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June 05, 2019 at 02:00 PM EDT
Carter Smith for EW

After being cast as the title character on The CW’s upcoming Arrovwverse series Batwoman, the first TV series to be headlined by an LBGTQ superhero, Ruby Rose was surprised to receive backlash for saying she identifies as lesbian.

In Entertainment Weekly‘s 2019 LGBTQ special issue, Rose opens up about her gender identity and how she’s learned and grown from her recent experiences.

Here is part of her story:

“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. 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.

Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images; Jack Rowand/The CW

“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.”

Celebrate 50 years of gay pride with Entertainment Weekly’s special LGBTQ double issue, on stands Friday. You can buy all six covers now, or purchase your individual favorites featuring Anderson Cooper, Wilson Cruz, Melissa Etheridge, Neil Patrick Harris, Janet Mock, and Ruby Rose. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW. And if you want to get involved in LGBTQ causes, donate to The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative, a non-profit that seeks to eliminate the social intolerance affecting members of the LGBTQ community.

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