the cinema

Is James Cameron’s “Avatar” offensive to transgender people?

Avatar Offensive to Transgender People: James Cameron at the Los Angeles Premiere of "Avatar" held at the Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California, United States on December 16, 2009.

It’s been quite a few years since James Cameron’s blockbuster, Avatar, first graced the silver screen. Have you had a chance to watch it yet? Probably, it was one of the highest grossing films ever. But it’s success, and spawn of a second, won’t stop us from weighing in on the grassroots effort to boycott the film because it offends transgender people.

We’re still trying to understand the perceived connections between the movie and concerns from transgender individuals or those who believe in evolution. We get more colonizer vibe, to be honest. I mean, it’s Ferngully with a multi-million dollar budget.


But let’s hear the thoughts of Internet conspiracy theorists on why Avatar is offensive to transgender people. Here’s some snippets of the convo with Stop Avatar Movie:

Why stop the Avatar movie?

In short, Avatar has hetrosexual themes, that’s why. Not that hetrosexual themes are anything new in American films but when you consider the context in which the Avatar story is set, the message of this film is highly irresponsible.

Here’s a summary of what is wrong with the Avatar film:

1) Avatar assumes that the hetrosexual, “male” and “female” attraction will still be the primary relationship basis in the future.

2) Avatar ignores the fact of Evolution. Humans are evolving to be being Transgender, NOT hetrosexual.

3) Avatar also assumes that intelligent beings on other worlds would be hetrosexual.

In addition, the film uses militaristic themes and promotes violence as a means of story-telling and social context.

Quotes from a conversation with Stop Avatar Movie protestors

While we’d LOVE to see a world that’s evolved into mostly transgender humans, are we the only ones who envision 2154 as a world where heterosexuality still reigns supreme? And where “conventional” biological sexes outnumber transgender individuals? Let’s not forget, a lot of people would have to get cool with things REALLY quickly in order for that to happen. (We’re looking at you, Mitch McConnell.)

But, hey, remember, folks, we’re talking about a movie here! So while we appreciate these musings, let’s not lose sight of the fact that cinema thrives on imagination and alternative realities. Like, y’know, the straights still being okay over a hundred years from now.

There were even protests mounted, which the website promised “thousands” of people will be taking part in. You know, because of all the ridiculous gender norms Cameron employs:

One has to wonder about the thought process involved in the making of Avatar. Who decided that the Jake Sully character in Avatar had be “hetrosexual” or “straight”? And why have him engaged in a hetro-type relation with someone from another world? Was there anyone who pointed out that this film was taking place in the FUTURE and it would be more likely, given current evolutionary trends that Jake would be gay, bi or transgender?

The film also makes a gross assumption that the old hetrosexual ways on Earth would somehow be occurring with another race of being on a totally different world with its own unique culture.

But the bigger point this whole protest misses? There is a human being having a sexual relationship with a space alien! Isn’t that a better reason to get upset? ‘Cause, like, ews-ville. Plus, the obvious Native American references are pretty gross.

Even though these allegations of Avatar being offensive to transgender people didn’t stop us from getting Avatar 2, we can see where they’re coming from. Solidarity, folks.

Why did the Na’vi from Avatar subscribe to the Queerty newsletter? To learn about humans, one dick pic at a time!

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  • terrwill

    WTF??? Some people have waaaaay too much time on their hands!

  • Michael vdB

    A whole lot to do about nothing.

  • Qjersey

    “Humans are evolving to be being Transgender”

    Gender is a social construct, so the concept of evolution does not apply.

    And sorry, heterosexual relationships will most likely continue to be the prevalent form of human relationships.

  • terrwill

    I now hear a group of green people are planning a boycott
    over the inclusion of only blue charachters………

  • Fitz

    Yes, it is offensive to the Trans population. But so is oatmeal. That’s the problem with having hysterical reactions.. you loose credibility.

  • Bunny Snuggles

    You just know that there’ll be a whole lot of unhappy cows in Texas if straight boys start banging alien poontang. What’s a bovine to do, start having sex with an alien food product too?

    You know, Cameron really should think these things out a bit first before upsetting a lot of people (and non-people). Sometimes, I think he’s just in it for the money.

    What a capitalistic, homophobic, hetero-centric, anti-trans, pig!

    See if I ever watch “Titanic” for the fiftieth time again. That’ll show ya!

    …OKAY, that would be impossible and it doesn’t make any grammatical sense. But it would still make a statement.


    “Not watching “Terminator” either (except for Michael Biehn’s butt in the opening scenes of T1)”,

    ~ Bunny

  • Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"

    Hmmm, according to Rachel Maddox, the wingnuts are foaming at the mouth too!

