The Family Research Council, an organization plagued by the fear that someone, sometime might be getting away with something fun, has gone after Star Wars: The Old Republic, because the game allows players to choose to have their characters be in same-sex relationships. As Tony Perkins said in his radio broadcast:
In a new Star Wars game, the biggest threat to the empire may be homosexual activists! Hello, I’m Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. In a galaxy not so far far away, Star Wars gamers have already gone to the dark side. The new video game, Star Wars: The Old Republic, has added a special feature: gay relationships. Bioware, the company that developed the game, said it’s launching a same-sex romance component to satisfy some complaints. That surprised a lot of gamers, since Bioware had made it clear in 2009 that “gay” and “lesbian” don’t exist in the Star Wars universe. Since the announcement, homosexuals have been celebrating the news, but parents sure aren’t. On the game’s website, there are more than 300 pages of comments–a lot of them expressing anger that their kids will be exposed to this Star Warped way of thinking. You can join them by logging on and speaking up. It’s time to show companies who the Force is really with!
First, to bring the geek and the sexual orientation history, saying that our same sexual orientation identity categories don’t exist a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away isn’t remotely the same thing as saying that males and females of any of the Star Wars universe species don’t form same-gender relationships. Sexual orientation is a relatively new concept, but dudes and dudes or ladies and ladies? Not so much.
But I really think things like this are useful because of the way they illustrate right-wing fears and the right wing agenda. Folks like the Family Research Council are invested in declaring that sexual orientation is a choice because then they can push back against the idea of legal protections for LGBT people. But they also would prefer for the possibility of same-sex relationships to be eradicated and made illegal on the off chance that someone actually chooses to be in one, that someone might decide that a relationship with someone of their own gender is more satisfying on every level than a heterosexual relationship. That’s the real terror here, that the vision right-wingers are offering of a mother, father, and however many kids you get if you don’t use birth control might not appeal to everyone. Trying to keep gay relationships illegal or unrecognized, in video games or in the real world, is a last-ditch effort you make when you’re afraid your own messaging isn’t working.