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OITNB Star Lea DeLaria Signs on to MichFest Despite Trans Exclusionary Policy 

Orange is the New Black Star Lea DeLaria Joins Line-up of Trans Exclusionary Music Festival

Orange is the New Black Star Lea DeLaria Joins Line-up of Trans Exclusionary Music Festival

Lea DeLaria has joined the lineup for this year's Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, an event that explicitly forbids trans people, like her Orange Is The New Black costar Laverne Cox, from attending.

Late last month, the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival announced the lineup for its annual celebration, including out singer, comedian, and actress Lea DeLaria. The Orange is the New Black star was added to the MichFest lineup following Toronto-based quartet Hunter Valentine's decision to cancel their scheduled performance as a result of the festival's "Womyn Born Womyn" policy, which some have criticized as being transphobic.

DeLaria, who plays Carrie "Big Boo" Black on the popular Netflix series Orange is the New Black, has worked as a stand-up comedian for nearly 30 years. In 1993, she became the first openly LGBT comedian to appear on a late-night talk show when she performed on The Arsenio Hall Show. Since then, she's toured as a comedian, and has found regular work as a film and stage actress.

MichFest's "Womyn Born Womyn" policy restricts festival attendance to cisgender women, prohibiting trans women. In recent years, protests against the festival's policy have ramped up, and following public pressure, out poet Andrea Gibson and MichFest mainstays The Indigo Girls announced that they would not return to MichFest until festival organizers opened attendance to all women, including trans women.

DeLaria's decision to perform at MichFest strikes some as strange, given that the festival explicitly discriminates against trans women like her Orange costar Laverne Cox.

Tom Léger, editor-in-chief of and publisher at LGBT publishing house Topside Press, asked DeLaria on Twitter about this apparent conflict of interest. "That's a skewed view," DeLaria replied. When pressed for elaboration, DeLaria refused to clarify what she found "skewed" about Léger's statement.

Michigan Womyn's Music Festival takes place August 5 through 10.

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Parker Marie Molloy