Return Of The Gaysaber


Read a great Book Riot article by Alex Acks (author of the book, Hunger Makes The Wolf) about LGBT inclusion in Star Wars (or the failure to include LGBT in the cinematic universe of Star Wars), and it drummed up some responses from Yours Truly, which I’ve Storified below for you delight or your discarding. You don’t need to read my piffle, but do try to read the post at BookRiot. Kay? Kay. *ignites rainbow lightsaber, vwommzz*

8 responses to “Return Of The Gaysaber”

  1. As an LGBT writer who is actively working on fantasy stories that have LGBT heroes, Chuck, your twitter words are perfectly spoken… err, tweeted. Thank you, sir!

  2. I agree. Nobody has to justify characters being “straight”. I write LGBT science fiction and fantasy. There is no gay superpower that any character has that moves the plot forward. It seems that it matters less whether or not it’s a good story than making sure it stays bracketed in it’s “proper” (LGBT) genre.

    Not sure why we need such a level of genre granularity. Why not genres based on hair-color or shaving habits? Maybe some of us red-heads can’t handle brunet mutton-chops with our fiction–unless it’s central to the plot.

  3. I have a question regarding the topic of plot and inclusion. I hope not to offend anyone here and this question may seem ignorant.

    I was thinking that if the story doesn’t have sex involved in plot or theme (and maybe that is impossible) then to include sexual identity (whichever that may be, gay, straight, bi, etc.) would seem out of place, not tied to the story or have little to no significance to the story.

    For instance, in a story like LoTR I don’t see sex as a major theme or plot point. My thought is that it is up to the reader to determine details of a character and they often project their preference (gay, bi, etc.) where they aren’t described by the author. So to continue on my LoTR who is to say that Frodo and Sam aren’t sexually active, they obviously love each other whether that manifests physically or not, so the reader gets to decide in that case if they want or need to know.

    The reason I bring this up is that I have read that all things included in a story have to serve the story. So if the topic of sexuality isn’t explored in the story then is it wrong not to include sexual orientation? If we include sexual orientation (in a socially acceptable way or not, i.e. I am a straight white dude and I think all of my WWI story characters would have to be straight – a socially unacceptable choice) aren’t we then creating a message piece (good or bad) instead of a story?

    I do believe that inclusion is a quality of love. And when I say love i mean love of your fellow human. That is important for us to do so we can better employ empathy and understanding on a broader scale than individual understanding.

    I hope I didn’t insult anyone by asking my question.

    Chuck and others thank you for any additional thoughts on this topic.

    • Nicely put question, Ken. My feeling is that because the cultural default is, overwhelmingly, M + F = possible sexytimes, any time there is a M/F couple onscreen the questions subliminally arise: will they or won’t they? Are they attracted? Are they going to be a couple?

      Whereas when there is a M/M or F/F couple onscreen, the question only arises to those of us who are closely related to M/M or F/F couples, because we might think “will they or won’t they, are they or aren’t they, boy I wish they would just kiss and get it over with.”

      Everybody who prefers not to think of M/M or F/F as legitimate pairings has a default understanding of the characters’ relationship as strictly platonic, businesslike, no possible romantic or sexual interest here, nope, nothing to see, next action scene please.

      Part of the big WHOA about “Empire Strikes Back” was the revelation that Leia was Luke’s sister. Because in “New Hope” he was totally and obviously crushing on her, and the storyline supported an assumption that there was a romantic possibility there.

      Now, we have the assumption that there is a romantic possibility between Finn and Rey, ONLY because one is M and one is F.

      • Chacha1,

        First of all that is a great handle. Do you know anyone named Rico? Sorry but I couldn’t stop myself from referencing Barry Manalow. But I digress…

        Excellent reply, explanation and examples to relevant points. The thought you shared was not one I had considered (the older I get the more I realize how little I know). I can see now how the “default” mindset projects these relationship dynamics for most people who have been consuming visual stories (movies and TV). I agree it is time to eliminate “default” settings for how we view characters and thus people in the real world.

        Sometimes I wish our culture didn’t have such a “moth to flame” allure with physical attraction/carnality and that we spent more time fanning the flames of intellectual or spiritual attraction in our lives and stories. Hopefully that is where we are headed, where we base our affections on the actions and character of the person rather than external appearance. Anywho I am digressing again .

        You have improved my perspective and knowledge on the subject and for that I offer a hearty thank you.


  4. […] The second one is trickier. Giant robots call for some kind of plot-related justification (such as Minovsky particles or A.T. fields). Sapphic romance does not and never should require plot-related justification—for further reading on the subject, hit up Chuck Wendig (may I someday have a writer-beard so majestic) for his blog post “Return of the Gaysaber”. […]

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