The CW announced some pretty exciting news earlier this week, revealing that actress Ruby Rose will be portraying Batwoman on The CW, making her debut during the annual crossover event with her own standalone series to follow. But while the CW-verse adds new and exciting characters all the time, this particular marriage of casting and character is special. The Batwoman that will lead her own series will be openly gay, and The CW was determined to cast an openly gay actress for the role. This is a pretty huge step for representation, and kudos to The CW for going the extra mile here.
To understand just how big of a deal this is for those in the LGBTQ community, one need look no further than Rose’s appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night, where she got emotional discussing her casting. As someone who came out at the age of 12 and has been an advocate for LGBTQ rights, Rose points out that growing up, she didn’t see herself in any of the characters on television:
“I feel like the reason I keep getting so emotional is because growing up watching TV, I never saw somebody on TV that I could identify with, let alone a superhero.”
Indeed, we take for granted that the vast majority of characters in media are heterosexual white people, so to bring a proud LGBTQ character to the screen with someone as iconic as Batwoman is a huge deal. If your argument against news like this is, “But why does she have to be gay? Why make a big deal about it?,” you’re missing the point. It not only shakes up the CW-verse by adding a refreshingly new kind of character, but could also serve as a potentially groundbreaking touchstone for young people who don’t see themselves represented in their favorite TV shows.
This is the kind of casting move that transcends comic fidelity or simple pop culture interest, and it’s touching to see how seriously Rose takes the gig. Watch her appearance on Fallon below. She’ll make her Batwoman debut on Arrow this fall.