“OITNB” writer Lauren Morelli comes out in heartfelt essay


Lauren Morelli, one of the dynamic writers of Orange in the New Black, came out today in a beautiful and touching piece in PolicyMic. Morelli, who has been a delightful and funny Twitter presence since the start of OITNB last year, introduced her piece as only she could.

Morelli candidly reveals her very personal journey, which began right around the time she stepped foot in the OITNB writer’s room. A newlywed at the time, the discovery about herself and her sexuality, came at a heavy emotional cost.

Which is why it’s now a punch in the gut every time I have to say, “I’m getting divorced because I’m gay.” It’s a sentence I’ve said approximately 5,223 times in the last six months. For those of you keeping track, I’m definitely not exaggerating and I’m not prone to hyperbole, ever.

She goes on to talk about the openness of the cast and crew of OITNB, which gave her the freedom to begin opening up and exploring her truth. 

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.

Morelli wrote one of the most beloved and pivotal scenes of Piper and Alex’s journey together; the “I heart you” scene in Season One. It would turn out to be an important moment of self-acceptance for the writer. She says:

As I watched Taylor Schilling and Laura film the scene, one of our producers (as it happened, a gay woman) tapped me on the shoulder. She pointed at the screen and gave me a thumb’s up. It was a small gesture, but my first step toward feeling accepted and quietly accepting myself. In Piper and Alex, I’d found a mouthpiece for my own desires and a glimmer of what my future could look like.

While everyone’s coming out story is personal, there is a beauty in the universal connection we all share of finally knowing and living your truth. Lauren Morelli gave us all a beautiful gift by sharing her particular journey, which is complicated, heartbreaking, and yet quite hopeful.  You can read the entire post at PolicyMic, which I heartily recommend.