Every year The CW does a massive crossover event between its superhero shows The Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl. This year’s three-night event, which kicks off on Dec. 9, not only brings together the casts of all three shows, but brings back guest star Tyler Hoechlin in the role of Superman, introduces Elizabeth Tulloch as Lois Lane, and features Ruby Rose in the role of Batwoman, the intention for which is to give her a show of her own at some point.
When the casting was announced by executive producer Greg Berlanti back in August, Ruby took to Instagram and wrote, “I’m thrilled and honored, and I’m also an emotional wreck, because this is a childhood dream. This is something I would have died to have seen on TV when I was a young member of the LGBT community who never felt represented on TV and felt alone and different.”
And that is not a small point to make: Ruby is playing the first gay superhero on television, which is something taken right from the pages of DC Comics. Ironically, the character was created in 1956 because of a brewing controversy at the time that Batman and Robin had, in the minds of some, a homosexual relationship. Batwoman was supposed to be a love interest that would prove otherwise.
The character’s last appearance was in 1964, until she was reintroduced in 2006 as Kate Kane, a wealthy heiress who becomes inspired by Batman to use her wealth, her resources and, most importantly, herself to fight crime in Gotham City. Additionally, as a part of DC’s attempt to provide diversity in its stories, she was given a Jewish heritage and is a lesbian. Notes Wikipedia, “Described as the highest-profile gay superhero to appear in stories published by DC, Batwoman’s sexual orientation drew wide media attention following her reintroduction, as well as both praise and criticism from the general public.”
It’s been 12 years since that reintroduction, but it doesn’t mean that Ruby, whose credits include the series Orange Is the New Black and this past summer’s The Meg, hasn’t felt the same sort of criticism herself. The fan community — as is its wont — really attacked her for not actually being Jewish or a lesbian. Uh, wrong on at least one of those accounts. Annoyed and hurt by the response, she ultimately shut down her Twitter account, but had some choice words for her detractors before doing so.
“Where on earth did ‘Ruby is not a lesbian therefore she can’t be Batwoman’ come from — has to be the funniest, most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read,” she responded. “I came out at 12. And have for the past five years had to deal with ‘she’s too gay’ — how do y’all flip it like that? I didn’t change. I wish we would all support each other and our journeys. When women and when minorities join forces, we are unstoppable… when we tear each other down, it’s much more hurtful than from any group. But hey, love a challenge I just wish women and the LGBT community supported each other more.”
You may look to the sky and see the Batsignal, but if you really listen, you should be hearing the sound of a mic drop right about now.