A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far a-gay: Star Wars gets first official LGBT character

I don’t know. My memory is pretty hazy (it has been a very long time since I watched it), but I thought Dax the symbiote chose the gender she/he got implanted in and made offhand comments about what she was going to choose next time. That is firmly in the trans category for me. Certainly genderqueer.

Now, if you’re only interested in sexuality (LGB), then you’re right. I can’t think of any. Roddenberry said he was going to put a gay character in TNG, but he died first.

But it’s still using a sci-fi premise to explain a trans character instead of depicting that as just a normal thing for a human being to be. Better than not including any non-heteronormative characters at all, but not especially progressive for 21st-century T.V.


Well, to be fair, DS9 ended in 1999, so it’s firmly 20th century TV



Fair enough, but I don’t recall Voyager or Enterprise pushing that envelope any further either.

Even I get boarded sometimes.


Trans is a tough one because it would be hard to depict it as a normal thing to be for one rather obvious reason - in the far flung future, one should expect that it would be impossible to tell if someone has changed genders they were born with and that switching genders (or bodies or whatever) is so commonplace that discussing it would only happen when you ran out of interesting things to talk about.

At least you can show same-sex sexuality.

I suppose they could show some of the more creative sexes I assume people might choose (true hermaphroditic for instance).

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I can’t tell if you’re serious or just sort of stirring the waters.

In a film like Star Wars, the sexual preferences of the characters played little to no role. Let’s be honest, in the real world the sexual preference of a person doesn’t matter ~95% of the time. Gay people aren’t any different than anyone else when it comes to mundane things like driving to work, drinking coffee, eating fast food, filing out TPS reports, etc.

In the Star Wars films there was a small amount of romance and nearly no sexuality at all. I’m not sure what your point is with Beru. Like you said, she didn’t really have a large role. If it was uncle Owen and uncle Barrry that raised Luke, what exactly would that have done to make the film different or better? I guess you could say they had gay characters, or maybe they were just room mates, they would probably need extra dialogue or actions to confirm there was a relationship.

Like I said, half of Rogue Squadron could be gay and you wouldn’t know it because they all shoot down TIE Fighters the same way -unless you want to use some campy stereotypical flamboyant dialogue to make the the view aware that this pilot is gay.

“Careful, Red 7, he’s on your tail!”

“Oh no you don’t, not with out dinner and a movie first!”

Now maybe the EU has more romance. I know Leia and Luke both got married, so they must have had some romantic encounters with their partners in the book. But for the most part the whether a character is gay or not has little to no bearing on a story that is mostly an action adventure.

Now if there was more drama, more interpersonal relationships in the story (which the EU probably explores, I don’t read the books), then I could see being gay having relevance on who a character relates to, cares for, and/or pursues. And if that is the case then I say go for it.

But if it is just a character who they slapped a label on, it just seems sort of gratuitous. I could imagine dueling a gay Sith would be like:

“Before I end you, I just wanted to let you know I’m gay.”

“Oh, I had no idea. Ok. How does that… what do I…? Is that why you have been chasing me? I’m flattered but…”

“No, no, I just hate all Jedi and my Master commands it. Nothing like that. I have a boyfriend, he’s quit nice. It doesn’t matter, I just wanted you to know. Unless you hate gay people. In which case use that hatred to strike me down! Feel the true power of the Dark Side!”

“No… no… I lived in the Jedi Temple for 15 years. We weren’t allowed to date or anything. There was A LOT of gay sex going around. A LOT. It turns out Mace isn’t a name, it’s a description.”

I guess what I am saying is having gay characters are great if they are thought out and has relevance to the story. Just slapping a gay character in there because no one has done it before isn’t doing anyone any favors.

Boba was supposed to be a identical clone of Jango. All the troopers went through some modifications that lead to their personalities being altered so they would make better soldiers.


Is that a drag queen joke?

On the contrary, it does gay people the favor of showing they’re considered part of the normal range of human beings. Was it doing anyone any favors to make Lando black? I would really hope we might have moved past that kind of question.

Lando, by the way, is not really involved in any romantic plot but still finds an opportunity to show his gender preferences by making a pass at Leia. It’s not really the huge imposition you describe. Suggesting the universe includes gay people would take all the work of having Wedge kiss someone goodbye in the background on the way to a mission.


The EU has a lot of interpersonal relationship stuff. Quick example (spoiler tagged for anybody who might be interested in reading the books, which are pretty trashy but I found them enjoyable, at least the post-Jedi ones):

Jacen Solo’s turn to the dark side is pretty much entirely the result of family-type drama - first the death of his brother during the Yuuzhan Vong war really messes him up, then he ends up turning to the dark side out of a desire to protect his daughter that he secretly had with the Queen Mother of Hapes - basically turning himself into Palpatine the second through a series of smaller power grabs because he thinks that only he is wise/powerful enough to guide the galaxy in the right direction, or something (this is all coming from half-formed memories of books that I read years ago, so I may be wrong on some of the details)

Ahh… It’s been a long time since I saw the movie - I was under the impression that it was all just conditioning/upbringing that made the clones into bitchin’ soldiers, not some built-in genetic fiddling.

