomfortable, it is not up for a debate! Nobody but them, and them alone, gets to decide where the personal boundaries lie! And no, “intent” or “subversive power” can not change a thing about it. I mean, intention and reversibility are not magical, they don’t give anybody a free pass from their responsibility.

        • Thumb up 2

          Please log in to vote

          @Lena, could you give other examples of when you’ve felt unsafe on this site? I also felt like Lea’s comments are not ok but as for the rest of the site, I’ve felt pretty much at home. I just want to know what’s made you feel uncomfortable because I want the best site of the universe (this) to maybe be even better with everyone’s feedback? And also because I’m honestly interested on your point of view.

      • Thumb up 40

        Please log in to vote

        i completely respect your natural reaction to a thing, and your right to experience a reaction without checking it or unpacking anything. i do need to counter your reaction, though, because it’s totally without context, and context is key.

        a woman saying she wants to put her dick in someone’s mouth isn’t objectifying, it’s talking. and a woman saying she wants to put her finger in someone’s vag or someone’s tits in her mouth is also not objectifying, it’s just talking. lea doesn’t say she wants to put her dick in someone’s mouth without consent, so why would you interpret it that way? putting your dick in someone’s mouth isn’t gross or inherently aggressive in a negative way, it’s a sex act. women do more than cuddle and giggle, and some of us are sexually ‘aggressive’ and we can talk about that. we should talk about that. i want to put laura prepon’s actual boobs on my actual face, but that doesn’t mean i don’t respect her as an entire human person (capable of not wanting to put her boobs on my face or lea delaria’s dick in her mouth, by the way). and saying i’d like to do that isn’t inherently aggressive in a negative way.

        also a butch dyke saying ‘my dick in her mouth’ is so obviously reappropriating the phrase/idea (one that would be offensive coming from the mouth of a male figure — someone who does have inherently aggressive power and dominance in this world) that i can’t believe anyone would take the time to interpret it any other way. or rather, i can’t believe anyone wouldn’t take the time to unpack their black/white absolute reaction to something in order to see the reappropriation, in context, for what it actually is.

        • Thumb up 28

          Please log in to vote

          I can see the reappropriation just fine and I still, personally, find it uncomfortable.

          Although there is nothing inherently non-consensual about the act of putting a dick in a mouth, when men use a phrase like that, it is often, if not always, delivered with a tone of aggressiveness that comes across as not being particularly concerned about consent. I’m not quite sure why anybody would want to reappropriate a phrase that carries those kinds of connotations, and I’m also not sure why it suddenly becomes less offensive in the mouth of a woman. Women are also capable of sexual violence.

          I’m sure Lea DeLaria did not intend to invoke sexual violence in her particular usage of the phrase, but for me I can’t separate that phrase from its connotations regardless of who is using it. Others are certainly welcome to their own opinions.

        • Thumb up 37

          Please log in to vote

          I’m all for messing around with gendered phrases and identities and all of that rad stuff, and I think Lea Delaria is typically pretty alright. I really enjoyed this interview (except for that phrase, which was honestly upsetting), and I really enjoy Boo on OITNB. Howeveerrr, I have to put two cents in here.

          Being a very femme individual, my general instinct is to stay all the way away from butch, moc, or otherwise masculine identified people because it’s absolutely true that you can perform the misogynist, hurtful parts of masculinity while appropriating it and I really, really, really don’t see enough people approaching that critically while doing their masculine thing. It honest to god sucks to be around people who spit out the same gross commentary about femininity or feminine people that I could walk into pretty much any other space and hear from cis dudes. I think it’s disrespectful. It’s not a radical act to chime in about how badly you want someone to mouth-fuck you while you’re having a conversation about their merits as an actor and a person.

        • Thumb up 20

          Please log in to vote

          I had the same reaction as @Chandra to that comment. I guess I’m lost as to the merit of reappropriating a term of phrase that is generally used in a threatening / objectifying / aggressive kind of way.