    Apparently, Avatar is anti-American, with its story about a race of people traveling to foreign lands to plunder the natural resources and forcing the indigenous populations into reservations. Like that would ever happen? Oops, I guess that is exactly what happened just a few hundred years ago right here in the good ol’ USA.

  • Jake the libertarian

    I sure hope heterosexuality is still the norm in the future. I love being a little different from “normal” society. It makes me special. Through the discrimination, hate, depression and all, I love the fact that I am gay. I also love the fact that that sets me apart from society at large. It makes me an individual. It helps me question societies norms. I am a better person for being gay in a straight world and I am very thankful for it. Let’s just hope in the future we can get rid of the hate…

  • Rodrigo

    “hetrosexual” .. i stopped there.

  • RomanHans

    I saw twenty minutes of clips from the movie a couple months back and was startled to find the hero was “Jersey Shore” stupid, and the movie totally wetting its pants over his brainless braggadocio. He roams this new frontier randomly enslaving and killing stuff like a 23rd-century Columbus, full of white entitlement — and everybody on the other planet is like, “Well, okay.

    Which struck me as stupid for this century, let alone the future. Mr. Cameron, like so many other rich white men, clearly has problems with morality.

  • Jon B

    Hmmm… I don’t think I’ve been exposed to something so stupid since, well… I don’t really even know. I can’t even imagine what this person wouldn’t find objectionable. I mean, Star Trek is set in the future, and there are (gasp) lots of heterosexuals, Star Wars may be okay, but only because the main love story line, while heterosexual, involves incest, Harry Potter involves straight wizards… I mean really… who knows whether wizards would be straight or gay, why make that assumption? Dumbledore has the right idea!

    As a side point… I find it funny that the person who writes this uses an evolutionary argument. Evolution requires, generally, heterosexual baby making. Even if we gays do have some evolutionary purpose, which is being discussed by lots of scientists lately, it doesn’t take away from the evolutionary need for more heteros.

    This person should count his/her chromosomes is all I’m saying.

  • Erick

    WTF! Most ridiculous and useless boycott ever.

  • Warren

    If I didn’t know better I’d think I was reading the Onion when I saw this story. This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve read about a movie!

  • Johnny

    I think the boycott is a bit off the mark too – and confusing.

    That said, the graphics look great – and nice bodies flying around.

  • rainfish2000

    I agree entirely, we in the GLBT community should maintain a healthy heterosexual breed stock.

    They are like the busy little bees in our garden who help to pollinate the lovely blossoms, which in turn, produce the seeds and the even more beautiful flowers which we become. …Yes, by all means, preserve them. De-sting them, but preserve them — they are sometimes useful.


    In response to No. 11 · Jon B who wrote: “…it doesn’t take away from the evolutionary need for more heteros.”

  • Ben

    As a transgender man, I have to say that these idiots don’t speak for me (least of all when they repeatedly misspell “heterosexual”).

    People who are well-educated about sex and gender as social and biological phenomena know that there is no evidence indicating that homosexuality, bisexuality, or transgenderism will become more prevalent due to evolution. All these things are becoming more prevalent in our culture merely because the deadly stigma surrounding them is finally beginning to erode.

    Does it irk me that the hero of every epic sci-fi story is a twenty-something, white, heterosexual, cisgender male? Yeah, it does. I wish I could watch a movie with a transgender hero or heroine that wasn’t focused solely on the novelty of his or her gender identity. I wish I could watch a movie in which a gay man or woman is the hero or heroine without the movie being about his or her gayness. Unfortunately our society is not in a place at the moment where such things will happen easily, if at all. But getting pissed off at one filmmaker because his film conforms to heteronormative culture is losing sight of the forest for the tree.

  • REBELComx

    I think you missed the point of the movie and the clips you saw. One of the white guys who’s been sent there to enslave everyone goes through a process and becomes one of the natives, taking their side in the battle against the humans.
    Unlike Columbus or the Spaniards or any of the Europeans who enslaved or butchered the natives here, this movie is actually sympathetic to them. It is trying to display the evils of imperialism. The morality of this movie is to show just how stupid this mindset is in THIS century.

  • terrwill

    Last time I looked this movie wasn’t a documentary but something called “fantasy”………………

  • LenaD

    As someone who’s trans, let me just say WTF? I’ll echo Ben’s thoughts and just remind folks that a few individuals don’t speak for me (or for the entire trans communities).

  • trig

    Well it would be refreshing to see a different perspective, but Cameron has billions to make and the majority makes the rules.

  • wmcarpenter

    “Humans are evolving to be being Transgender, NOT hetrosexual.”

