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Orange Is the New Black’s Ruby Rose Explains Gender Fluidity

Also, Ninja Turtle tattoos.


It was early on in Orange Is the New Black when Piper had to patiently explain that someone’s sexuality isn’t a black (orange?) and white concept, but that everyone falls somewhere on a scale—but that’s only part of the story. Gender is also a range rather than a binary, and for gender fluid people like OITNB season 3’s new cast member, Ruby Rose, their location on that scale changes continuously.

The show is already, in general, pretty great with LGBTQ representation, but Rose’s character, Stella, is so far the only outright gender fluid resident of Litchfield, as she told Elle in an interview. The Australian model/DJ/actress/all around excellent human said,

She’s not the only androgynous girl on the show, but she’s the only person who really identifies publicly as being “gender fluid.” People are talking about gender fluidity more and more now because once someone opens a door to something like that, people put their hands up and say, “That’s me! That’ s my friend! That’s my sister! That’s my mom!

But despite how many people recognize themselves or loved ones in the conversation, gender fluidity can still be a tough concept. To help clear things up, Rose described it as

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.

and not having to succumb to whatever society—whether it’s work or family or friends or whoever—makes you feel like you’re supposed to be because of how you were born.

Yet society still has a long way to go in making room for people who don’t fit into its pre-approved boxes. Rose continued,

There’s a line in OITNB where Stella is making fun of Piper, saying like “Ugh. Women—can’t live with them, can’t live without them.” Piper’s like, “What? You don’t consider yourself to be a woman?” Stella says, “I do, but that’s only because my options are limited.”

And thus even Piper had her preconceived notions challenged (sadly probably her largest character growth of the series so far). Oh, and in case you didn’t love Rose enough already, those tattoos she’s sporting are indeed real—including the Ninja Turtle one:

Growing up, I had a very vivid imagination and Leonardo was like my best imaginary friend that I spoke to. When things were tough, or I was scared in an unsafe environment, I always imagined that the Ninja Turtles would come to the rescue.

So come on, everyone. Let’s help everyone to understand that life’s better with a few more colors added to that outdated black and white scale.


(via Elle)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.