I’m wondering the same about you.

As for me, I grew up in 80’s and 90s Britain, with Section 28 effectively killing any support that my school could give to a bisexual trans kid like me. It was an incredibly isolating time. If I had just one positive example of a trans woman who wasn’t heterosexual and in her 30s (or older) I might not have felt so alone. I didn’t find out about Mermaids until I was nearly 20, and only because some people in television were starting to wake up to the fact that children and teenagers could be trans too.

It could have been worse I suppose. I am grateful for the people who took the flak for the 1994 gay storyline in the childrens/young adults programme Byker Grove, even if I didn’t care for the program itself. However, I was 14 by that point and the damage had already been done.

Back to Star Wars. As @chenille has pointed out having someone like Wedge kiss a male partner, and maybe reassuring them they’ll be OK would be enough. It’s certainly a lot better and more realistic than your example of half of Rogue squadron acting like John Inman.


Well I guess it is now…

I don’t think it’s a cop-out for me to be LGBT for sci-fi reasons!

I think it’s debatable whether or not this does anyone any favors. I wouldn’t be a normal human being even with a formal invite, my own kingdom, or dragged at gunpoint.

Speaking of sci-fi gender representations, I just started this week watching the anime adaptation of Tsutomu Nihei’s “Knights of Sidonia”. It takes place about 1000 years from now, after a diaspora from destroyed Earth, when there aren’t many humans left. One of the ways they addressed sex, gender, and reproduction was to engineer a neutral third gender who could induce themselves to mate with males or females. One of the main characters is such a person.

They also did some other mods such as secret immortality for the hidden rulers, clones with accelerated maturity and learning who are more-or-less adult within five years, and the ability for most people to photosynthesize - with them needing to eat onlt about once per week.

Well that’s the thing, someones race is something you can see - sort of. Well, you can see their color. At the same time was Lando’s race really even important? Not really. You could swap any other color in there and it would still work as a character. But we are talking about a fantasy space opera. He didn’t play a “black character”, but a character who was black.

Unless you want to use stereotypes with some guy dressed flamboyantly or a butched up gal, gay people tend to look more or less like everyone else, especially if they are in uniforms and the like.

Though I do like your suggestion about a kiss good bye or some other element. That adds a sort of human element to it and is an action that sounds very in character. But again, we don’t see the pilots say good buy to loved ones at all. It’s not that sort of story.

IIRC they mention it when Obi-Wan tours the facility on Kaminio. From wiki: “Before the gestation process began, the Kaminoans tampered with Fett’s DNA to ensure that the clones were primarily dominated by behavioral genes that emphasized certain qualities such as loyalty, aggression, independence and discipline in order to guarantee that they would be more docile and less independent than their template”

I don’t know who John Inman is, but my example was intentionally ridiculous. My point is that for something like Star Wars it doesn’t get deep enough into interpersonal relations that much period. We don’t see much of their private lives. Another film, another story would be a better vehicle.

Fine, but then I was plainly talking about many of the gay people out there, not you. You seem to have this thing where you make everything about your experience and ignore all that other people have said about theirs, which offers little insight and lots of smugness. See for instance Elusis here, marilove here, or me back here, among various other comments.

Instead of bemusedly wondering why people keep responding personally when you try to make one topic after another about only your perspective, is there any way I can persuade you to consider what’s been said, and maybe stop? Because it’s really tiresome, and I for one am not interested in any of it.

That’s exactly the point. He didn’t need to be black, but nobody questions it. He didn’t need to be straight, but nobody questions why they slapped in a scene establishing him as such. Having a character happen to be gay is exactly as easy; here’s a fantasy example showing just how little it takes:

Bam, done. It’s no more work than it was to show Lando was attracted to women. It seems like you’re arguing there shouldn’t be any such visible gay characters unless the plot is going to revolve around it, but why is one any more an imposition than the other?


I’m not saying that. Actually I like your sort of “in passing” commentary and actions. I think it is more useful and genuine than some of the stereotypical characters we often see.

At the same time, something like that is so nuanced and sort of superfluous to the whole story that I can see why it is often over looked. Let’s be honest, the gay community is small. If you are writing a story about space ships and blasters, unless you are involved in that niche, you probably aren’t going to think about including it. Not out of malice, it just isn’t what you are focused on. And there is no end to the niche of people you can end up slighting, from leaving out certain races to “ok there are gay characters, but why no transgender or asexual”? etc. You can’t included everything all of the time, but I do understand wanting to make people more aware and inclusive in general.

One other thing I was thinking about the other day, is people tend to write about what they know. So I think this is one reason why minorities of all types are under represented. I think writing a character that is completely foreign to your experiences (race, sexual orientation, sex, etc) can be daunting. You don’t want to make a white washed character, or worse, use some cliched stereotype that ends up being offensive. I think it is also why so many characters are so one dimensional because the creators don’t know how to flesh them out in a genuine way.

