US actor, comedian and musician Lea DeLaria has seen the good, the bad and the great in her lifetime. In the 1990’s, Lea was the first openly gay comic in America to perform on television. She dared to be herself at a time when it was illegal, and was jailed twice. But driving Lea from the start is standing up in front of a crowd and making people laugh – making them think. Two years ago, she sat down with AIME TV and shared some of her philosophy with us.

June 2017 – Los Angeles – Lea DeLaria talks to AIME CEO & Founder Jack Manning Bancroft during an interview for AIME TV. Image: Jake Trindorfer.

On what drives her to want to change things: I can’t stand to see people qualified and quantified. We’re all people. We all bleed. We all have hearts. We all have emotions. We all think.

I have experienced my own oppression. I have been gay-bashed. I have spent the night in jail, as you say. I’ve spent a week in hospital for being beaten up for no other reason than I look the way I look. And I think there’s a lot of people out there in the world that can relate to that.

On why we hurt people who are different to us: Unfortunately, we live in a society that teaches people that they have to be “better than”. You know, one of the things I hope for the 21st century is for us all to realize that if we do look around the world, if we do look at everybody, there is enough for us all to be treated equally.

Image source: Lea Delaria, Twitter.

Her message to kids who feel different: Our difference is what makes us unique, which is what makes us human, what makes us interesting. We’ve all felt different. We all feel inadequate. It’s just part of the human condition. One of the greatest ways, greatest things you can do to counteract that is to love yourself and accept yourself. If you love yourself and you stick to it, whatever that it is, whatever your dream is, you will achieve it.

Lea DeLaria

28th February 2020

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