          And how does it lose those aspects just because it’s coming out of the mouth of a woman? Like you’re saying that it would be offensive coming from a man but I don’t get how it loses those offensive aspects just because a woman reappropriates it.

        • Thumb up 22

          Please log in to vote

          I find it really condescending that you think those of us uncomfortable with that statement just haven’t taken the time to think about it. I got what Lea was going for, and I think it was well-intentioned. That doesn’t mean it isn’t problematic. A butch talking about a femme in an aggressive/threatening manner isn’t true reappropriation because it hasn’t changed the meaning of the phrase (at least not in an obvious way). It’s a frankly bizarre way of saying you like someone as a person/actress, and would be considered totally unacceptable coming from a cis man. The fact that she’s a woman does not automatically make it OK.

          I also found that “I was fucking her. I’M THE TOP!” part really off-putting. Sex is a shared experience, whether you are a top, bottom, both, or neither. I hate the idea that fucking is something one person does to another. Maybe people who identify strongly as dominant or submissive feel differently about this, but it seems really problematic to me.

        • Thumb up 20

          Please log in to vote

          I think that Kate touched on this in one of her Butch Please pieces and it was an interesting discussion.

          Just because we are doing something that normally straight men do, doesn’t make it automatically acceptable or subversive. There has to be more to it.

        • Thumb up 17

          Please log in to vote

          yeah the difference between a man saying this and a woman saying it is the fact that in one case, a man is saying, and in the other, a woman is. if you think every phrase means/implies/evokes the same thing every time it’s uttered by anyone ever, i don’t really know where to go with this conversation. context. all day every day. context. saying you want to put your dick in someone’s mouth isn’t inherently misogynistic. it’s just… not. and you finding someone/a phrase ‘off-putting’ sometimes doesn’t matter.

          so i think probably the best thing you could get out of this exchange is to realize that you don’t like lea delaria’s brand of humor and then leave it at that? like, don’t date her and don’t go to her shows, i guess.

        • Thumb up 22

          Please log in to vote

          Here’s the deal. If it looks like misogyny, if it sounds like misogyny, if it gives me that feeling in my gut that misogyny does, then what am I going to think it is? I don’t care about intent, or whether a man or a woman is saying it.

          I understand that we all like Lea DeLaria. I get it. But this is about the broader issue of the treatment feminine queers receive from masculine queers. I hate that people are getting defensive and dismissing the comments of people who found DeLaria’s comments problematic.

        • Thumb up 15

          Please log in to vote

          @Laneia: Of course context matters. Saying that those who disagree with you think that phrases evoke the same thing when “uttered by anyone ever” creates a strawman. Unfortunately, many – though of course not all – moc women do disrespect and objectify femmes (a problem which, as greentea noted, Kade wrote a great piece about). DeLaria’s comments exist in that context. She may have had good intentions, but what your words evoke matters too.

          Minorities don’t get a free pass when it comes to offensive language. For example, if a gay male insults a more effeminate gay male by calling him a F*****, his own sexuality does not suddenly make it acceptable. That type of thing is totally different than a group reclaiming a word and turning it into a positive.

        • Thumb up 15

          Please log in to vote

          It’s disappointing to learn that people can express their personal feelings about something they find upsetting/potentially triggering here and encounter dismissiveness, mockery and condescension like they would pretty much anywhere else on the Internet.

          If the comment didn’t bother you, cool. Good for you. It bothered a whole lot of other people, judging by the responses. You can say you feel differently than them, but you don’t get to decide that we shouldn’t find something offensive just because you disagree.

        • Thumb up 10

          Please log in to vote

          On a side note, I would take down any hetero person who tried to criticize the way Lea does her gender/sexuality on principle, but the difference is that this is a community discussion and the actual context here is that we are allowed to talk amongst ourselves about the performance of hegemonic masculinity and how it affects us.

