Lea DeLaria has many talents: acting, documenting award shows through social media, and not taking people’s crap. By now, you’ve probably seen the video of the Orange Is the New Black actress shutting down the homophobic rant of a NYC subway preacher that’s been making the Internet rounds. Well on Wednesday, Lea DeLaria explained the subway preacher fight to Page Six and her reason for speaking up is spot on.
DeLaria, aka Big Boo on the show, gave the publication a blow-by-blow of the incident. If you've seen the viral video, you already know that the clip seems to cut off a large part of the man’s proselytizing. DeLaria took the liberty of filling in some of the blanks. She said:
He was saying women should be subservient to men and that they should dress a certain way. He literally said that the problems in the world were because of homos. That we were all driven by our lust, that we were all sinners and we were all going to hell.
OOPH. That's a triple-decker sandwich of homophobic and misogynistic BS. DeLaria says she's unable to tolerate "people who use Jesus to preach hatred," so she decided to fight back. She recognizes that if people are demeaning others outright and spouting hate, they should be challenged. She continued,
You must always face evil and take it down. The reason evil thrives in the world, the reason hatred thrives in the world, the reason bullying thrives in the world is because of complacency. As long as we continue to take it, it will continue to thrive.
I agree with her, just as everyone else on that train probably did. To drown the man out, the actress led the passengers in a chorus of "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall." When he finally departed the train the entire assembly clapped, enacting a priceless New York moment of camaraderie with strangers that I’m extremely disappointed to not have been present for.
Getting back to DeLaria's point about speaking up, though, as a social norm, people often ignore aggressive or unpredictable people like this, thinking that confrontation will aggravate them. You sure don't want to go looking for people to confront, but the truth is that if you ignore the aggressive people who are trying to incite discomfort (subway preachers, cat-callers), they won't just go away. They'll continue to inflict the same behavior on others. Whether this confrontation means singing at them on the train, or coming together with others in recognition that these issues exists is up to you. Big Boo has something valuable to teach us all in her refusal to be a bystander.