"I'm just equal." That's what Miley Cyrus told Time in June of how she regards her gender. "[My gender] has nothing to do with any parts of me or how I dress or how I look. It's literally just how I feel." Just a couple months before, another young celebrity, Jaden Smith, challenged gender norms when he began to publicly wear skirts and dresses.
But despite the recent widespread attention these two young stars have received for these actions, they're hardly the first celebrities to bring attention to gender fluidity: In fact, Ruby Rose is a longstanding advocate for gender-fluid awareness, way before stealing the nation's heart on Orange Is the New Black. But now, in a new Access Hollywood interview, the Australian star reveals how she once considered undergoing gender transition surgery to appear male, rather than accept fluidity.
Her journey: Rose told Access Hollywood she got the idea when she first saw a "daytime documentary" or similar program at age 5. That's when she began saving money for surgery.
"I had this jar that I would collect dollars — in fact, we were so poor, it would have been cents, so I probably had 19 cents to go to this surgery that I really didn't know a lot about," she said in the interview. Her identity, however, continued to evolve as she grew older: Rose came out at 12 (she is currently engaged to designer Phobe Dahl) and at 15 she began to experiment with a gender-fluid identity, shaving her head and changing the way she dressed and talked.
Rose eventually realized, she told Access Hollywood, "I didn't want to transition, I just wanted to be more comfortable in my own skin." (She also continues to prefer feminine pronouns.)
She has hardly shied away from publicly representing this identity ever since. The actress created a short film titled "Break Free" last July, which she described as being "about gender roles, trans and what it is like to have an identity that deviates from the status quo." The film, she told the Guardian at the time, was autobiographical and drew on experiences she had with bullying and even feeling endangered by others based on her identity.
But Rose hardly stopped there, and has continued to openly speak about her personal identity since.
"For the most part, I definitely don't identify as any gender," she told Elle in June. "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."
It seems that Rose is not only embodying the change she wants to see in the world, but actively fighting for it by serving as a public role model to many. As she told Elle, "Only you know who you were born to be, and you need to be free to be that person."