        • Thumb up 3

          Please log in to vote

          @Rachel, THIS. Exactly. As other have said: don’t tell me my feelings are bullshit (I love your comment so much). Autostraddle is MY FAVORITE SITE EVER and I’m so grateful that there’s a place where this debate can happen. However, and I say this with all the love in world, there has been some contradiction between the way some of the staff has decided to handle Lea’s comments and what’s been written here before about language, aggression, masculinity, etc.

          Butches are not jerks, you guys.

      • Thumb up 12

        Please log in to vote

        I’m glad others have stepped up and said things they felt uncomfortable about in the interview, because I felt uncomfortable about the same stuff. Maybe if I could be there in person and have a “hey, the what now?!” conversation about some of those tidbits I’d feel differently, but definitely I ended my reading of it feeling not safe…. not like as a somewhat femmish person my AGENCY and PARTICIPATORY sexual nature would be respected in this tone of conversation.

        I am at times “aggressive”… I know what I like and I go for it, but I never talk about other people as conquests or mouths to put my dick in. I just… it really rubbed me the wrong way. If I’m fucking someone, they’re also fucking me. And I’ve been top and bottom. So… I dunno. If I’m bound and gagged, I’m still fucking you, as weird as that sounds, it’s just… how I feel about it. I’m not a fucking doll or toy. I have agency. Again, if I was there in person to have a back and forth conversation, I might feel differently, but I wasn’t, and the stuff others have mentioned as problematic also came across to me that way.

        And really, as butch as I am I have a little evil bitch in me??? like feminine= little evil bitch?

        I love the character, I’m glad she’s had great success and been so out the whole time, but, this interview made me feel like she’s not someone I would feel safe being my femme-y self around. Maybe I just don’t get butch/femme stuff enough, or how it can really be subversive.

        • Thumb up 9

          Please log in to vote

          “If I’m bound and gagged, I’m still fucking you, as weird as that sounds”

          I’m a top/dominant, it’s a big part of my sexual identity, and I don’t think this sounds weird at all. I’m fucking them, they’re fucking me, we’re fucking each other. We’re just going about it in a particular way.

  1. Thumb up 11

    Please log in to vote

    Oh my gosh, everything out of Lea Delaria’s mouth is hilarious. The L Word as Passions? As someone whose watched both, I can attest to the accuracy of this statement.

    There’s seriously so much hot in that instagram of Samira & Lea. I can’t handle it. *fans self*

  2. Thumb up 10

    Please log in to vote

    Oh, Lea.
    I remember being a little baby gay and seeing her in a cafe in Minneapolis yeeeeaaars ago. I was too shy to say anything to her.
    Also, I didn’t know at the time quite how much butches float my boat.
    That pic of her and Samira? Oh my stars.

  3. Thumb up 28

    Please log in to vote

    “here’s the thing about butches, ladies, don’t come on to them. Jesus christ, you like a butch you gotta stand in the corner and give her the eye and let her know you’re interested.”

    I’d find this gross if the word “man” was replaced with “butch”. I don’t see why it’s ok just because it’s a woman saying it.

    “I’ve wanted to get my dick in her mouth forever!”

    See above. If a man said that in my presence I’d lose my shit. Why do I have to accept it from a woman? Because it’s ‘transgressive’?

    There’s some other stuff too – “I was fucking her! She wasn’t fucking Lea DeLaria! I’M THE TOP!”" – why are you talking like sex is something you do TO another woman? like she just lies there and takes it from you? That to me is a deeply chauvinistic way of talking about your sexual partners.

    There was a lot in this interview that was cool but enough to make me go “overall – hell no”.

    • Thumb up 8

      Please log in to vote

      Like Laneia pointed out above I think context is really important in all of these cases and in real life and sometimes when you read things it’s easy to forget who the speaker is. I mean I wasn’t there, but I get the sense that Lea is overall a very jokey person and is also an incredibly smart person, so a lot of what she says is done with a sort of tongue-in-cheek and incredibly self-aware attitude. When I’m joking with my friends I use this type of language but I wouldn’t use it when giving a lecture to university students about sexual assault, you know? I think Lea probably felt like it was safe for her to speak this way, for a website like Autostraddle, where she knows Lane and the other editors wouldn’t twist her words into some scary misogynistic context.

