Saturday, September 12, 2015

Thoughts on the Gay Star Wars Character

In the new novel Star Wars: Aftermath, author Chuck Wendig introduce the first in-canon gay Star Wars character.

Sinjir Rath Velus is a member of the Rebel Alliance who tells a woman who is hitting on him in a bar that he is gay.  Apparently, that is the only time that it ever comes in the story.

Here are some of my thoughts, for whatever they are worth.

1.  Since having a homosexual orientation is not a sin, then there absolutely nothing wrong with the introduction of this character.  It reminds me of the hubbub over JK Rowling outing Dumbledore as gay.  The fact that he was homosexual does not directly relate to the plot.  And even if it did, there is nothing immoral about having a hero who has a homosexual orientation.  As Catholics, we must remember that we must live what we believe in this regard.  And if we are serious about our belief that someone with a homosexual orientation can be in full communion with saintliness, then we must be open to that when we encounter it.  Back in the days when I used to write comic books (not professionally, more a fanciful whim), I knew that one of my main characters was gay.  It never came up and I wasn't sure if I was ever going to bring it up in the comic.  But simply because he was attracted to people of the same sex, I did not assume his lack of virtue.

2.  The character is introduced in the novels, not the movies.  The issue of human sexuality is a very complex one.  I can understand parents wanting to help their child come to understand the nature and morality of our sexuality.  If this character was introduced in the upcoming movies, which are essentially children's movies, I could better understand some cause for concern.  Again, it is not that having a homosexual orientation is morally wrong.  But to introduce the moral complexity of orientation and action and things of that nature may be a bit much for a small child to handle.  In the same way parents are concerned with the depiction of violence.  Some children may not be able to process it very well.  Or take a look at Anakin and Padme from the prequels.  If Padme had gotten pregnant outside of marriage, that would be a very difficult thing for me to deal with because it raises a mature moral problem that is inappropriate to Star Wars films.  But Velus is introduced in the novel, which is something that is not likely to be encountered by small children.

3.  The author is a bully.  Wendig is completely closed-minded and filled with anger.  He lashed out at critics of the introduction of Velus with an explitive-filled rant, and he called them members of the Empire (a horrible insult to Star Wars geeks).  When asked about the harshness of his tone, he said “Because on this, I am not interested in conversation… If your problem with the book is only the inclusion of gay characters, then no conversation is possible. Because that’s homophobia, that’s bigotry, and there’s nothing to be done or said. Someone wants to talk to me about the writing style or whatever, sure, I can have that discussion. On this, no.” .  This goes back to something I have noted about the anti-bully bullies.  They feel completely justified in labeling their opponents as monsters and so feel no qualms about dismissing them and insulting them.  He cannot even address the possibility of even some small concern of the introduction of the topic of human sexuality into an essentially children's franchise.  As I stated above, I actually agree with him in that there is nothing wrong per se about a having a homosexual character.  But marginalizes and demonizes those with whom he disagrees.

Those are my initial reactions.


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