not belong with a population of male prisoners. This positions her
as a redemptive figure in the narrative and demonstrates progress
in terms of America’s growing understanding and definition of
gender. Either way, a character as complex and realistic as Sophia
performed by an actress as accomplished as Laverne Cox on a
show as well-regarded as Orange is the New Black is a milestone for
modern television and may prove to be revolutionary. Following
her success on the Netflix series, Cox became the first transgender
person to play a trans character in a recurring role on a broadcast
network series when she was cast in the CBS show Doubt.
Throughout Orange is the New Black, cast members such as Cox
(Sophia) and Polanco (Daya) have made high-profile appearances
in campaigns to support racial and sexual diversity and have
consistently spoken out against discrimination. A cynical view of
this form of real-world activism by actors may classify this as “little
more than the commodification of resistance, making use of
protests as sites for publicity” (Artt and Schwan). A progressive
view, however, celebrates the ability of LGBTQ characters to
thrive on a streaming series and to be accepted while publicly
advocating about their beliefs. Why should the celebrations of
diversity (LGBTQ and otherwise) be confined to the screen?
Finally, and surprisingly, one of the most monumental
aspects of Orange is the New Black rarely referenced on the series,
and seldom seen on television at all, is Piper’s bisexuality. When
viewers first meet Piper, she is engaged to Larry Bloom (Jason
Biggs), who promises to remain committed to her throughout her
sentence. Piper reconnects with her ex-girlfriend Alex Vause
(Laura Prepon) in Litchfield prison, however, which reignites
feelings that may have never gone away. Piper Chapman represents
bisexuality in a conflicting way formerly engaged to a male,
rekindling with her previous girlfriend, and continuously battling
with her identity as straight or gay or bi. Ironically, Piper reflects
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