In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Sunday I’ll be posting interviews, opinion pieces, listicles, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.) Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.
I didn’t grow up with Star Wars. Let’s clear that up, first and foremost. In fact, I only watched the main trilogy when Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren made an appearance in the new movies. Sorry, not sorry.
And from the very start, I connected with this franchise as a whole. As someone who holds a political science master’s degree, I could see that Star Wars was a political drama through and through. I could also connect with the dynamic, witty, and badass women that make this universe shine. And don’t even get me started on the meaning behind it all grounded in hope, love, and friendship. But even then, there was something missing from Star Wars that made it hard to commit with all parts of my heart.
It took me a while to understand that the missing link to this connection to Star Wars had to do with the lack of LGBTQ characters in the stories being told.
In my mind, this franchise’s message of inclusivity and representation, was only representing parts of me as a Latina and as a woman. And in no way were they representing the parts of me that were queer and that I’m proud of. Or at least they weren’t in the shows that I was watching, the characters I was falling in love with, and the storylines I was investing parts of myself into and that I know other newbies are doing the same thing as well every day.
Again, this is coming from the perspective of a casual fan who didn’t grow up with this universe and who has found herself firmly entrenched and enjoying the movies or series like The Mandalorian or Obi-Wan Kenobi. So this isn’t meant to come off as a hit piece or something trashing Disney or Lucasfilm. This is gently prodding and opening up a space to get people thinking, talking, or wondering why one of the biggest properties in the world doesn’t have openly LGBTQ characters in its films and TV shows. Because if you’re going to represent all communities, that includes queer communities as well. And if you love something, you should be able to ask for more.
I’d like to note that in writing this up, I have become aware of pockets of the Star Wars universe that do contain queer characters. There’s Delian Mors in Paul S. Kemp’s 2015 novel Lords of the Sith and Sinjir Rath Velus in Chuck Wendig’s Star Wars: Aftermath. And then there’s Doctor Chelli Aphra, Terec and Ceret, and Grand Admiral Rae Sloane. All are valid, have stunning art (and kisses) that have moved the needle forward, and seem to have won over fans with their storylines. But I want more. I need more. And if we’re going to properly represent everyone, we need studios in general to step it up.
By giving us confirmed LGBTQ characters in the movies and TV shows.
And I’m not talking about side characters either that disappear after 5 seconds. I’m talking about fully-fledged characters who contribute to the story and move things along because of it. I’m talking LGBTQ Jedi’s who go on a grand adventure, fall in love with the stormtrooper that deprogrammed somehow and who saved them, for them to only cross paths over and over. Oh, wait, now I’m just thinking of Finn/Poe aka the missed opportunity of this franchise that would’ve blown Star Wars wide open and won the hearts of LGBTQ fans all over anyway.
There are LGBTQ Star Wars fans and they deserve to see themselves fully represented in the universe that they have dedicated years to without hesitation. Yes, I’m grateful for seeing the Latinx sides of me being represented by Pedro Pascal and Diego Luna. And yes, I’m grateful for Carrie Fisher, Rosario Dawson, and Daisy Ridley for standing strong and tall when it came to telling the stories of their characters. But the LGBTQ piece of me, that guides me every day, deserves that love as well and I think it’s about time those in charge of such wonderful stories step it up and give us more than LGBTQ characters in only comics and books.
With the way that things are shifting, growing, and moving when it comes to representation on our screens when it comes to anything Disney or Lucasfilm, I’m grateful and ready for the next step in making sure all those who watch these shows feel seen, loved, and accepted by a force that has changed their lives (and even mine) in small but significant ways that stay with you long after you turn off the screen.
Queerly Not Straight posts every Sunday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)