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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

UPDATE: Bioware has now apologized.

Homosexuality does not exist in the Star Wars universe, according to Bioware, the developers of Star Wars: The Old Republic, the new Star Wars MMO...

Would-be players were discussing in the MMO's forums how the game might handle future gay and lesbian relationships - and Bioware freaked out, shutting down those discussion threads and banning the words "gay," "lesbian" and "homosexual." Says community manager Sean Dahlberg:

As I have stated before, these are terms that do not exist in Star Wars.

Thread closed.
Come now, Sean, aren't we being just a bit naive?

I'm not going to lie. It wasn't easy choosing an accompanying photo for this post.

Given that companies like Bioware are (one assumes) actually trying to make money with their products, it's continually surprising that they degrade and undervalue the importance of slash in fan communities. Why haven't more creators tried to (literally) capitalize on this interest? Aside from J.K. Rowling (who generally stuck to heterosexual coupling, the notable case of Dumbledore excepted) and Smallville (which for years injected a heavy slash subtext into the relationship of Clark Kent and Lex Luthor), SF franchises largely remain terrified of open acknowledgment of their own queerness, much less embracing fans' noncanonical slash repurposing of the work.

I'm telling you, there's money to be made here.