Is it true that some of the Mandalorians in your LEGACY OF THE FORCE books are gay?
Goran Beviin and Medrit Vasur are a gay couple. Homosexual men. Call it what you like, they're in a same-sex marriage.
Mandalorians are different colours, too. Black Mandos, brown Mandos, all kinds of Mandos. Some are from other species, not just humans. They're all ages, all types, and some of them are disabled. Because so many of them are soldiers, Mandos know all about dealing with disability.
The gay Mandos - like the rest of the Mandalorian cast - are in the series because I think the Star Wars galaxy, with millions of worlds and species, is probably more diverse than just a regular vanilla diet of straight, good-looking, able-bodied white folk with red hair and emerald eyes or whatever. So I decided it was time SW had its first gay characters, because it was dumb for such a rich universe like that to be so narrow and unreal.
And I say that as a straight white able-bodied woman.
Because whatever your personal prejudices, we live in a diverse world, and people you don't happen to like because of colour or orientation or age or gender are not going to vanish because you don't accept them. I don't like slave-owners and people who think decapitating another being is casual work, but I still write about them, because they're there in the SW universe.
If you didn't spot that Goran and Medrit are queer - well, maybe you were only looking for pink armour, limp wrists, and mincing walks, not hard-as-nails mercenaries and armoursmiths. But none of the gay men I know are mincing pink-clad queens, so...I wrote what I saw around me. Real people who just happen to prefer their own gender.
And I wrote it as a detail rather than a major issue on which a plot hung. Kids won't spot it and ask awkward questions that their parents might not be ready to answer. But for the mature reader, it's there, and Goran and Medrit aren't just close friends. They're an old married couple with adopted kids and grandchildren, just a regular and unremarkable part of the Mandalorian community.
Because Mandalorians don't give a toss what you do in your private life as long as you follow the basic rules about clan and looking after your kids properly. So...no big deal.
©Karen Traviss 2008