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Orphan Black Star Tatiana Maslany Talks Cosima, Sexuality, and Other Interesting Things

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One of the things I like most about Orphan Black is how complicated all the characters are. They’re messy, they’re sympathetic, and they’re totally believable (except for the whole being-a-science-experiment thing, but we’ll let that slide). When you consider that many of them are played by one person, it makes for some pretty impressive television. The fact that some of those interesting, nuanced characters also happen to be gay makes it all the better.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, lead actress Tatiana Maslany responded to the largely positive reaction toward the show’s queer characters, hoping that it will be fuel for more nuanced conversations on that front.

We sort of embrace the idea of every human having the potential to be anything, and I think that opens the door for all kinds of dialogue about sexuality and about gender. And it’s exciting material that is not always on screen in a respectful way. And I don’t mean respectful in the sense of martyrdom, I mean respectful in the sense of flawed, complex performance and characters.

She was later questioned about her character Cosima, in light of an interpretation that had honestly never occurred to me. Since Cosima is the only clone with a female partner, and the others have male partners, and all of them are genetically identical — does that mean she’s choosing to be gay?

By no means are we saying that Cosima chooses to be gay…I think we’re not saying anything about that in terms of choice and biology or whatever. We’re saying more that everyone could be anything.

You mean…you mean that sexuality is a tangled, intricate thing, perhaps beyond our fathoming? Something that isn’t a simple matter of a conscious choice or a single genetic light switch? You mean that maybe sexual orientation is a spectrum, rather than an unwavering cubby shelf, and that trying to point to one solitary factor as the end-all-be-all reason behind anyone’s placement on said spectrum is a hopelessly futile exercise?

The very notion.

Head to the full EW article for more food for thought, as well as further commentary by actor Jordan Gavaris (aka Felix).

Previously in Orphan Black

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