This is the 28th post in a daily series. Read about it here and see the list of previous posts here. A new post about “Star Wars” will be posted every day for 40 days leading up to the franchise’s 40th birthday on May 25th.
Around the time that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” came out, Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace posted a picture of herself holding a guitar while wearing a Kylo Ren mask.
Her fans loved it, as did whoever runs the official “Star Wars” account on Twitter:
The hashtag “#TrueTransForceRebel” was a clever reference to “True Trans Soul Rebel,” a track from Against Me!’s 2014 album, “Transgender Dysphoria Blues.”
Within a few days, fans had already created a petition to have Grace featured in Episode VIII. By that point, it had already garnered almost 6,000 signatures.
The idea of Grace appearing in a “Star Wars” film isn’t out of the realm of the possibility. Matt Johnson of The The appeared in “The Force Awakens,” as did Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich.
It would be huge for Against Me! fans, but would be huge for Grace as well. She has been a huge “Star Wars” fan ever since childhood. In an appearance on “The Star Wars Show,” she explained that she had collected several of the toys as a kid.
And later, she even got a “Star Wars”-related tattoo.
She also appeared on the podcast “90s Percentile” to talk about her love of “Star Wars.”
But beyond Grace and her fans, the inclusion of Grace in a “Star Wars” movie would have bigger ramifications. As a transgender singer and activist, Grace has given visibility to the trans community. Featuring a trans person in the movie could only bolster that visibility.
There’s reason to think this could happen. J.J. Abrams has already hinted he’s expecting future “Star Wars” movies to have gay characters. At the US-Ireland Alliance’s Oscar Wilde Awards in 2016, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams said “Star Wars” movies would be diverse in their representations of characters, saying:
When I talk about inclusivity it’s not excluding gay characters. It’s about inclusivity. So of course.
…To me, the fun of Star Wars is the glory of possibility. So it seems insanely narrow-minded and counterintuitive to say that there wouldn’t be a homosexual character in that world.
If he’s open to gay characters, one would expect he’d be open to other characters who fit under the LGBTQ umbrella, especially those who are trans.
In an article for Fast Company, Dan Solomon explained why it should be a no-brainer to include Grace:
Our mundane world has plenty of transgender people in it, so in a universe of Wookies, Bothans, Droids and Hutts, there’s no reason not to believe that a trans woman couldn’t be flying around as a badass bounty hunter or Force-attuned rogue, for example.
In previous posts, I mentioned how fans had been clamoring for LGBTQ representation in “Star Wars,” with at least one fan ascribing gay traits to C-3PO and R2-D2. This shows us two things. First, “Star Wars” fans really want diversity, which includes wanting LGBTQ characters. Second, “Star Wars” has been really void of that kind of representation if we have had to look to non-sexual robots to show diversity in orientations.
The new trilogy that began with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has already helped the “Star Wars” franchise make amends on its spotty history with diversity and stereotypes. Including a trans fan — particularly an outspoken activist like Grace — could help push the franchise forward.