The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) reacts in the dugout after Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 24, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M pitcher Kaiden Wilson (30) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Netflix star Lea DeLaria talks LGBT rights

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Photo by Photo by: C. Morgan Engel

Lee DeLaria, an accomplished Actress and Comedian, lead a LGBTQ+ discussion in Rudder Auditorium on Friday night. 

At the countdown from three, members of the audience stood, ready at attention, and at their cue yelled, “I am a lesbian!” 
As this happened, Lea DeLaria watched, giggled and cheered the audience members on in their chanting — it was her idea, after all, to get the audience ready to enjoy her show. DeLaria, an actress, comedian and musician, came to Texas A&M Friday night to lead an LGBT discussion. 
DeLaria, best known for her role as Big Boo in “Orange is the New Black,” was also the first openly gay comic on television. DeLaria’s unapologetic and outgoing demeanor were in full swing during her talk. DeLaria jokingly talked about the many names LGBT couples use to identify themselves in a relationship.
“Do we call them a partner? I don’t, because I’m not a f—— law firm. Significant other? Are there enough hours in the day to say ‘significant other?’ Is she my lover? I’m not gonna call her that because I’m not a 65-year-old Berkeley graduate eating peyote buttons in a tower,” DeLaria said. “There’s a language that queers have, but we speak to each other in a language called irony — we invented satire. So I think we should just go all the way back to Jane Austen and just call them our traveling companions.”
However, in between the satirical jokes, DeLaria shed light on the difficulties of growing up gay and how public opinion has shifted.
“I was on my way to a gig for gay pride, I was going to catch the subway, when a young man came up to me, called me a d— b—- and punched me in the face. He knocked me to the ground, kicked me in the ribs, stomped on me — broke my ribs, broke my nose, broke my eye socket — and I was in the hospital for a couple of weeks,” DeLaria said. “While 40 people, also waiting for the subway, watched and did nothing. You have to understand that things were different back then — it was scary to be gay back then.” 
However, only weeks ago, DeLaria was defended in a Loehmann’s retail dressing room.
“Several years later, 20 complete strangers chased a woman out of a dressing room for merely using homophobic language [towards me]. I think that’s a remarkable amount of progress,” DeLaria said. 
However, DeLaria urged the audience to continue in the fight for equality because there’s still a long way to go. The show  concluded with a Q&A between DeLaria and audience members, many of whom asked for things like quick hugs and Snapchat selfies with the star or thanked her for sharing her experience with Aggieland. 
University studies junior, Gael Brice, said he appreciated DeLaria’s willingness to discuss difficult issues. 
“Honestly my favorite part of the show was how open and incredibly out-there she was. It’s something that me and my friends struggle to do as leaders in the queer community here on campus,” Brice said. “It’s important [to have speakers like Delaria] for the kids who are unsure about their identity. It’s also important for kids who don’t know much about the queer community to see that there are people in the world who aren’t like me and aren’t of the same mindset.” 
Kinesiology freshman Marissa Zaragoza said she encourages straight Aggies to support their fellow LGBT Aggies 
“It doesn’t matter who you love or what you love or what you wanna be, it matters who the person is. And I think if people on this campus realized that and accepted everyone’s differences then it would be so much easier to be oneself and just a better place,” Zaragoza said.

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