      • Thumb up 22

        Please log in to vote

        I personally don’t find misogyny acceptable even when in joke form. How many women have been harassed on the street and then, if she had the guts to stand up for herself, was told some version of how she’s “oversensitive” or it was “just a joke” or she needs to “lighten up” or “take it as a compliment”? In my opinion, and its just mine, I don’t think context has a whole lot of sway over some of the stuff said here. Honestly, I’d never heard of her until OITNB, but I like her character and a lot of the stuff she said in the interview was amusing. But, there are some things I don’t think people should joke about. If a cisman said this stuff I’m willing to bet he’d be less tolerated. At least by some. Others would be high five-ing him and thinking he’s cool shit. The thing is, some levels of the misogynist mind set are still so ingrained in our society that its considered acceptable, especially for moc but even with feminine people. I think in this case her words fall on the edge of the category, with some people finding it “too much” and others thinking its fine. Maybe she doesn’t realize how it sounds? Maybe she does and doesn’t care? If she thought Prepon had great talent, was beautiful, etc., why couldn’t she just say that? Why resort to a sex-act descriptor (one that, while can be completely consensual and mutually enjoyable, for sure, but has long been used as a power tool)? I could see how, when she was saying the fucked by/fucking comment, perhaps it could have been seen as like a joke, a clarification (but why would that matter?), or maybe it was a power issue too, something that has long been linked to masculinity and insecurity. I don’t know where she was coming from when she said that, but I know how it can sound. Some people are just being introduced to her, like me, and just based on this interview, she sounds like she has some misogynist issues.

        • Thumb up 10

          Please log in to vote

          Seriously. Also, I tended bar in Provincetown waaay back six years ago, and she used to come in and behave in a manner that didn’t really make me think the aggression/nonchalant misogyny demonstrated through those phrases was at all tongue-in-cheek. AND would get kind of pissed if anyone had the audacity to charge her for a drink (she wasn’t performing at the bar, just hanging out. People like John Cameron Mitchell always had their wallets out, and they WERE famous in 2006).

        • Thumb up 1

          Please log in to vote

          I do think that the speaker and the voice behind certain words is important, but I completely respect your opinion. “I personally don’t find misogyny acceptable even when in joke form.” I initially didn’t read anything she’d said as misogynistic and just to clarify I wasn’t trying to defend any form of misogyny, but I can see how it could be interpreted otherwise. Like I said I don’t know her and I was just going off of this and other interviews, and I’m always more willing to give the benefit of the doubt to queer people I admire especially when they are actually being interviewed BY Autostraddle.

        • Thumb up 8

          Please log in to vote

          @whitney
          THANK YOU FOR THIS
          After being basically completely DONE with the way that Autostraddle (and the Autostraddle community) treats femme queers the fact that Lea DeLaria was an asshole in person actually made me laugh out loud, because for some reason that was a bit of a confirmation that there was a reason this interview made me grimace the whole way through.

    • Thumb up 22

      Please log in to vote

      Thank you for your comment. The whole interview put me off because of the casual misogyny displayed in the interview (that I’ve witnessed oh so many times from butch women). I was afraid to say anything because all the comments here were celebrating it/making excuses for it.
      I don’t care if she’s reappropriating the words or the attitude or whatever. What I wouldn’t accept from a man, why would I accept it from a woman?

