When a tragedy as horrible as the one which happened at the Orlando LGBT nightclub Pulse takes place, the hope is that somehow, something good can come out of it all. Now, one person is trying to bring honor to his friend that was lost to this senseless act, and in turn, hopefully inspire a generation of kids who look up at the big screen and don’t see themselves represented in the stories they love at all. But he needs your help to make it happen.
Orlando’s Pulse shooting took the life of Christopher Andrew “Drew“ Leinonen, but his friend Joshua Yehl has started a petition to see Drew’s memory live on as the first-ever LGBT character to appear in a Star Wars movie.
In a statement, Yehl said the following about his friend: “Drew was the most passionate Star Wars fan I’d ever met, which is probably why he became my best friend. We wouldn’t shut up about it every time we were in a room together. I’ve been a mess since his passing, but on the way home from his funeral, I got this big idea that the best way to honor him in a really visible, lasting way would be to make him the inspiration for the first-ever gay Star Wars character.”
Yehl’s open letter to Kathleen Kennedy (President of Lucasfilm), Bob Iger (CEO of The Walt Disney Company), and all of those behind the Star Wars films details his wishes and explains why now, more than ever, Star Wars needs to feature an LGBT character in its movies.
“This is a universe with Wookiees, 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,” Yehl’s letter reads. “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.”
The character created in honor of Drew would be a tribute not only to him but to all 49 victims who lost their lives at Pulse on June 12, 2016, including Drew’s boyfriend Juan Ramon Guerrero, and every LGBT person who ever lost their life to hate.
“These were real people with friends and loved ones, hobbies and interests, talents and skills. It’s easy to forget that when their deaths become nothing more than numbers and names you hear on TV, so I thought this would be a wonderful way to give people the chance to know Drew a little better,” Yehl said. “Star Wars meant so much to Drew, and I know it means the world to countless others, so what better way to both honor a lifelong fan and send a positive message to the world?”
The open letter appears on Change.org where those who support it can sign their name. The more people to who sign, the better chance at getting an official reply from Star Wars decision-makers.
Supporters are encouraged to spread the word using the hashtag #PutDrewInStarWars
Details about Rogue One‘s characters.
Image: DeviantArt: Evantulac-123