A Change.org petition was set up by fans of the science fiction franchise "Star Wars" asking producer Lucasfilm to create the saga’s first LGBT character in memory of one of the victims of the recent Orlando shooting.
Christopher Andrew “Drew” Leinonen was one of the 49 people killed at the shooting in Pulse nightclub on June 12. The petition, launched last week, is an open letter from his friend Joshua Yehl to Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm, and Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger.
The letter describes Leinonen as a “passionate” "Star Wars" fan, adding that “nothing would make him happier than for all the little gay nerds out there to have their own Star Wars character to look up to.”
“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,” Yehl wrote. “This character will not only honor Drew but all of the other victims at Pulse in Orlando, including his boyfriend Juan Ramon Guerrero, and every LGBT person to ever lose their life to hate.”
Yehl even quotes J.J. Abrams, the director of the sequel, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," saying, “The fun of Star Wars is the glory of possibility. So it seems insanely narrow-minded and counterintuitive to say that there wouldn’t be a homosexual character in that world.”
In a fantasy world that boasts of aliens and monsters, Yehl wrote, why is there no visible LGBT character? The petition has so far received 2,244 supporters including support from actor Robin Lord Taylor.
Lucasfilm and the Walt Disney are currently working on the franchise’s first stand-alone film, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," which will hit theaters in December this year. The next episode in the space saga will be released in December 2017.