Lea DeLaria: How Butch Lesbians Have Demanded Queer Visibility in Comedy


  • Brittany Bell


Reclamation, Butch representation, Radical comedy, Visibility, Queering


Lea DeLaria was a trailblazer for LGBTQ+ comedians in the 80s and 90s, and made history as the first openly gay comic to appear on an American talk-show in 1993. At a time when many other queer comedians opted not to mention their sexuality to the public in order to fit into the mainstream, DeLaria wasn’t afraid to get on stage in a suit and proudly call herself a dyke. Her comedy style is loudly queer and absolutely unapologetic, often being labelled as radical. As I learned more about Lea DeLaria, I gained a great appreciation for the honesty in her work, and see her comedy as a form of lesbian empowerment.

Author Biography

Brittany Bell


Hello, my name is Brittany Bell. I am a third year Bachelor of Science student at UBCO majoring in Psychology and minoring in Biology. I identify as a lesbian and am passionate about LGBTQ+ advocacy and representation. My research interests include women’s and queer sexuality studies, nontraditional family structures, and abnormal psychology. I am currently a support worker for adults with developmental disabilities, and I hope to pursue a Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology and one day become a therapist.