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Coming Out In A Galaxy Far Far Away: Star Wars Gets Its First LGBT Character

Star Wars is getting its first official LGBT character. Her name is Moff Delian Mors, and she's a character in Paul S. Kemp's upcoming Star Wars: Lords of the Sith novel. Penguin Random House describes Mors as

The novel is scheduled for release on April 28th.

In the Full of Sith podcast, editor Shelly Shapiro said "It's not something I really think about, it just makes sense. There should be diversity in Star Wars. You have all these different species and it would be silly to not also recognize that there's a lot of diversity in humans. If there's any message at all, it's simply that Star Wars is as diverse (or more so because they have alien species) as humanity is in real life and we don't want to pretend it's not. It just felt perfectly natural."

Star Wars has alluded to other characters being gay in the past, although not officially. For example, Goran Beviin and Medrit Vasur were two male Mandalorians who married each other in Karen Traviss' Legacy of the Force, another of the novels in the Star Wars Universe.

But Star Wars has been called out on its lack of diversity and female characters in the past. The first movie, A New Hope, was mostly white guys and aliens. There have been efforts to change that and among other things, fans have J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII to look forward to, which will feature Lupita Nyong'o. That film comes out in December of this year.

Nyong'o's casting set off a discussion about how sci-fi handles race. In an op-ed in The Atlantic, Noah Berlatsky wrote, "Why does that matter? Sci-fi is at least in part a drea m of a different world and a different future. When that future unthinkingly reproduces current inequities, it seems like both a missed opportunity and a failure of imagination."

It's a debate that has extended to the gaming world. BioWare's Knights of the Old Republic 2003 role playing video game allowed same-sex relationships between players and their AI companions. But the game sparked controversy when on its official forums, BioWare censored the words "homosexual", "lesbian" and "gay", and mediators shut down topics discussing same-sex relationships, saying "these are terms that do not exist in Star Wars". Bioware reps later issued an apology, and in 2013, Rise of the Hutt Cartel introduced Makeb, a gay planet where players could have same-sex relationships. But that also drew criticism for putting all LGBT folks on a separate planet.

David Gaider is a lead writer for another BioWare role-playing game called Dragon Age. In an opinion piece entitled "A Character Like Me" Gaider, who himself is gay, pondered the importance of having gay characters in role-playing games. "We make role-playing games, which means that the character you play doesn't have to be yourself, but I believe there's an element where having a game acknowledge that you exist can be validating in a way most people never consider — no doubt because they have no need for validation, and thus no knowledge as to what the lack of it can do to someone."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jasmine Garsd
Jasmine Garsd is an Argentine-American journalist living in New York. She is currently NPR's Criminal Justice correspondent and the host of The Last Cup. She started her career as the co-host of Alt.Latino, an NPR show about Latin music. Throughout her reporting career she's focused extensively on women's issues and immigrant communities in America. She's currently writing a book of stories about women she's met throughout her travels.