‘Not Her, Not The Lesbian’: Ruby Rose Opens Up About What She Faced When She Came Out At 12

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After being based in the US forthe past few years, Ruby Rose's return to her home in Australia has come at a very special time. The 36-year-old actor and DJ's trip Down Under coincides with Sydney WorldPride, and as usual, she's dedicated to speaking up on issues impacting the LGTBQIA+ community.
Since coming out at the age of 12 in the 1990s, Rose says that societal perspectives about the community have largely shifted, but many young queer people still face adversity when coming out. Her own experience was challenging, particularly due to narrow-minded views from her parents' friends about what being a lesbian really means.
"I came out at 12 and way before that, I already knew [who I was]," Rose tells Refinery29 Australia.
"I didn't have any shame associated with it until I got to school and realised it was quite lonely and isolating when heterosexual people were getting boyfriends or girlfriends and I was like, 'Oh, there's something different about me'.
"Parents wouldn't let me stay the night at my friends' houses because they were like, 'Not her, not the lesbian'. Then I started to feel shame."
From the lack of social media back then, to the minimal LGBTQIA+ visibility in the media, there were various factors that made being a young lesbian very different at that time.
"The L Word wasn't out yet and Ellen DeGeneres was in the world but she wasn't on our TV yet," says Rose.
Seeking a community where she'd feel a sense of belonging and connection, Rose came across Minus18, an organisation that uplifts and supports LGBTQIA+ young people through events, education and creating safe community spaces.
"All of my friends were sort of supportive, but no one wanted to come with me," she recalls. "So I went by myself and when I got there I realised, 'Oh my god, I've been missing out on the human experience'."
Rose explains that this new experience exposed her to "intimacy as far as friendship, and being seen and actually heard and being able to be myself".
The Orange Is The New Black star's recognition of Minus18 is unwavering, as she appeared as the key ambassador at the Hilton & Minus18 Rainbow Formal last night. The glamorous event, held at Sydney’s Hilton hotel, aimed to raise vital funds and awareness for Minus18’s Queer Formals and inclusive spaces that help LGBTQIA+ youth feel seen and celebrated.
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