This is the way: Star Wars fans raise over $5,000 in support of trans rights

Chapter 5. The Child in THE MANDALORIAN, exclusively on Disney+
Chapter 5. The Child in THE MANDALORIAN, exclusively on Disney+ /

Within the first two hours, the GoFundMe blew past its original fundraising goal and continues to raise more in support of the trans community.

If there’s one thing we know about Star Wars fans, it’s that they’re relentlessly passionate.

Whether it’s debating the difference between a holocron and a wayfinder or engaging in a shouting match over who shot first (Han — don’t fight me), fans of this franchise rarely back down from a challenge.

Sometimes passion for a fictional galaxy can even translate into determination to promote long-lasting change in the real world.

Over the past week or so, many fans have struggled to wrap their heads around Mandalorian actor Gina Carano’s social media posts.

Seemingly out of nowhere, the celebrity’s Twitter and Instagram feeds filled with her opinions on everything from the pandemic to human rights protests.

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Her comments on these issues were troubling enough for many of her fans. But when she began using hurtful language, the trans community and their allies said: “No more.”

Devastated by Carano’s posts, a group of Star Wars fans decided to come together to start a GoFundMe fundraising campaign in support of trans rights. And within the first two hours of its launch, the campaign had already raised nearly twice its original goal.

“Maggie put out the initial call for people willing to put together a fundraiser,” said Eric, co-host of The Living Force podcast. “I responded, we started DMing, and off we went.”

“As an ally, it’s easy to sit here and send tweets and be angry,” Maggie, co-host of the Star Wars Friends podcast. “But being an ally also means putting advocacy into action. Instead of sending snarky tweets, I ended up tweeting out a request to see if anyone else wanted to spearhead this because I didn’t want to be the sole person leading the campaign. I was super fortunate that Eric and Candace reached out almost instantly and here we are.”

The trio’s GoFundMe campaign is raising money on behalf of the Transgender Law Center, an organization that “changes law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression.”

Maggie took the time to thoroughly research different organizations before choosing this one.

“After fielding through about a dozen non-profits, I chose Transgender Law Center because of their diverse board of directors, their dedicated program for the Black trans community, and their mission/vision/belief statements.”

Eric, Maggie, and Candace (The Geeky Waffle Network) all share a passion for human rights and equality, especially in the Star Wars fan community. For those unable to donate to fundraisers and charities that support these issues, there is plenty more everyone can do — and it all starts with speaking up when something doesn’t seem right.

Candace shared that the suicide rate for people who identify as transgender is significantly higher than the average rate. “People need to speak out when they see injustice. Silence is complicity.”

Listening, Eric emphasized, is also an essential tool for everyone to use. “Use your voice, but also use your ears. Listen to folks who are asking for help, support those who are underserved, and spread the love and care of the galaxy all around.”

Maggie highlighted the use of preferred pronouns, circling back to some of the hurtful messages Carano promoted on her personal social media pages. “As an ally, I can only say what I have been taught by leaders in the trans community and my friends who identify as trans. I think at the very least we can normalize the use of pronouns in public spaces, as well as normalizing the use of ‘they’ in casual conversations because ‘they’ is singular.”

But Maggie also wanted to remind Americans in particular about the power of voting for those who wish to make a difference.

“For Americans, I think it’s paramount that we remember to register to vote and to vote in November because we need to elect leaders who are going to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.”

Despite the bullying and harassment, many in the community have drawn attention to lately, this fundraiser has already made a positive difference. As of writing this, the campaign has just passed $5,000 raised.

Like many in the Star Wars fandom — online especially — Eric has witnessed the best and the worst of what this community can be. The support the This Is The Way campaign has already received can serve as a much-needed reminder that hope and good arise when people come together to facilitate change.

“Frankly, it’s overwhelming. We’ve known forever that the Star Wars community can be taken over by a vocal minority of hatred, so it’s amazing to reinforce the notion that there are more of us.”

“This honestly the happiest I have been since February,” Candace added. “After a lot of negativity, it’s so beautiful to see everyone come together. It was great to turn the anger I’ve felt into something productive and positive.”

These fans have more than proven that actions really do speak louder than words. It’s one thing to tweet your disapproval of a celebrity’s comments. It’s something else entirely — something truly hopeful — to take a stand, raise awareness and funds, and make real change happen in our world.

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Those who wish to support the trans community through donations can check out the Trans Rights are Human Rights: This is the Way campaign now.