Our gender vocabulary has slowly been expanding but even with all these new labels, categorizing yourself can still feel extremely confining. Just ask Ruby Rose.
Ruby has been identifying herself as a gender fluid lesbian. That is, until her Batwoman casting caused an uproar.
Suddenly she wasn’t “lesbian enough” (whatever that means) to play the role. She told Entertainment Weekly,
“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.”
It’s this controversy that stirred up a bit of an identity crisis in Ruby.
“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.”
Our understanding of gender has come such a long way but as long as we insist on labeling ourselves and everyone around us, we will always be restricting ourselves. Gender expression, much like sexuality, is a spectrum. And unfortunately, labels will never fully be able to capture every person’s experience.
In the meantime, it’s up to each individual to choose the description that feels best to them. And the rest of us will just have to respect that. So if Ruby Rose says she’s a gender fluid lesbian, then that’s who she is damn it!
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel and when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her obsessing over her tuxedo cat Tom or hoarding drugstore lipsticks.