OPINION: Star Wars Will Include Gay Characters: Who Cares?

As I write this on the day I call “my” Super Bowl (Academy Awards day), during a year when the event has been called “Oscars So White,” I ponder another recent headline: “Star Wars Will Include Gay Characters.”  When will the color of someone’s skin or the gender of the person to whom someone is attracted stop being news?  Does anyone really care, or are these campaigns by the media to target those who hate, simply so they’ll create a reaction?

Don’t get me wrong, when someone like J.J. Abrams states, as he did earlier this week at the Oscar Wilde Awards, “To me, the fun of Star Wars is the glory of possibility. So it seems insanely narrow-minded and counterintuitive to say that there wouldn’t be a homosexual character in that world,” it helps nudge forward the acceptance of gays among a giant audience.  On the other hand, I personally find the speech somewhat offensive.

Abrams isn’t speaking to me when he says this.  It’s not that he’s telling me something I already know… I mean, come on, it’s a huge galaxy, far far away… the races and sexual combinations could be endless.  Instead, it’s that I simply don’t care.  In the battle between good and evil, the Rebellion and the Empire… when the focus is on saving planets and destroying Death Stars, does anyone really care who’s sleeping with whom?

To be honest, I’ve avoided reading much about “Oscars So White” because it infuriates me.  I assume, though, that it’s largely a matter of inclusiveness; minorities don’t feel like they’re being represented equally or fairly.  I can’t relate to that.  I can, however, relate to the inclusiveness of gays and I can tell you that I’ve never been bothered by whether or not my sexual orientation is represented in the Star Wars movies.  That’s not what they’re about.

This sounds trite, but we all really are just people.  Strip us of our skins and put us on a starship where we couldn’t see our physical differences or what happens behind closed blast doors.  Would there be an issue?  When will we join forces instead of fighting each other… when will we realize we have in common greater enemies than ourselves?  When headlines about race and orientation stop being news, it will give us all a new hope.

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