  4. Thumb up 12

    Please log in to vote

    Gotta say, I disagree with her advice about not coming on to butches. I don’t consider myself butch, but I’m slightly moc (think Betty McRae) and am often categorized by other people as a soft stud (yay, more identity politics!). But I am not a chaser. Sure I’ll hit on someone who shows interest, and if I’m really into someone I will make overtures, but I find it extremely attractive when a woman has the confidence to come up to me and be straightforward about what she wants. But then again I am a natural top, who also likes to be topped by someone who means it but otherwise doesn’t… so maybe I’m just atypical and can’t speak for the majority. Femme in the streets and butch in the sheets? IDEK.

    But even though I’m not sure I can speak for the majority from my own feelings, I have gotten a certain impression from my various flirting and/or sexual interactions with people all over the spectrum. Many butches, and also many dudes (for those of us who aren’t Kinsey 6′s) , *do* like being hit on. Everyone needs a good ego stroke.

      • Thumb up 20

        Please log in to vote

        As I femme I only can object to Lea’s sentiment as well. I am not decoration, I have agency. I can decide for myself, if I can or can’t not come on to butches, thank you very much.

        Further I have social anxieties. In my case it means that being approached in a aggressive manner – or any manner, really – does nothing for me but gives me massive panic attacks. So, if I would like someone, I would have to do it on my terms. I still would die inside when communicating that, me queer (re: femme invisibility) and them cute, that for sure, but at least it would be manageable. Also I personally heart the shy ones, the awkward ones, the clumsy ones, those who don’t have flirtatious ways.

        • Thumb up 16

          Please log in to vote

          “I am not decoration, I have agency. I can decide for myself, if I can or can’t not come on to butches, thank you very much.”

          PREACH,GIRL!

        • Thumb up 12

          Please log in to vote

          No kidding. So much in this interview bothered me, and that was one of worst ones. You go and do what the hell you want and don’t let anyone tell you how you should act based on your butch/femme “rating.” People try to do that to me all the time and it’s fucking annoying. Don’t label me or tell how I should act based on that label. I thought the queer community was all about breaking gender stereotypes, but yet here we are, reinforcing them again. Gah.

        • Thumb up 7

          Please log in to vote

          … oops, there is a “not” too much in “can’t not come on to butches”.

          @ Lisa: “I thought the queer community was all about breaking gender stereotypes, but yet here we are, reinforcing them again.”

          THIS! Ugh.

  5. Thumb up 2

    Please log in to vote

    1) samira and lea. omg.

    2) i saw lea delaria perform standup in northampton in 1998 and then attempted (and failed) to be cool at the gay bar on the edge of campus when everyone moved over there afterward. i feel like that might be my gayest moment of all time.

  6. Thumb up 3

    Please log in to vote

    I LOVE THIS INTERVIEW, SO MUCH. And I want Big Boo on my screen all day every day. Such a sweet, funny, filthy character. <3

    Also I am going to have to disagree with (some) of the commenters here. It's a shame if some elements of this interview make you uncomfortable, but how boring would things get if we all censored ourselves on the off-chance it might make some people "puke in their mouth". This is why I love Autostraddle so much, because it has the guts to commission and publish an interview like this. Equally I love reading the comments because they are always smart and sassy. But this time I have to totally disagree.

    I do not feel remotely offended by anything in this interview. Like Laneia said it totally comes down to context. If somebody tells you that they want to put their "dick in your mouth" and says it aggressively or forcefully or it makes you feel personally threatened then that's a totally other story. But this is clearly meant as a joke and I am pretty sure Laura Prepon would not be remotely upset by it. They obviously have a good relationship IRL, and following Prepon on Twitter I don't think she seems like she'd be offended very easily. She's even acknowledged in her own interviews that she knows she is "lesbian catnip" (no shit).

    So anyway. Autostraddle + Lea Delaria = my dream pairing. Please go forth and continue being awesome.

    Going off on a barely related tangent here, but this discussion reminded me of a great This American Life episode with Griffin Hansbury who is a transgendered man. He talks about how when he identified as a butch dyke he would do live poetry about sex and women, and it'd be this hot subversive act, but later he'd stand up and perform the same poems as a man but instead he'd just come across as an asshole. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/220/testosterone?act=2. Not sure how relevant this is but it's interesting nonetheless.

