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GLAAD Puts Genre Films on Blast for Ignoring Their Canonically Queer Characters

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Recently, Solo: a Star Wars Story screenwriter Jonathan Kasdan made waves when he said that the character Lando Calrissian was pansexual…in theory. Kasdan said he “would have loved to have gotten a more explicitly LGBT character into this movie,” but failed to elaborate on what exactly held him back. Another day, another missed opportunity for LGBTQ representation in studio films. In the immortal words of Eliza Doolittle, “don’t waste my time, show me!”

Lando’s non-coming out is yet another in a frustrating series of half-baked character retcons, where canonically queer characters like Black Panther‘s Okoye, Thor: Ragnarok‘s Valkyrie, and basically the entire population of Themyscira in Wonder Woman either ignore their character’s queerness or cut their scenes from the final films. Writers and directors then hit the press junkets, lamenting the fact that these queer moments didn’t make it into the script/production/final product. Then, the press cycle publishes these stories as examples of well-intentioned diversity and effort, when in fact they are nothing more than empty lip service.

Sarah Kate Ellis, president of GLAAD, believes that audiences deserve more. In discussing the recent release of GLAAD’s Studio Responsibility Index, she said, “At a time when the entertainment industry is holding much needed discussions about inclusion, now is the time to ensure the industry takes meaningful action and incorporates LGBTQ stories and creators as among priorities areas for growing diversity.” Ellis continued, saying,

“Far too often LGBTQ characters and stories are relegated to subtext, and it is left up to the audience to interpret or read into a character as being LGBTQ. Audiences may not realize they are seeing an LGBTQ character unless they have outside knowledge of a real figure, have consumed source material for an adaptation, or have read external press confirmations. This is not enough. Our stories deserve to be seen on screen just as much as everyone else’s, not hidden away or left to guess work, but boldly and fully shown.”

For now, it seems like television and streaming services are our best bet for nuanced LGBTQ representation…but maybe that is changing. Last week’s release of Deadpool 2 gave us our first big-screen queer superheroes, with Negasonic Teenage Warhead and her girlfriend Yukio. If this is the beginning of the queer superhero moment, we are beyond ready for it.

(via GLAAD, image: Marvel)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.