If Darth Vader was Mexican, imagine how Star Wars would be more like you and me. His mother would work multiple jobs to make ends meet. And yeah, there would be bullies. But like us, he’d use his forces to conquer his enemies. Would Mexican Darth be pure awesomeness? Watch the video above to find out.
It happened in a galaxy not too far away, meeting interstellar royalty. I was a cashier in a well-known beauty retailer based in the heart of Beverly Hills, California. What started as a trivial shift of organizing lipsticks and rechecking rollerballs became one of the most memorable moments in my life.
I was busy trying to solve the ever-constant mystery of lost pens. Fair to say I wasn’t completely focused on my jobs at hand as I did the meticulous work. I was rather new to Los Angeles and the beauty retail world still learning the ropes.
It was that in moment a chocolate French bulldog lapped his extra long tongue on my shoes. I bent down laughing, petting him while his tongue spiraled up in between heavy pants. This wasn’t just any pampered pooch off Rodeo Drive, this dog in question was Gary Fisher, the one and only Carrie Fisher’s dog.
This would be a good moment to clear up any confusion. My name is Leia, Carrie Fisher plays a character in the film series, Star Wars, Princess Leia, and Gary Fisher is obviously the full/accepted name of her dog. I wasn’t always named Leia. Up until I was 22, I was Jacob. I’m transgender. Fisher’s Star Wars character Princess Leia was always someone I looked up to. Her strength and fighting spirit are things I could relate to and I wanted to keep her strength with me. My name was now Leia and I was intentionally channeling that strength to guide me.
So when I looked up to see Carrie Fisher with hundreds of dollars of sheet masks I was speechless. As a kid, I watched this woman run through the Death Star, dodging Stormtroopers braless! These are some of the most vivid memories I have from my childhood. Now it’s key to note, working in Beverly Hills, the easiest way to get fired is by making celebrities feel awkward. Oscar-nominated bad business is frowned upon. While I rang her up all I could mumble about was that her last-minute gold nail polish purchase was the “same shade as C-3PO,” and we smiled. I then saw Carrie’s eyes lock with my name tag and heard her, “Oh my God! Your name!” I nodded. She nodded. We shared a moment of clarity. I was finally acknowledged by Alderaan. Gary, Carrie, and there was I, Leia. It was the same year she passed away, but that particular day two Leia’s met in the middle. The original Princess Leia who inspired my name and taught me what it meant to be a woman had found me, accepted me, and welcomed me into her tribe. You could say it was a little luck or the Force but it’s something I’ll have a long, long time no matter how brief.
I still work in the beauty industry and getting clients to remember my name comes down to one simple sentence, “Oh, and I’m Leia… like Star Wars.” The whole concept of naming oneself during a transition of gender is daunting. Many transgender/nonbinary identifying people change their name multiple times. My distinction didn’t take much thought. It was my first day in Los Angeles ordering coffee and being asked for my name, “I’m Leia… like Star Wars.” It was easily understood by the majority of the population and thus I became a part of a smile, of a sci-fi connection, of a Carrie Fisher stand up or book prologue. I was suddenly surrounded by the image of a side bunned, hard ass, space princess and if I could leave that in my wake then I knew I could be that much more memorable. Plus, my closest friends already addressed me as Leia at the beginning of my transition so it just made sense. I remember my encounter with Carrie Fisher fondly every year when May The 4th comes around and the power of that moment continues to impact my life.
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” actors Laura Dern and Oscar Isaac talked to Collider about the upcoming film and Isaac was asked what he thought about his character, Poe Dameron, being seen as an LGBT icon. There have been rumors since the last “Star Wars” movie, “The Force Awakens,” about Poe’s relationship with Finn (John Boyega) being more meaningful that just any old space bromance. The fan art on Google of this is pretty amazing. When asked if he could confirm or deny it, or talk about what it meant to him, he kept his answer somewhat nebulous.
“What it means to me is that people can see themselves in a hero like this, in a movie like this. Which I love, not only LGBT, but Latinos, that there’s a representation out there for that,” he said, following up with, “As to actually seeing how that manifests itself in Poe, in this film, that isn’t going to necessarily be a clear story point, in this one. But as an actor, for me, I’m very open to those possible storylines and I don’t think it needs to be nailed down in any traditional way.”
So Isaac didn’t confirm or deny that Poe and Finn have a relationship, but he’s proud to represent his Latinidad. Athough we may not get the Poe and Finn romance that so many fans want in this film, it could happen in the future, in a galaxy, far, far away…