    • Thumb up 10

      Please log in to vote

      “It’s a shame if some elements of this interview make you uncomfortable, but how boring would things get if we all censored ourselves on the off-chance it might make some people “puke in their mouth”"

      ^ That statement that you said right there is shaming the people who are offended by this interview simply because we decided not to stay quiet about the misogyny and voice our disapproval. It’s okay to have differing opinions. It is NOT okay to make people feel bad about the way that certain things make them feel. If “on the off-chance it might make some people “puke in their mouth”" then maybe you should be telling them it’s alright for them to feel the way they feel instead of trying to explain away masculine-privelege, misogyny, and RAPE CULTURE at it’s finest.

      • Thumb up 3

        Please log in to vote

        I don’t mean to shame anybody. It’s okay to feel how you feel, and I honestly apologise if my comment made anybody feel bad.

        But I’m not explaining away anything because this is definitely NOT a case of rape culture, I really don’t believe it’s misogynistic and I don’t think Lea DeLaria comes from a place of male privilege, at all.

        Most of my favourite things in books and TV and media would, I’m sure, make somebody somewhere “puke in their mouth”, hopefully metaphorically speaking. Lea DeLaria is hilarious, smart and sexy, and it’s a shame people are calling her out on what is clearly meant as a joke. Everyone has a different sense of humour (hey, I’m British, I was raised on filth) but if we aren’t allowed to *joke* about dicks and the things we’d like to do Laura Prepon then… honestly that would be really dull.

        Plus Autostraddle consistently publish gutsy bold stuff and I hope they don’t read these comments and feel they should censor anything they put out there in case it offends some of their readers.

        Sorry again if I made anybody feel bad, that wasn’t my intention.

        • Thumb up 9

          Please log in to vote

          No, it is not about male privilege. But it is about misogyny and about the power structures of queer communities – how both excuse and enable derogatory treatment, harassment, and sexual violence within queer spaces. Even the simple fact, that you – or anybody else on this thread – think, they have a right to “disagree” on somebody else’s feelings of discomfort/threat is showing. Somebody else’s boundaries are not up for a debate! And being dismissive of them does, in fact, contribute to rape culture.

          This is a great piece about sexual violence and the difficulties of communicating it within queer spaces: http://www.autostraddle.com/this-happens-sexual-assault-between-queer-women-179993

          + awesome commentary on said piece: http://radtransfem.tumblr.com/post/57416500040/in-community-sexual-assault-is-a-reality-in-our

          Everyone should read both and think about how we as individuals and as a community need to stop failing our very own people!

        • Thumb up 6

          Please log in to vote

          I just want to insert that I never said male privilege, I said masculine privilege, which is very different. Especially in the queer community, masculine identified people tend to be able to get away with saying more derogatory remarks and not being called out by their peers.
          I am not saying that masculine privilege is the *only* problem, but I do think it contributes to the way that people are reacting to Lea DeLaria’s statements.

        • Thumb up 8

          Please log in to vote

          People shouldn’t feel the need to censor themselves, but they should be willing to take criticism. I’ve made certain comments on Autostraddle which generated debate, and I always felt like I learned from the discussion that followed. Sometimes I changed my mind, sometimes I didn’t, but at the very least I got a better sense of where other people were coming from. I’m not saying I never get defensive in the moment (I’m human after all), but ultimately I appreciate the constructive criticism I’ve received.

          I try to stear clear of personal attacks, but I see nothing wrong with criticizing the content of someone’s speech. Positive change will not happen without dialogue.

        • Thumb up 8

          Please log in to vote

          Not one single person has called for Lea DeLaria to censor herself. Not one.

          What HAS happened is that people have expressed their feelings of discomfort, and have been told, with snarky gifs and dismissive circular arguments, that their feelings are wrong. That’s bullshit.

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.