Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany may play 13 badass clones onscreen, but this past weekend, she proved just how much heart she has after an emotional brush with a fan of the show.
The talented Canadian-born actress was taking part in a panel for Orphan Black fans, endearingly nicknamed the "Clone Club," at the massive San Diego Comic Con this past weekend when a question from the audience brought Maslany to tears.
"First of all, I wanted to thank you," the fan said. "Before I started watching the show, I was really in the closet and I was totally ashamed of who I was. I hated myself. I started watching the show and seeing [openly lesbian character] Cosima and seeing everything is not about her sexuality and that she is more than her sexuality. My parents weren't okay with me being gay. I started watching the show with my mom and it's helped us start to rebuild our relationship."
The fan said went on to tell Maslany that watching the show with her parents has helped open their eyes in a way she wasn't sure she would be able to do on her own.
"[My mother] sees Cosima and she sees that it's okay and that people are more than their sexuality," the fan said. "I want to thank you for that. ... What's it like to have that effect on peoples' lives and know you're changing peoples' lives and making people more comfortable with who they are? You're saving lives. That's what you did for me. So, I just wanted to know what's that like?"
Wiping the tears from her eyes, Maslany could only respond, "That's amazing. I mean, I have no words. That's incredible."
Maslany's portrayal of a family of strong female clone characters on the BBC has won her fans both within the LGBT community and without. But the character of Cosima in particular is proving to be something of a rarity in mainstream drama today: a defiantly smart, openly lesbian woman clearly not designed as a token diveristy role or as sexual bait for male viewers. This authenticity has led to a nice group of Cosima fans, calling themselves #Clonesbians.
Let's hope that the success of shows like Orphan Black and queer-friendly Canadian science-fiction drama Lost Girl help prove that programming featuring believable queer characters can be successful, both critically and economically, to speak nothing of the humanizing impact sympathetic queer characters have on society in general.