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Leave Ziro Alone!

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Why is everybody so upset that macho Jabba the Hutt has a sissy uncle named Ziro who runs a seedy nightclub on Coruscant? When I first saw Ziro the Hutt in the Clone Wars movie, adorned with feathers, glowing makeup, and gesturing wormily with his girly cigarette holder, I started grinning. When he started talking in that Truman Capote accent ("Wun day, ah will ruuuuule thuh Hutts!") . . . well, I was laughing out loud. It was a moment of pure weirdo campiness in a franchise known for being far too self-serious. How often do you get a sissy monster who talks smack in any movie, let alone in one of the most successful franchises on Earth? Of course, reviewers are already comparing Ziro to Jar Jar, claiming that Ziro does for the gays what Jar Jar did to blacks. I'm not going to argue that Jar Jar wasn't offensive and annoying: He was both. He was playing a Stepin Fetchit role, a happy, dumb servant to the humans who colonized his world. But that's not what Ziro is doing. First of all, Ziro isn't taking shit from anybody. He's running his own nightclub in one of the biggest cities in the galaxy, and he's scheming to take control of one of the most successful crime families in the Outer Rim. And the stereotype he embodies, that of the imperious sissy, is an identity that many queers have reclaimed as a badge of pride. Who was on the front lines at Stonewall, after all, but a bunch of drag queens and sissies? Just because Ziro isn't butch doesn't mean he's an anti-gay stereotype. Hell, it doesn't even make him gay. My favorite response to all the hoopla over Ziro's girlyman ways has been from director Dave Filoni, who told MTV News that it was George Lucas who said to make Ziro into a Truman Capote caricature. Ah, who else but Lucas to come up with Capote the Hutt? Then Filoni goes on to say that Ziro could hardly be gay, since his species isn't sexually dimorphic. OK, Filoni didn't use fancy phrases like "sexually dimorphic" — he just said:

He's of questionable [sexuality] at least as a slug. They tell me that these slugs can be either male or female depending. That's something I guess that slugs and snails do.

You hear that, people? Ziro is a slug, and he can be as sissy or as butch as he wants to be because he isn't even really a he. (S)he is a creature of many genders. So leave Ziro alone! Let us have our Capote the Hutt, our lovely sissy snail who dresses to the nines and schemes to overthrow Jabba. Do you hear me, world? LEAVE ZIRO ALONE!