    NOT mutually exclusive. Idiots.

  • John K.

    dumb article Queerty.

  • James

    As a queer transman, I have to agree with Ben and LenaD. This protest does not speak for me, and in fact it quite offends me by putting the idea out there for the public that “this is how transpeople feel”…

    Not only does the argument they’re making not make sense (evolution, etc), but it also is a very stupid move to make when we have to “pick our battles” in order to open minds and hearts.

    Yes, activism is important, but when practiced in a strategic and well-thought-out manner, not just random “outrage” that doesn’t further our cause any, and in fact threatens to hinder it.

    As Ben said, it would be great to see more (accurate) reflections of ourselves in various media, especially ones that aren’t just showcasing how “other” we are, but that does not mean that heteronormative and gender-normative fiction is prejudiced or something we should rally over.

    Especially considering that most writers out there are straight, cis-gender, people. It is said “write what you know” and thus it makes sense that most writers would write from their own perspective. It makes it pretty hard to blame someone who’s not an “other” and probably has no idea even that we need more positive portrayals of ourselves in media, just for being themselves (the same as we expect).

    And honestly, I wouldn’t WANT some straight, white, cis-male trying to write “my” story or a representation of “my” people, because without being a part of the group, there is little likelihood that they’d be successful in capturing the experience.

    Anyhow, all this to say: I’m more pissed at the protest than the movie by a long shot.

  • seb389

    This post is so stupid !

  • RomanHans


    Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Yes, I’m trying to judge the entire movie based on clips, which I shouldn’t do — but based on the clips it looks like infantile, offensive trash.

    > It is trying to display the evils of imperialism. The
    > morality of this movie is to show just how stupid
    > this mindset is in THIS century.

    If this is the case, then why does the native woman fall in love with the invader? At one point she shows him a giant flying bird and teaches him how to break its spirit so it’ll ferry him around. And this is in between artsy-fartsy lectures on peace and love and harmony. Is the native woman an idiot or what?

  • FairGamer

    Wow, this is beyond idiotic and I feel bad for all of the trans-people out there reading this saying to themselves, “great, more controversy we simply didn’t need”.

    I have to say though, what infuriated me the most was their spelling of heterosexual as “hetrosexual”. If you are going to speak out so vehemently (albeit, misinformed and misguided) at the very LEAST, check your lousy spelling.

  • MikenStL

    WTF? Is today April 1st and I don’t realize it?

  • romeo

    @MikenStL #27: I’m with you. I’ve been seeing the trailers for this picture for months now and it looks like a cartoon! As for all evolving into transgender, I think we would have seen that in other species. There’s no way to know what Nature is going to do until after She’s done it, because Nature doesn’t know what’s going to need to be done until it’s staring Her in the face. LOL She’s been sure about us, though, and I suspect heterosexuals as well.

  • B Damion

    Jake the libertarian I agree completely. “Hate”…thats the one thing that should not evolve. n thats “Hate” of any kind.

  • brian

    I think , as a movement, we’re supposed to get people to laugh at the religious nuts, NOT US!

    This “boycott” makes us look silly.

  • Erin

    I’m all about breaking down the gender binary, but come on people… really? There has to be better things to spend your time on then protesting some movie because it shows heterosexuals being the norm in the future.

    There will be nuts in every group I guess.

  • Jae'da

    This is worse than the fuss over ‘The Princess and the Frog.’ Seriously… take a chill pill.

  • VickyK

    So one transgender individual puts up a blog about a movie and it makes it to Queerty, the Advocate, etc.? I wish that typical discussions about transgender issues got this much attention.

    It just goes to show that there are all types of trans people, just like there are all type of [fill in the blank] people.

  • Patricia

    Yeah, speaking as a trans person I think this is dumb.

  • Tony


    “And honestly, I wouldn’t WANT some straight, white, cis-male trying to write “my” story or a representation of “my” people, because without being a part of the group, there is little likelihood that they’d be successful in capturing the experience.”

    – To say that they should not have agency to speak about your ‘experience’ is just as problematic. If they are keen to the problems and representation of trans people in the World, why would you want take their agency to criticize those problems away from them? Based solely on the premise that they cannot ‘experience’ or speak to ‘your’ culture or your people? I do not think they are out to digest your experience as a trans person for you. Perhaps to just point out the problems in representation.

    Although, I do admit – their claims are completely outlandish and a waste of time. But don’t be quick to pull up the carpet from the feet of possible allies, even if they are sometimes a little overzealous/crazy.

  • La Coccinelle

    Whoever wrote this article…obviously failed Ninth Grade Biology.

