A Cultural Shift for LGBTQ Support: OITNB’s Ruby Rose on Gender Fluidity
After working as an intern at The National last week, I was so busy I didn’t have any time for writing other articles. So, I’m so happy to now have the time to write some more for Cult Noise! I absolutely love writing for this publication and I think what Cult Noise do is so important and they offer a unique platform for aspiring journalists.
Read my new piece for Cult Noise on LGBTQ, the meaning of gender fluidity and the new it girl that everyone is talking about, Ruby Rose.
How many different sexualities are there? Heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual and asexual. That must be all of them, right? Wrong.
How many different genders exist? Male, female, trans-male, trans-female, bi-gender, gender binary and agender. Is that all of them? Wrong again.
Theoretically, the list of all the different sexualities and genders in existence is infinite. A person who does not wish to identify with the gender they were assigned at birth can essentially choose any form of gender identity they like. They can choose to be either one or the other traditional sex (male or female), or they could be both, or neither, or both at the same time – whatever they choose. I personally think of gender and sexuality as subjective social constructs, something that, in our day and age, we have the option to explore and define for ourselves.
I think gender and sexual expression is very important and something that we should all be learning more about so that we can better understand and empathise with our fellow man (or woman or both or neither), which is why I love Orange is The New Black.
Not only is the Netflix original series a fantastic sitcom, but it has completely reinvented the typical lineup for the kinds of characters we see on TV. Very rarely do we see popular television programmes showing so many homosexual and bi-sexual characters all at once and, in addition at that, we have also been introduced to a very talented transgender actor, Laverne Cox. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m pretty sure that Cox is the first black transgender actor playing a transgender woman I have ever seen on television. Talk about breaking the mould and doing it with a lot of sass and beauty in the process.
I love that OITNB is doing something that has never been done before by completely revolutionising the traditional blueprint for the average sitcom. By showcasing Laxerne Cox and having her character, Sophia Burset, open up about her backstory and transgender issues, the sitcom is raising vital awareness to the people of America, to us across the pond in the UK and to people all over the world.
As if the show hasn’t already done enough to challenge prejudice, support LGBTQ rights and promote this huge cultural shift in attitudes regarding LGBTQ issues, OITNB have also brought in Ruby Rose, an Australia model, actor, TV presenter, recording artist and DJ who identifies as gender fluid; to play Litchfield prison’s newcomer, Stella Carlin.
Months before season three of OITNB became available on Netflix, I saw a gif set on Tumblr of what appeared to be a woman turning into a man. I didn’t really understand what it was about or who this person was at the time, I just remember thinking, “Well, whichever sex he/she choose to identify as, he/she looks good either way!” That gif set came from an incredible, moving short film called Break Free, written, produced by and starring, you guessed it, Ruby Rose.
“A short film about gender roles, trans, and what it is like to have an identity that deviates from the status quo.”
Now we’ve all fallen in love with Rose. What’s not to love? She is an impossibly gorgeous mix of Angelina Jolie, Justin Bieber and a young Leonardo DiCaprio (think back to him in the 1996 film of Romeo and Juliet) add a very talented actor and creative into the bargain. But Rose isn’t just a pretty face, she also has a hopeful and supportive message to spread about gender fluidity.
Gender fludity was something I hadn’t heard much about before discovering Rose but I assumed, upon hearing the term, that it was defined as someone who chooses not to choose a gender; someone who instead identifies as a mix of both male and female, which is correct to a certain extent. But there’s more to it than that, as Rose eloquently explained in a recent interview with ELLE magazine:
“Gender fluidity is not really feeling like you’re at one end of the spectrum or the other. For the most part, I definitely don’t identify as any gender. I’m not a guy; I don’t really feel like a woman, but obviously I was born one. So, I’m somewhere in the middle, which – in my perfect imagination – is like having the best of both sexes. I have a lot of characteristics that would normally be present in a guy and then less that would be present in a woman. But then sometimes I’ll put on a skirt – like today.”
You can read the full interview on Elle Magazine. We’d highly recommend it!
Changing perceptions and creating a more tolerant, understanding and loving society is something each and every one of us is responsible for. We all have a duty to accept, empathise with and love those who are ‘different’ and raise awareness to help change the attitudes of those who are less tolerant. Supporting homosexuals, bisexuals, transgenders and every other sexuality and gender isn’t a difficult thing to do. It is simply something that decent human beings do.
It’s 2015 and I think it is about time we all let go of prejudices and bigotries and instead learn to accept anyone and everyone, no matter their colour, race, shape, size, religion, sexuality or gender.