There are no gay people in Star Wars, except for the part where there totally are

UPDATE: Bioware has lifted the topic ban and Dahlberg has apologized. And Penny Arcade weighs in.

So, the latest kerfuffle in the saga of gays in Star Wars comes out of Bioware’s forums, where community manager Sean Dahlberg shut down a discussion of possible gay and lesbian relationships in The Old Republic with the phrase:

As I have stated before, these are terms that do not exist in Star Wars.

Thread closed.

Well, as any crazy obsessed EU fan will tell you… He’s half right. In recent years, Star Wars has played host to a single gay couple – Goran Beviin and Medrit Vasur in Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice – but they’re fairly easy to overlook if your eyes glaze over at the very mention of Mandalorians. And the terminology ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’ is never used: One point for Dahlberg. They’re just there, without comment, just like any other couple. (Which is as it should be, IMO.) Though as subtle as it was, the inclusion still proved controversial in the fandom.

Of course, the real issue here: Will this message board mishap continue to get play in the blogs? Will that prompt Lucasfilm to finally up and address the issue of homosexuality in the GFFA? It’s not going to be a fun time for the message board moderators either way.

7 Replies to “There are no gay people in Star Wars, except for the part where there totally are”

  1. I’m with you, they should just be there. I think the backlash you get from shutting it all down would be greater than the complaints you’d receive by addressing it.

    Reminds of an old joke.

    You remember the Jetsons, right? Yes.
    What was the dad’s name? George.
    And the mom? Jane.
    And the dog? Astro.
    And that black guy? There was no black guy on the Jetsons.
    Future looks better already.

    Feel free to nix that, but it’s just to point out how when given free reign, creative people don’t include the entire gamut of humanity, just what they see. They may not be racist, sexist, gayist, agist, but when given a chance to build a world, their view doesn’t include old people, gay people, etc. Which is odd considering how many aliens there are.

  2. Xadrian: That’s true enough. If you don’t address something in a work of fiction then most readers will place their own perceptions on it. If you want to acknowledge gay people but they aren’t explicitly mentioned in what you read, then you assume that they exist but are not mentioned. If you want to assume that there aren’t, well, then you just go ahead on.

    That said, Dahlberg’s response was intensely irresponsible and unprofessional, especially when you consider that he’s a Bioware employee, not a Lucaswhatever one. He also happens to work for a company whose last released product featured the possibility of engaging in a sexually based lesbian relationship (though the lack of a gay counterpart relationship still smacks of possible narrow-mindedness/immaturity on the writers’ part).

    Glad to see that they’ve made a retraction though.

  3. As a an openly gay star wars fanboy, I am frankly kind of offended at the bluntness and vehemence that Dahlberg displayed in his remark. I am used to all manner of derision for being gay, but it bothers me when people act like we don’t exist.

    I mean, even Wedge Antilles, when he finds out that Corran has been offered a chance to train with Luke, feels a twinge of pain that Corran will get to see “a side of Luke” that Wedge will never have access to. While not gay, it definitely alludes to emotions that go beyond camaraderie.

    Also, several times does the word “sod” or “sodding” (references to sodomy) appear in the novel Death Star.

    So, it is clear that while the case of the homosexual Mandolorians may be the first overt case, homosexuality is definitely shown to exist in Star Wars and even seems to bare the same stigmas we apply to it.

  4. Huh… I read Sacrifice and never caught the gay reference.

    I will say, though, that I’m pretty sure Ferus Olin and Roan Lands were in a homosexual relationship. And if we’re keeping score, I think theirs showed up in print first.

  5. From the first minute Obi-Wan looks off in the distance and muses about what a good ‘friend’ Anakin Skywalker was, we have undeniable proof of gay relationships.

  6. Too be somewhat gentle – the original statement seems to simply be about the usage of the terms themselves — you don’t hear terms and debating over the various merits of any particular lifestyle — they are simply what they are. Promoting or antagonizing against is foreign to Star Wars. . .

    The problem really comes in when relationships are read into (saying, “Well, of course Obi-wan and Anakin were gay) or when the possibilities of relationships is villified (think of typical hate speech).

    You don’t use the terms and you don’t have to deal with either of the above groups tweaking the other.

    That being said, you need to explain this much better than “those words don’t exist in Star Wars” — that sounds too much like the concepts those words describe don’t exist.

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