A dream came true for many students on Oct. 13, as “Orange is the New Black” star, Lea Delaria walked on stage at the Student Center Ballroom. Delaria, one of the most popular representatives of the LGBT community on television, visited SSU to speak to students about her life as a butch and all the effort she put into becoming the funny and popular woman she is today.
As soon as Delaria walked on-stage, she posed for pictures and said hello to the students whom frantically waved to her with excitement.
“I hope there’s a lot of administration here because I’m a ‘no f****-given’ person,” said Delaria.
Soon after, she asked everyone in the audience to stand up and shout “I am a Lesbian” at the top of their lungs, which they did and roared with laughter after.
Delaria said she had “no pearls of wisdom” to share with the audience that night, but if there was one thing she wanted her audience to learn that night was, “[people do] not have to apologize to anyone for being who [they] are.”
Followed by her saying she has been a professional lesbian since 1982.
“I enjoyed that the school is having this event,” said senior Ashley Armstrong. “I feel like they are representing the queer people on campus, which is something I feel they haven’t really done before. I used to feel isolated, but now I feel like I have a community.”
Delaria talked about a multitude of stories such as, her love for Loehmann’s retail store and their public dressing room, the fact that she can never sleep in New York City because she knows that somewhere there is a party going on, and how members of the LGBT community did not know what to call each other.
Aside from speaking about what she loves, she told the crowd a bit about her background and what it was like growing up as an Italian Catholic. She attended a Catholic school for 12 years.
She always knew she was gay and her family believed that by ignoring that fact, being gay would go away. She also spoke about she used be a carpenter and eventually quit that job to become a full-time comedian. Her stage name was “That F****** Dyke.”
“Every day of my life someone calls me sir,” said Delaria, “the worst is when I am at the gynecologist.”
Despite the everyday confusion of people mistaking her for a man, Delaria is proud of the progress that society has made regarding the LGBT community.
She told the audience a story about how she got a scar on her nose because she was bashed during gay pride in San Francisco in 1982. And how now she has a story about being apologized to and defended when people confuse her for a man.
“She seems like a really cool person and handles herself really well,” said freshmen Meg Vischer.
Toward the end of her performance she sang and ripped posters reading, prop eight, WOMA, F*** off Kanye, as well as many others.
The performance was followed by a Q-and-A where many people jumped with eagerness to ask her questions. She was asked about what she learned about women and mental health in prison, only to say that she is not one of those actors who does research on their roles.
Her way of preparation was watching “Locked Up.” Though she was happy to learn about issues revolved around women’s prisons today. She was even invited to perform at SSU’s Vagina Monologues in the spring, but seeing as she is a busy person, it is not set.
“I think that she really handled the audience well and had a good approach,” said freshmen Sarah Fishback. “She gets students, which is great because our generation is so complex, it’s great to have someone who gets us.”
Following the performance, ASI’s Paolo Ochoa, welcomed everyone to the HUB for a meet and greet with Delaria. All of the students created a long line while everyone oozed with excitement for the chance to meet Delaria and get a picture with her.
“I think that it’s really great that we are having events like these,” said sophomore Jacqueline Vickerman. “It’s good that we have representation from the queer community because of the homophobia I have witnessed on campus.”
Delaria’s performance sparked excitement in many students and had them all leaving with a huge smile on their face.
“All I wanted to do was to make people laugh, change things and get laid,” said Delaria at the end of the Q-and-A.