With National Coming Out Day just around the corner on the 11th, Samira Wiley, the out star of The Handmaid’s Tale spoke openly about how she was accidentally pushed out of the closet by one of her Orange Is the New Black costars.
“Someone from my cast — they were doing an interview when they were talking about out gay actors in the cast and they mentioned my name and I saw it in print and I cried. I cried a lot,” Wiley said on the podcast Nancy, according to a press release from New York Public Radio.
“I tried to get it taken down. Look, I had a journey,” she added. “I was not all always super open-hearted and, like, I’m a gay, gaymo.”
Wiley, who's played lesbian characters on Orange Is the New Black and The Handmaid’s Tale, credited her OITNB character, Poussey, with helping her come to terms with being out in her career.
“I think falling in love with Poussey, which is a real thing that happened to me, helped me fall in love with myself,” she said.
During her run on OITNB (Poussey was killed off in the fifth season), Wiley met and fell in love with Lauren Morelli, one of the show’s writers. The women tied the knot in Palm Springs, Calif., in 2017.
By the time Wiley took on the role of the exiled Moira in Hulu’s dystopian — and increasingly all-too-real under the Trump administration — series The Handmaid’s Tale, she’d honed her political and personal talking points around LGBTQ issues.
Speaking with The Advocate in 2017 about the Trump administration’s oppression of LGBTQ people in relation to The Handmaid’s Tale, Wiley said, “The only thing that is going to make things better, the only thing that’s going to make people [in power] talk about it is to give voice to it.”
Still, while appearing on Nancy to discuss her recent appearance in The Laramie Project for the 20th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death, Wiley added that she wishes she’d had control over coming out.
“That’s something somebody took from me,” she said. “You should be able to come out on your own terms.”