Thousands sign petition to honour Orlando victim with first Star Wars LGBT character

"This is a universe with Wookies, Jawas, and Hutts, so why can’t there be a visible LGBT character on screen?"

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Thousands of Star Wars fans are calling for the franchise to remember a victim of the Orlando shooting by introducing the galaxy’s first LGBT character.

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Joshua Yehl, who is editor of IGN Comics, started the petition on Change.Org after his best friend Drew Leinonen was killed in the attack in the early hours of 12th June.  

“On June 12, 2016, the world lost one of its most passionate Star Wars fans. On that day, 49 voices cried out and were silenced by hate. One of them was my best friend, Christopher Andrew ‘Drew’ Leinonen,” Yehl writes. “He and I bonded over many things, but nothing brought us together like Star Wars. To be honest, we were actually pretty unbearable to be around when we got to talking about that galaxy far, far away.

“I’m writing this letter to request that Drew’s passing be honored by using him as inspiration for the first-ever LGBT Star Wars character to appear in a movie,” he continues. “How this is done – using his likeness, running his name through one of those Star Wars Name Generators, etc– is totally up to you. You are all masters of your craft, so I know that whatever you come up with will be marvelous.”

“This is a universe with Wookies, Jawas, and Hutts, so why can’t there be a visible LGBT character on screen? This tragedy happened because of hate, but Star Wars is something that unites people, so fulfilling this request would only serve to bring more love into the world, and that’s what Drew was all about.

“It’s vitally important that LGBT people are included in mainstream media because it will show that we don’t need to be feared or hated or hidden. We can be part of the rebellion and we can fight evil, and we can do it while being who we are with pride.”

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So far over 3,500 people have signed the petition to #PutDrewinStarWars. Here’s the petition if you want to add your name.