Daytime's (Mayoral) Race To The Altar

10.25.2009

By Dustin Fitzharris

One Life to Live's Dorian (Robin Strasser) has said 'I do' seven times. She's tried younger men, older men, crime lords and journalists. None of them brought her the undying happiness she was hoping for. So, what's a gal to do? Become a lesbian -- almost.

With the city of Llanview's mayoral race down to the wire, Dorian is horrified when she learns her arch-enemy and opponent Viki (Erika Slezak) has won the support of the town's Gay and Lesbian Alliance. Not to be outdone and to prove she deserves their backing, Dorian decides she will pretend to be gay and announces she will marry her openly gay campaign manager, Amelia (Tia Dionne Hodge).

In another daytime television first, Dorian will tie the knot with Amelia as part of a mass ceremony of 22 gay couples the week of Oct. 26 to bring awareness for same-sex marriage. But will Dorian be able to go through with the nuptials since she is really in love with David (Tuc Watkins), her on and off again beau?

Out caught up with Strasser, who is celebrating her 30th anniversary as Dorian, on the set of One Life To Live. In an honest and intimate interview she talked about her concerns with the gay storyline, her personal struggle that kept her from the LGBT March on Washington, the Obama administration, and what kind of man she'd want one of her sons to marry if he was gay.

Out: You are thrilled to be doing this mayoral race storyline with Viki --
Robin Strasser: How do you know that? What are your sources? [Laughs] You like that -- when I turn it around and ask you the questions? Did somebody tell you this would be easy?

Can I make up something about how difficult you were?
If it sells you or me, go ahead!

How did the producers and writers approach you to tell you that you would be part of a gay storyline?
They don't approach us. They try to stay as far away from us as possible. That just isn't how it works. Ron Carlivati [the show's head writer] is a man of great intellect and has diverse interests and experiences. There was no warning for me. I saw something coming up [in the script] and said, 'What's going on? Is Dorain '?' They said 'Yes, she's going to want to get the gay vote away from Viki so much that she declares herself gay.'

What's the first thing that went through your mind?
Is she saying she's gay or is she trying it out? Either way, I needed that information.

Did you have any concerns?
What alarmed me more than if she had actually made a discovery about her sexuality was that if she is pretending that she is. But she believes she is doing it in a good cause, which in her pathology isn't that she wants to do anything to be mayor -- it's in a good cause because people do have a right to make their personal choices about their sexuality and romantic and personal commitments. Equal rights to all people should be available. So, she goes to the higher moral ground even while she's down in the mud deciding she'll do anything to beat Viki to become mayor.

What do you say to critics who say you are making a mockery out of same-sex marriage?
I can't listen to critics. Not because I don't feel that their opinion is valid, but if I made an active survey or fact-finding mission about how my work is carrying out the storyteller's vision on our show or was going to impact -- if that in any way shaped what my acting choices were or my commitment to the material -- then I would be in big trouble. And I don't let anything "bleep" with my work.

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