Last summer, fans of The CW's Arrowverse got huge news when it was announced that Ruby Rose had been cast as Batwoman, both for the "Elseworlds" crossover event and for the now-upcoming Batwoman series. While many fans were excited about Rose's casting, there was plenty of backlash as well, with some declaring Rose not "gay enough" to play the canonically lesbian DC heroine. It's backlash that hasn't fully gone away and now, Rose is addressing it once again.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly Rose, who identifies as gender fluid, talked about her identity has impacted her career.
"Yeah. I came to the States to get into acting, and I couldn't even get a manager or agent, so I made a short film based on my life because I had the time to do it. I put it online, just to say, 'This is something I wanted to do,' and it went viral, which I didn't ever expect," Rose said. "And then I got an opportunity to audition for Orange Is the New Black because they wanted to have a gender-neutral character. But I've also gotten backlash. And that's when you realize you have to keep up with the terminology. When I got cast as a lesbian in Batwoman, I didn't know that being a gender-fluid woman meant that I couldn't be a lesbian because I'm not a woman — not considered lesbian enough."
Rose went on to say that after her initial response, she took the time to try to figure out why some were upset, but also what it means for her overall identity -- at least in her chosen terminology.
"My initial response was 'Pfft!' And then I was like, 'Wait. Let me just figure this one out. How do I right this wrong, because if someone out there is upset by this, I need to know why and how to fix it.' That's when I sort of said, 'I'm a woman that identifies as a woman. I'm not trans. But if being gender-fluid means that I can't identify as a woman at any point, then I guess I can't be that.' Maybe I need to make up another term, one that doesn't step on any toes. One where I can be fluid in my gender, but also a lesbian, because otherwise I'm not sure what I am."
It's that pausing to step back and try to understand where people are coming from is in line with how Rose is approaching the Batwoman role overall. Speaking with ComicBook.com at The CW's network upfronts in May, Rose explained that the fans are passionate, especially when it comes to Batwoman -- and that's what makes them so important.
"I wouldn't say that they're opinionated; I would say that they're passionate. When I'm passionate about something, I can come across as quite opinionated," Rose said. "I think that there are going to be people out there who know this universe, especially right now, better than I do, or people who think they know their version of Gotham. They're going to project what they want and what their expectations are onto the show. I think what's really good about The CW and DC and Warner Bros. is that we listen to that kind of thing. It's not like we're just doing what we want to do and that's the end of it. The fans are the most important part of how this works. We have obviously set designers and costume designers and Colleen Atwood, and we have writers and we have actors, and we're all bringing this world to life, but at the same time we have to honor the fact that this is not something that just got created and that we decided to do. It's not an original IP. It has existed in many different platforms in many different media with many different actors at many different times. So it's paying tribute to, respect to, and the honor of having the privilege to [play this role]. It's everyone's dream to be in a show or a film where you get to be in Gotham. It doesn't really get much better than that."
Batwoman will debut Sundays this fall on The CW.