You were not only talking about them, you were speaking for a whole category of people. This seems to me to be a gloss, and a type of gloss I encounter here often. When I say what I think about whatever issue, I make plain that I am stating my observations or opinions - and this is done as a form of respect, because I am the only person I can honestly and fairly speak for. In contrast, what people often present to me here is the scenario of telling me that there are “my views” versus “reality”. Speaking for other unnamed people who are not participating in the conversation is what I interpret as “generalization”, and people complain when I say that I think they should take personal responsibility for these. I think it’s especially egregious when people claim to speak for a category which - by their own definitions - they are not included in, and I am.

I do not ignore what other people say about their experiences. But when people lump these together into identified, collective experience, then I think it helps to ask for clarification. Also, not having had similar experiences, or not agreeing with their conclusions in no way makes what I put forth any more special or precious than what they do, and it would really assist communication, I think, if I didn’t need to disclaim this every damn time. And despite the fact that I do, people still jump on my case and call me a pompous know-it-all when I plainly state that something is merely my opinion - and often an opinion which their remarks demonstrate a complete misunderstanding of.

So, whose perspective do you offer? My perspective does not define the topic, it amounts to me offering my perspective to a discussion by a group. The difference is that I ask people what they think instead of telling them. And I go out of my way to speak for myself, instead of just happening to speak for others. You can say what you think of something, I can say what I think of this, and so can any number of others. What is so difficult about doing this in a civilized way, so we each get our say?

When I point out that people are speaking for others, and in their snaky responses they proceed to put words in my mouth as well, might they be seen as further demonstrating this tendency?

Sort of; I was certainly speaking on behalf of others, but then I only feel I can do so because I’ve listened to what many different voices have said on such matters, and without claiming it necessarily speaks for all of them. You on the other hand said it was questionable if it did anyone any favors, so speaking for everyone, and based entirely on yourself and only yourself yet again.

Not listening to anyone else’s experiences is ignoring them in favor of your own, and it is pompous. I guess it’s your prerogative not to listen when one person after another tells you so, and instead make up justifications about how your 'splaining over them is actually polite; but in that case I’d rather not listen to you either, and would ask you to leave me out of it.


It’s great that you listen, but not that you tell me that I don’t. People often accuse me of “not listening”, but falter when I can then recount in near verbatim a good half-hour of what they said. I agree that it tends to beneficial to listen and try to understand. But, pragmatically, there is no reason to believe and internalize what people say. How can we be certain that they are who they seem to be? That we can evaluate their remarks at face value? Or even know that we interpret what they mean to say accurately? I think it works better to not believe or doubt people, but to maintain ambivalence. Strive for evidence, speak of what you know, and let others speak for themselves. It seems to be a respectful and practical methodology for communication, but apparently it really rubs some people the wrong way.

I can see how you might interpret it thusly. But by “anyone” I meant “in any particular instance”. This is positing a narrative which may be experience by any number of specific individuals. While “everyone” frames any remark as a blanket generality. I don’t deny that they meet somewhere in that continuum.

When did you stop beating your mate?

How do you figure that having my only direct experience means that I “favor” it? Again, listening to other people is just that - listening. I could say that your assertion that I don’t listen to people is pompous, because one might suppose it presumptuous to tell another what they hear, interpret, or mean. No, I don’t favor my experiences. I acknowledge my own subjectivity - which I experience directly, as a result of being an organism - and the subjectivity of others - which is probably just as real to them as mine is to me, despite me never having any direct experience or evidence of. Our experiences are separate, because we are distinct organisms who can only model impressions of each others experiences, as we understand them…

There is no explaining “over” anybody. I explain myself, because nobody else experiences what I do. I hope likewise that other people explain themselves. That people can (and IMO should) speak for themselves is in no way pompous, and you have not made clear why you suppose that anybody’s input should matter more or less than anybody else’s. If I had to guess, I’d suppose that you maybe work from a drastically different model of human communication than I do. Is there some kind of memetic transference which occurs, where once a person tells another their experience, and they listen, that the latter now knows what the former knows? Or is it more accurate to say that the latter knows what the former said, and can only guess as to whether their subjective interpretation jives with what was offered?

Sure, being ambivalent when lots of other people tell you about their experience and then trusting yours in its place is great. So for instance, we might have all heard gay people say representation was valuable to them, including the_borderer on this very thread…but how can you trust any of them are reasonable? Better to stick to the one voice you can trust, your own, and let everyone know you aren’t concerned.

That’s not favoring your view over others, ignoring or explaining over them, no sir. It’s speaking for yourself, which just happens to include dismissing anything that isn’t an issue to you, because it’s not good to believe other people about those things.

And of course they should all harken to you, because your experience gives you all sorts of insights into what options other people have, you know, in the midst of not believing what they say about it. To think this would ever come off as 'splaining over them, instead of polite and practical communication! :unamused:

Anyone who says that they're great at communicating but 'people are bad at listening' is confused about how communication works. -Randall Munroe

Again, I would encourage you to listen to what other people have told you about this, and consider that when one after another has similar complaints it might not be them all missing how reasonable you trust you are. If not, though, I’ll say again that I have no interest in such pseudo-solipsism, and I’m done trying with someone who declares they won’t ever believe anyone. Please leave me out in the future.