So Ruby Rose got cast as Batwoman and two days after that news drops, she quits social media.
I was asked to do the news story. But I had to be honest. I couldn’t be objective here. I couldn’t be a neutral journalist. Because I’m foaming at the mouth angry over this. And I have several thoughts. Most of them are expletives. I can’t even begin to express the disappointment I feel, because it wasn’t racists this time, it wasn’t sexists or homophobes either, it was people from the Queer Community that drove her away.
Some background on me. I’m 33. I’m non-binary. I’m a lesbian. And I have a deep love for all things geeky. So I have a dog in this race.
I’ve been a fan of Ruby’s since I first saw her on Orange is the New Black and I still have yet to forgive Piper for sending her character to Super Max. #ForeverBitter. And like any queer fan that finds a new actor to obsess about, I had to find out everything I could about her. And what I found only made me love her even more.
See, Ruby is like me. She’s bipolar like I am. She’s an abuse survivor like I am. She’s non-binary like I am. Specifically, she identifies as gender fluid and she has a super hot girlfriend. Ok, so maybe not exactly like me, but we’re in the same camp. She plays on my team and I’ve got nothing but love for her.
So, I was thrilled when the news dropped. Not only was Batwoman was coming to the small screen but she was going to be played by a lesbian. What? Like this wasn’t some Scarlett Johansson type thing. This was someone of the community playing an open member of the community. This is what us queer fangirls have been clamoring for, right?
God, I was so wrong.
And I shouldn’t be surprised. This isn’t the first time an actor has quit social media because of backlash from “fans.” And I put that in quotation marks because if they were real fans, they wouldn’t have gone after Ruby Rose the way they did.
Daisy Ridley quit Twitter because apparently, it was just too much for the Neckbeards to have a woman hold a lightsaber. Kelly Marie Tran quit too. And they went after John Boyega as well. Because god forbid we have more than one minority in a Star Wars film. Going back further still, I remember the backlash that Amandla Stenberg and Lenny Kravitz received when they were in The Hunger Games. Now, Ruby Rose is the latest causality of the opinions of entitled wannabe fans.
I won’t be sharing any of the Tweets I found, because honestly, these people do not need a platform. I won’t give them that exposure. They don’t deserve it, but let me just say it doesn’t look good.
The opinions about Ruby Rose being cast ranged from “Her acting sucks.” And uh – no. Just no. She’s fantastic. She played Ares in the John Wick sequel. And if you haven’t seen John Wick: Chapter 2, you should because she’s an epic badass. Also, seriously, like any of the acting on a CW show is so stellar and Oscar-worthy anyway. Come on. Are we even watching the same shows here? It’s the CW. So let’s be honest, it’s like a step above Day Time Soaps and High School Sitcoms.
“She’s too pretty to play Kate.” And… wtf? She’s too pretty to play Kate Kane? A comic book character that is so unbelievably gorgeous that I have feelings for a drawing that I don’t have about most people? And Ruby Rose is too pretty to play her? Are you kidding me?
To, “I wanted person X instead.” To which too bad, cope. Take that up with the producers. Not an actor trying to work for a living. And when someone says that, I just picture a toddler having a tantrum in the middle of a toy store because they wanted the green toy, not the blue one because green is a stupid color and they hate it.
And lastly and most infuriating, “We deserve a real lesbian. Not whatever that is.”
It’s a sentiment that I am all too familiar with on a personal level. Because it’s not the first time someone of the Queer Community has had this stance about people like me. I’ve been told that my gender identity is made up by gay cisgender men (Hate to break to y’all, but all genders are made up). I’ve been told that I’m not a real lesbian by Gold Star Lesbian TERFs all because it took me a long time to accept my truth (And God forbid, someone takes some time to figure themselves out. Oh no).
Queer fans call for representation all of the time and when we get it like in the case of Black Lightning and now with Ruby Rose, some of us pout and say, “I didn’t mean someone like that.”
And if you don’t see that kind of thinking is problematic, then there’s nothing that I can say to make you see how that mode of thought is harmful and it sets us back decades.
I even shared this sentiment in a femslash fan group that actually love being a part of. I had people support the message, even while expressing their concerns about the casting, and stating a preference for another actor. But they also told me they were waiting to see what the CW did with Batwoman before they made a final judgment. And that’s fair. But they also didn’t take to Ruby’s Twitter and blast her for being cast.
However, there were a few that said this had nothing to do with Ruby’s gender identity and everything to do with her abilities as an actor. Basically, in a nutshell, they invalidated my feelings about non-binary folks like myself being invalidated by the Queer Community. One of them even saying it’s not all of us. Seriously, they Not all Gays’ed me. While I agree, it’s not everyone in the Queer Community. It’s enough. It’s more than enough. And if we as a community don’t start doing some self-policing and snuff out that kind of hateful gatekeeping, it’s only going to get worse. And we are going to lose people to this. We have already.
This is not what the Queer Community is about. We are supposed to be the community that accepts people as they are. We are supposed to validate the members of our tribe. We aren’t supposed to cut someone down. Make them feel like they don’t belong. And if this isn’t the message we want to send, we must do better.
I stand with Ruby Rose. And you should too.