Miss Me With That Sub-Text; or, No Credit Without the Work

Okay, so according to some sources, the writers who wrote the script for the new Lando movie – one of whom was a writer on Empire Strikes Back, where Lando was first introduced – have asserted that they intended him to be queer (pansexual, to be specific).

While I appreciate that the desire is there, I’m pretty full up to here with subtextual queerness.

Let’s be very up front about this. Subtext performs a number of functions in a narrative. One of them, particularly when it’s in the storytelling of a homophobic culture, is to hide shameful elements of that narrative from the overt view of an audience that would regard its presence as inappropriate.

No matter how much you’d like you, you cannot fucking divorce sub-texting queer from homophobia. Bottom line.

Like all expressions of homophobia, it needs to be refuted, railed against, and excised from our vocabulary. Queer subtext is shame based. It is what gives us queer-coded villains. It is the antithesis of Pride, the narrative version of “the love (or simply identity) that dare not speak its name.”

Continuing to express queerness in a fashion that caters to homophobia not only does not uplift and support queer people, but it reinforces the cultural momentum to shame and erase us. I know creators think they are being allies by doing so. The Kasdans do, Rowling did with Dumbledore…we can all probably name a slew of queer characters whose queerness is kept below the narrative horizon.

We. Deserve. Better.

You are not our allies if you hide us. That is the action of someone who is ashamed of us. Be proud of us. Support us. Uplift us.

And before I hear it? No, I do not accept Hollywood’s new bugbear that “the censors” in China or Russia or wherever would refuse to show the movie if it contained overt queerness. Removing those scenes or portions of scenes is easy enough to accomplish, and thus releasing films acceptable to those venues. This is an excuse that shifts the blame for homophobic decision making onto non-Americans, as though we could only shrug and had no choice in the matter, which is rankest bullshit, to say nothing of cowardice. That shit doesn’t fly.

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