as “Piper the straight girl,” “former lesbian,” or “dyke” all of
which are either said about Piper or spoken to her face in
Litchfield. Of course, just as in Sophia’s instance, it would be
incredibly unrealistic to feature a lesbian protagonist without some
sort of confrontation with biphobia. And, again, Orange is the New
Black does not attempt to mask the realities that face marginalized
groups of any kind. Furthermore, it is not unusual for bisexual (or
queer) characters to have difficulty articulating their thoughts and
feelings about their orientation. Thus, creating a character whose
story incorporates all the hardships often associated with
identifying as LGBTQ is important and useful in taking us one step
closer to seeing series built around protagonists who may be
entirely proud of their bisexuality or other fluid identities regardless
of what those may be.
Questions about sexuality, gender, relationships, and
depiction on television are important for several reasons. First, the
representations are important for what is portrayed to future
generations of America. Jen Braeden, a lesbian sitcom writer, states
that she struggled through her queer identity crisis via television
(Braeden and Dalton). Through television, Braeden was able to not
only find herself but comfort herself inside stories that the real
world could not brutally interrupt. Even if children are not the
direct viewers of these revolutionary shows, their parents may be.
If these representations sway parents to incorporate a more
inclusive, fluid representation of gender and sexuality, this will be
translated to children’s minds and perspectives, into schools, and
ultimately, into adulthood. Furthermore, gender non-conforming
children may benefit from fluid parental perspectives and may then
feel supported in their own journeys through adolescence and into
adulthood. Though the LGBTQ community is becoming more
widely recognized and accepted, we are not yet close to a universal
embrace of this consistently marginalized group. Counteracting
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