Lauren Morelli, a key writer for Orange in the New Black, came out yesterday in a touching personal piece, entitled ‘While Writing for ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ I Realized I Am Gay‘.
The article was then tweeted to her 5000 twitter follower with the following message…
“This is probably the most personal thing I will ever write, so the internet seemed like a good place for it.”
In this touching article, Lauren candidly reveals her very personal journey, which started around the time she started writing for OITNB.
“In Piper and Alex, I’d found a mouthpiece for my own desires and a glimmer of what my future could look like.”
Morelli started writing for Season 1 only five months after her own wedding, and therefore the discovery about herself and her sexuality, came at a heavy emotional cost.
“In any story worth telling, there’s conflict. And so, while it certainly would have been disorienting to begin to question my sexuality after three decades of knowing myself, it was particularly blinding because I’d gotten married only a few months before. It was the sort of wedding that makes you believe in absolute partnership and the strength that can come from facing obstacles, like the life-threatening illness that my new husband had battled for the majority of our relationship. But he was healthy again, so we danced under strings of Christmas lights and drank fancy cocktails that were served in mason jars, all while being surrounded by the friends and family who had held us up over the previous six years.”
She not only had to mourn the loss of her own marriage, but the identity she had known all her life. She says:
“After lugging around a basket full of shame and guilt for the last year, there was a lightness that came with realizing that I could choose to replace my negative framing with honesty and grace.”
And when she wrote one of the most beloved scenes in OITNB, with Piper and Alex’s journey together; the “I heart you” scene in Season 1. It would turn out to be an important moment of self-acceptance for the writer. She continues:
“…I was nervous about the first love scene I’d written for Alex and Piper. I’d loved writing it, loved watching a tenderness emerge in their relationship where passion always seemed to be the ruling principle, but by that time, I was so deep in my own self-doubt that I constantly felt like a fraud…”
“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.”
Read the full essay here.