Fortunately, later in the series, Sophia is released from the
SHU and even spends her last few days in the SHU with Piper
Chapman, which gives her a glimpse of hope and reconnects her
with friendship and the camaraderie that is a recurring theme in the
series. Sophia’s confinement to the SHU for much of the latter part
of the third and fourth seasons of Orange is the New Black is certainly
problematic, but also provides a realistic representation of what it
is often like to be queer in a post-binary understand of gender
identity. Sophia, though multiple members of the Litchfield
community are also queer, somehow still manages to be boxed as
“other” because of her trans-identity. Though the series presents
many problematic scenarios for Sophia, her isolation is realistic and
even grim. Yet again, the series demonstrates the implications of
defying neat categories and makes visible a character crossing
culturally constructed boundaries visible and makes her
sympathetic to viewers of all types. It would be nearly impossible
to incorporate a story about a transwoman without mentioning
some sort of discrimination, and Orange is the New Black does not
attempt to present an idealized world where all conflict ends with
understanding and social justice always prevails. Where the series
does triumph, however, is allowing space for Sophia to speak out
against bigotry and discrimination and to stand up for herself in
trying circumstances. Additionally, through these uncomfortable-
to-watch representations, the series does allow viewers to
understand and appreciate queerness better. The show also reveals
flaws not only in the correctional system but in the judgments and
language of the broader society and makes a call to action for
viewers to treat everyone, including “others,” with kindness.
Some Orange is the New Black viewers may see Sophia as a
disruption to a women’s prison because her gender assigned at
birth would usually place her in a men’s facility of the federal
correctional system. It is clear from the series that Sophia would
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