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

Your replies would be more informative if telling me “your opinion” didn’t rely upon you telling me mine. I said it’s not prudent to believe anything, not that I am any exception. It is more crucial and difficult to avoid believing or doubting myself.

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

That, or maybe they are faced with the task of trying to communicate with people who presume to know what others think.

I have asked quite a few questions, and you haven’t answered any of them. Meanwhile, instead of asking me any questions, you tell me what I am doing. Is this communication by your estimation?

Having only but one subjectivity isn’t solipsism, or anything like it. There are countless individuals, but I am only one of them, whether we like it or not. It’s great that you feel justified in speaking for other people, but I don’t agree that this is justified. Also, I can say so without making a personal affront of it. I think of communication in discussions such as this to be exercises in “comparative reality”, and take a rather dim view of people being compelled towards persuasion by those who profess to equitable good-faith exchanges of ideas.

Also, FWIW I think it’s tedious how people make pronouncements about me in the middle of topics, but then bow out and don’t want to be bothered with any of my attempts to clarify my stance. If people say things about me which I think indicate drastic misunderstanding, I shouldn’t say anything? People who dislike me or what I say could always PM me to say this, yet for some reason they don’t mind adding it to the topic at hand. Then they complain that I am OT to respond. FFS if you don’t want to discuss it, don’t go there in the first place. Otherwise you are merely making an awkward scene.

You… have no idea what gay people’s lives are like do you? This is the same thinking that leads to people saying “why do they have to parade their sexuality around in public? I don’t mind it as long as they don’t flaunt it,” etc.

Obviously not, if you’re still using the term “sexual preference.”

Please, do yourself a favor and either enter the 21st century, or do hush up and sit down. Your lack of self- and other-awareness is just embarrassing.

Guess what? It’s really not debatable.

The more acceptance queer youth have from their families, the less likely they are to use drugs, drop out of school, have risky sex, and attempt suicide.

What’s the #1 factor associated with more positive views of gays and lesbians? Knowing a gay or lesbian person. Even if you don’t know someone personally, the more gay and lesbian people you can name, the more positive your attitudes are. Exposure to gay people as just “part of the background” normalizes being gay. In other words: Yes, when the religious right said “showing gay people on TV is going to make kids think being gay is OK,” they were RIGHT. And it was true not just of the kids, but of the adults.

Representation matters. It changes the perspectives of the adults, and it helps even gay people overcome their own homophobia, and it lays important groundwork for more supportive family relationships which directly impacts the well-being of GLBT youth.

Stop talking out of your ass.


Right? It’s the ultimate in solipsism. “How can anyone really know anything, really?” “All ideas are constructed, therefore nothing is real.” “Prove to me that you even exist - you can’t can you?” “You think that’s your experience, but you might not realize how deluded you are.”

The perfect excuse for JAQ’ing off.

Sure, because your value judgements aren’t yours - they’re real. I think it is debatable on the basis that people don’t seem to agree what “normal” is, and that even if we did somehow agree what comprises a “normal range of human beings”, I am not convinced that belonging to this category would be of any benefit. Are normal people healthy, happy, smart, creative? To some extent, but not so much that I’d recommend theirs as a way of life.

Sounds like a mixed bag. I advocate use of (some) drugs, and dropping out of school. The last two - not so much. Also, acceptance cuts both ways. When you say that acceptance of a group is more significant than their acceptance of others, you are marginalizing them.

Maybe it’s just me. I think normative processes are generally not beneficial. It causes people to become too similar to each other in how they live. Rather than joining some dysfunction concept of a “mainstream” I’d rather just fragment it into millions of possible ways to live. Including whatever kinds of sex or gender people choose. Nobody else has to like it. Coercive jerks can go pound sand for all the good it does them.

It sounds better when you put it like this. The ability to change perspective I think is always beneficial. Problems of fear and acceptance take care of themselves once people are able to choose how they live without interference.

I guess you will have to color me confused. What exactly are you talking about? I thought gay people were just like everyone else?

I sit across from a guy all day long and the fact he is gay has like zero relevance to anything he does all day. It is a complete non-issue in this office.

If you’re talking about some having to put up with abuse, discrimination, etc, ok. Fair point. But even with the bullshit they have to put up with, their actual day to day interactions for most people aren’t any different than anyone elses. And even those differences aren’t THEIR actions as much as peoples’ actions towards them.

And you’re reading too much into my use of the term “sexual preference”. Would “sexual orientation” be better for you?

Perhaps it would be!

…if I had said any of those things. It’s embarrassingly easy to categorize people when you choose their words and meanings for them.

