An “Orange Is the New Black” writer’s touching story: The show helped her come out to herself as gay

Lauren Morelli, an "OITNB" writer, writes that the show helped her learn who she was

Topics: orange is the new black, lauren morelli,

An "Orange Is the New Black" writer's touching story: The show helped her come out to herself as gay

Lauren Morelli, a writer for Netflix’s comedy sensation ”Orange Is the New Black,” has opened up in an essay for PolicyMic — it turns out that working for the show has benefits greater just than being part of a creative team. Indeed, the story of Piper’s incarceration helped Morelli realize she was gay.

Morelli had only recently gotten married to her husband when she began staffing on “Orange,” a set she describes as “remarkably intimate”: “‘You’re so gay!’ people exclaimed gleefully and often in the writers’ room those first few months.”

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To wit:

The sound stage for “Orange,” where we proudly employ what has to be at least 64% of lesbians in the New York City metro area, is not a place where you can shy away from women or sexuality. And if you’re trying to, Lea Delaria (Big Boo) will nip it in the bud by inviting you to sit on her lap.

In short, it’s not the sort of place one could last long lying to oneself or others. And Morelli takes the reader through her awakening sense of self while being supported by her co-workers — a journey that’s a bit like the most positive possible spin on the gradual awakening and education of Piper from inert, confused object to high-Kinsey-number protagonist on-screen. “It was in the writers’ room that I came into myself, surrounded by unconditional love and teasing when I needed it (like when I was so depressed that I wore a hoodie and a baseball cap for too many days in a row and someone asked me if I was trying to be an undercover cop).”

She snapped out of it and writes that she is now in love and living openly — what happens to the fictional character of Piper is the stuff of other tales.

Daniel D'Addario is a staff reporter for Salon's entertainment section. Follow him on Twitter @DPD_

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