So, you're a young male Jedi trying to help a farmer rid his Tatooine moisture ranch of vicious sand people. After poking your lightsabre through a couple dozen goggle-eyed honkers, you head back to the farmer to let him know his spread is safe. He offers his gratitude. Among the small selection of responses at your disposal is the flirtatious "I can think of another way you can thank me…" Curious, you click it. A couple of spicy exchanges later, your Jedi and the farmer walk offscreen for some presumed hanky panky.
Wham! You've just been turned gay! Bet you never saw that coming.
This would seem to be the concern of Tony Perkins of the U.S.-based Christian activist group Family Research Council. He attacked BioWare's new massively multiplayer online role-playing game Star Wars: The Old Republic in a radio commentary last week for allowing players to engage in homosexual relationships, lamenting that "kids will be exposed to this Star Warped way of thinking."
His quick, maddeningly calm rant – titled Rebel Fleet Surrenders to Gay Empire, as though Mr. Perkins and his allies were the valiant little guys struggling against the tyrannical and oppressive homosexual regime – repellently twists several of the franchise's most iconic phrases to serve his argument. Some examples: "gamers have already gone to the dark side," and "It's time to show companies who the Force is really with!" (I think I threw up a little just typing those quotes.)
It's worth adding that homosexual relationships aren't even possible in Star Wars: The Old Republic. While encounters similar to the one I described above exist, they are so far limited to heterosexual hookups and are always optional, with no penalty for avoiding them.
BioWare said last fall that it intends to add gay and lesbian encounters post-launch, but this update has yet to come. If Mr. Perkins – who is encouraging parents to write BioWare expressing anger at the possibility their kids might be able to take on the role of a gay Jedi – has his way, it never will.
These sorts of homophobic campaigns fueled by disinformation and a lack of hands-on game experience drive me batty. But how about you? Feel free to voice your opinion in the sidebar poll.