Not to speak for others (ahem) but I think you’re sort of talking past each other and not really arguing about the same thing. Your point there is valid. For 95% (or whatever) of the characters in something like Star Wars, any romantic or sexual stuff is totally irrelevant and would feel shoehorned in if included gratuitously.

And yet… heteronormative relationships are part of the story, and not just superfluously. In both cases that have been discussed (Beru/Owen and Lando) you definitely could have made them gay, but like I said the hetero stuff was not superfluous and changing it would have consequences. Owen & Beru evoke Luke’s lonely family life and so on (family being a key theme later). Lando making a pass at Leia says a lot about his character, but more importantly it speaks to his relationship with Han too, and colors both of their pasts in a very quick and simple way.

As an aside, I don’t see how anything in the movies negates the possibility of Han and Lando both being gay (or bi) and being ex-lovers and trying to hide it. For one thing, both are unusually overt in expressing interest in women, for the star wars universe anyway. I’m sure this topic is very well covered in fan fiction.

Anyway, so then the argument against your idea is at least in part that it’s not good enough that 95% of the time it doesn’t matter to the story. There should be active effort to include this type of representation. If there’s going to be romance and sexuality as even a small part of the plot (or even just in the background), it should not be all hetero, regardless of the proportions of people in society because this type of representation matters more to underrepresented groups.

It’s not always going to be possible. I don’t know that Lando would have really worked as a gay character because I do think the hints of his past relationship with Han are important. It suggests that they were competitive with everything in the past, including women, which confirms that Han Solo is/was a true scoundrel and didn’t really respect women (and isn’t just putting on a tough guy act throughout the first film, although he is doing that). It’s important to his character arc because fighting for a cause other than his pocketbook and falling in love with Leia change him in significant ways and he becomes a better person.

Owen/Beru could have worked as a gay couple. There’s no reason a gay couple with an adopted kid shouldn’t also immediately evoke a family feeling (which I said was important to the story), and part of the reason why it wouldn’t for many people is because it’s so rarely represented in media. But then there is still the problem that they don’t actually do anything romantic in the movie. Connecting with your point, the family feeling is evoked with literally zero effort, because everyone who sees a man and woman living together with a kid understands the relationship. You can’t avoid that having them be two guys would mean adding signs that they’re romantically involved to get the same effect that is achieved effortlessly with a hetero couple, and then it would feel superfluous and shoehorned.

Above all, the point stands that there should be outsized LGBT (and other minority) representation. Better writers than I can definitely figure out how to work it in seamlessly, circumventing the centuries of hetero-as-default, and we will very quickly reach a point where it all seems normal to everyone. At that point we could have a gay Owen/Beru without it feeling shoehorned. We’re not there yet though.


I think all your points are good. There are sort of two issues, one is “including more gay characters” and two, “how people react to them”. I think today we could have had Owen and Barry and no one would care. In 1977 that may not have gone over so well. I guess that is society slowly progressing.

I have been struggling with how to articulate my point and it can be illustrated in the new episodes of the Walking Dead. I don’t know how do that spoiler thing, so if you aren’t caught up, either stop reading or be prepared for a minor spoiler…

When the new guy found the group (sorry, I don’t know his name. I have given up learning anyone’s name on the show because I don’t want to get attached when they kill them off.) you had no idea he was gay. Because gay people for the most part act and are just like everyone else, unless you want to go with a stereotype.

Lucas was criticized in the past for Star Wars not being very diverse. So in RotJ he sprinkled in a much more diverse group of pilots. While not exactly doing a great job, you could at least see an effort was made. You can’t just sprinkle in a gay character in the back ground, you have to add something that says, “Oh hey, this character is gay.” chenille gave some good examples of how that can me accomplished. So I guess it is something to work on.

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Something interesting about Star Wars is that to me it has a feeling of being more diverse than many movies, partly because of how there are a bunch of aliens and nobody thinks twice about them (which isn’t a substitute for diversity among the human characters obviously).

I had not thought about it and I didn’t know there was an effort to make ROTJ more diverse but it worked - in particular there is an assortment of pilots in the battle of endor and despite them kind of just being there for the sake of being there for the most part, they do not feel like tokens, as it often feels like these days when there’s a token Asian and Black character.

Now as to what you’re saying about gay characters being near impossible to insert, I think you’re totally right. So the challenge is to find other ways to do it. Have a scene like Lando coming on to Leia, except have her reveal she’s not into guys (or better maybe, switch the genders in that situation). This is something you see occasionally and it doesn’t make any difference to most of the rest of the plot but it does make the character more interesting, often, for the kinds of reasons that I expanded upon talking about what Lando tells us about Han Solo.

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