My OTP from “OITNB”: Sophia and Poussey


In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I believe that Sophia Burset and Poussey Washington should get it on.


This is all I want in the world. I want them to have awkward flirtations and long, uncertain glances and frantic makeouts and slow soulful sex scenes and eventually a small spring wedding in a park somewhere with Taystee as the maid of honor, Michael as the best man, and Sister Ingalls officiating. I believe in it with everything I have.

Listen, I know: Orange is the New Black is a femslash writer’s deepest dream come true, positively overflowing with queer (and potentially queer) lady characters with rich back stories and smoking hot chemistry. The closer we get to the third season of OITNB, the more wildly diehard fans, me included, speculate about who will do what with whom. Everyone has their own favorite combination of characters they’d like to see make creative use of the chapel, all equally plausible. Red/Gloria? Suzanne/Morello? Watson/Flaca? Why the hell not? The only pairing I’m 99% sure we’ll never see is Piper/an emotionally healthy relationship. So why bother to argue that my particular OTP is the one that most deserves canonical legitimacy?


I can offer no better explanation than, “Because it’s right.” Sophia and Poussey belong together. I know the truth, and I want you to know it, too.

First and foremost, Poussey and Sophia are the fucking best. Not only are they the best-looking women in the cast (if you think they’re not, do some soul-searching and figure out when you turned away from your own inner goodness), they’re also the best people, period. They’re smart and funny and resilient and the good in them shines through even in terrible situations. Sure, they’ve both made some mistakes, but they’ve learned from them and grown as people, and they’re much closer than most of the other characters to knowing who they are and who they want to be. Sophia and Poussey are the two women in Litchfield I most want good things for, the two about whom I most frequently say “God, I just want her to be happy, you know? She deserves better.” And after I’d said that about 7,000 times apiece, it dawned on me that what I really think they deserve is each other. No one else is even close to worthy.


I know Poussey and Sophia haven’t had a lot of screen time together, but their characters are alike in ways that would make them a really powerhouse couple. They’re both outsiders of sorts at Litchfield, but they’ve also experienced ostracization in their lives long before being incarcerated. As an Army brat who lost every place and person who ever made her feel at home, Poussey is looking for someone she can rely on. As a trans woman who’s lost her job, her marriage, and her freedom in pursuit of an authentic life, Sophia is looking for someone who can love her unconditionally. These are not women who reach for support from whomever happens to be around–witness the fact that neither was drawn into Vee’s web of manipulation. Poussey and Sophia both desperately want to be loved and needed, but they’re not willing to sacrifice their autonomy or self-respect for it. They don’t realize it yet, but they’re each everything the other needs.


They’ve also both recently experienced heartbreak at the hands of women (Taystee and Crystal, respectively) who could never love them the way they deserve to be loved, by which I mean lesbianly. Passionate infatuation with a straight girl is a crucial milestone that every queer woman must experience before she’s ready to commit wholeheartedly to a life of beautiful Sapphic love, but there comes a time when you have to put it behind you. In some ways longing for that impossible but idyllic love is a way of protecting yourself from the real, exhilarating vulnerability of a serious relationship, but I think Poussey and Sophia are both on the verge of being ready to let go of the dream and embrace the reality of girl-on-girl love in all its raw, messy, amazing realness.

It’s also worth noticing that, per the episode “A Whole Other Hole,” Sophia and Poussey know more about vaginas than anyone else at Litchfield. Imagine the bliss these two could bring to each other in a sexy situation. Go ahead and imagine it. I’ll wait.

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Sophia and Poussey are both strong, capable, powerhouses of self-determination. Each has had a long time to get used to being the only person on her own team. Each is used to taking hits and keeping on. Each is used to fighting tooth and nail to get what she wants and needs, never having anyone but herself to depend on. Think about Sophia, stone-faced, saying “I’d like to report an emergency.” Think of Poussey going after Vee with everything she had, fighting for the woman she loved even when Taystee wasn’t fighting for her. Imagine what these women could accomplish if they put their heads together. Even more important, imagine what it would be like for either of them if they could just relax, just for a few moments, knowing that someone else has their back.

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I think they could be that for each other. They both have the kind of strength it takes to know yourself deeply, and they’re both starting to figure out what they deserve, after a lifetime of being told that what they deserve is “nothing.” But what they really deserve, both of them, is the love and affection and lifelong loyalty of a true-blue amazing woman, the kind of love where you both give every bit of your heart and you get back everything you could ever ask for in return. And also way more screen time in Season 3. Universe, help a lady out on this one.

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