Transitioning to a Better State: Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

2037 Words9 Pages
The LGBT community is a group that often falls victim to negative stereotyping. LGBT is an acronym for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender that categorizes a community of individuals that are a part of the sexual minority (Swain, 2007). One community that falls under the umbrella of the LGBT acronym is the transgender community. This community consists of transgender individuals, a general term to describe those who do not conform to typical gender roles, transsexuals who desire to be recognized as a member of the opposite sex, and transvestites who dress in clothing associated with the opposite gender. Transsexuals are a group that are largely ignored on television, and when they are portrayed they usually belong to roles in which they are ridiculed and objectified. The Netflix original series Orange is the New Black features a transsexual character named Sophia Burset who is Male-to-Female (MTF) transgender, meaning that Sophia was born a male and has undergone a transition to a female. The character is played by real life transgender actress Laverne Cox. Orange is the New Black addresses many of the stereotypes associated with MTF transgender individuals and works to counter many of the stereotypes found on other television series through interactions between characters and conflicts that are unique to transgender individuals. Transgender characters on television are often flat; they are portrayed as a surgical product rather than a human who has problems aside from transitioning to the opposite gender. This portrayal leads to a stereotypical type of transgender character that can often be categorized as one or more of “the four P's: Prostitute, Punchline, Psycho and Poor thing,” or fit within a similar category (Addams, ... ... middle of paper ... ...rom http://www.calpernia.com/diary/favorites/transsexual-cliches-and- stereotypes- in-media/ Dixon, T.L. (2014, January). Media and Race: The Big Picture. Lecture conducted from University of California, Los Angeles, CA. Gates, G. (2011, December 05). Transgender: By the numbers. Retrieved from http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Transgender-by-the-numbers-2342726.php Kane, M., Gouttebroze, M., Townsend, M. (2013). Where we are on tv. GLAAD, Retrieved from http://www.glaad.org/files/whereweareontv12.pdf Kerman, P. (Writer), Kohan, J. (Writer), & Trim, M. (Director) (2013). Lesbian request denied [Web series episode]. In Burley, M. (Executive Producer),Orange is the New Black. Los Gatos: Netflix. Retrieved from Netflix.com Swain, Keith W. (2007, June 24). Gay pride needs new direction Retrieved from http://www.denverpost.com/ci_6198394?source=rss

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