  • James

    Tony: You are right, it is possible for our allies to sensitively express trans issues and in fact, on second thought, I realize that having non-trans people comment on trans issues and having straight people comment on queer issues, are both actually beneficial when done with understanding and compassion. I spoke too quickly and I take back that part of my comment.

    I guess my reaction was more about the people who think they know what it means to be trans and that they understand the challenges just because they know a transperson and are supportive. I’ve had many people make comments on behalf of me and all transpeople, which when I heard them later, were unwittingly very offensive. I think that can happen when people advocate for any group though, even if they are a member of that group (as seen by this protest which started the whole discussion).

    I shouldn’t “throw out the baby with the bathwater” by saying that cis-gender people can’t properly speak to the challenges and unique experiences we have, I should instead have expressed that caution is needed when speaking for any community as a whole, whether you’re a part of it or not.

    I still do feel that the most authentic and resonating stories *usually* come from those who are writing what they know and have experienced it personally, but it’s true that it’s not the ONLY way to express a viewpoint or tell a story, and educated and heartfelt representations are good for the community no matter their source.

  • Kropotkin

    As a trans person, this protest does not speck of me either. In fact, it seems totally unhinged and to be tilting at windmills. A lot to do about nothing.

  • James

    The protester is asking supporters to email [email protected] and let ’em have it…

    I think instead, those of us who see this farce as offensive and potentially damaging, should email Fox and express our side of the story.

    Even if a handful of wackos decides to email their hate in the name of all transpeople, our voices may be enough to tip the scales to the other side and avert a possible publicity nightmare if this insanity got out to any mainstream media and taken seriously.

    Just think about it, it would only take a second and might be the pre-emptive strike needed to stop this before it goes to far.

  • Steven

    I just got our from that elusive press screening — wild appluase —

    And there is NO basis for this ludicris attention getting effort by unemployed homos. Instead, turn your attentions to real causes like healthcare and same sex marriage.

    IT’s amazing storytelling and otherworldly in its effects. I support the film becuse it embraces the GAIA principle. See it then judge.

    And Stephen Lang is really the GAY central character. His daddy Marine is so hetero he’s And, he’s 100% top!

  • YellowRanger

    Lololol oh that is funny…

    I’ll be skipping this movie, but not because of any wacky internet protests; it just looks pretty terrible. Like ‘Ferngully: The Last Rainforest’ with Smurfs that got stretched out by Willy Wonka’s taffy puller, set in the video for ‘Feel Good Inc.’

  • James

    YellowRanger: or as someone mentioned on Twitter today – Smurfahontas! lol

  • Emily

    Chalk me up as another trans person scratching her head as to how this group justifies their protest? Our community has enough bullshit to put up with without these jokers making us all look like idiots.

    The sad thing is, there’s a conservative think tank out there laughing at us for this.

  • LeftWingandbrave

    I thank you for writing about the Avatar protests this Friday and I hope your readers will join in. There is some confusion about the nature and purpose of the protests and I want to assure everyone that the goal here is to help establish a culture and society based on tolerance and rational thought. With gay marriage being accepted and with the fight against climate change raging, this is our time to make the world better, especially now with President Obama in the White House.

  • Yuki

    Dear god, I facepalmed. OF COURSE heterosexuality will be the norm, it’s the natural way to make children! And how on earth are we evolving to be transexual?

  • romanski

    Way too much time on their hands…. Stupit

  • schlukitz

    No. 4 · terrwill

    I now hear a group of green people are planning a boycott
    over the inclusion of only blue charachters………

    They obviously have a problem with “bluish people”. 😉

  • tavdy79

    I’ve heard from a friend that he was “totaly blown away by the visual splendor that is Avatar…. the story is predictable but visually OMFG, its utterly amazing.”.

    (the fact that he missed a typo says a lot about how excited he was by the film)

  • Jennifer

    Are you sure this isn’t just a bunch of homophobic whackjobs trying to make real queer activists look stupid?

  • Lady Ga-Gasp

    I hear Cameron (like Harrison Ford and Eddie Murphy) loves him a tranny hooker. Does that count?

  • Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

    I got a huge chuckle out of this post. I especially loved the comment about oatmeal. Gosh, this is hilarious. There’s enough real transphobia occurring, we don’t have to make up any. But I’m guessing the blogger is a kid who is trying to make a point they don’t quite understand.

  • Fitz

    That blogger is in his late 50’s. I think I understood my point, though, but thanks. If there is anyone I want to get corrected by, it’s someone who uses “Dr” in their name on a blog site.

  • ossurworld

    How laughable when “concerned” people buy into the public relations campaign to sell a movie.

  • merkin

    Guys, this is an age-old tactic. The trans activist(s) who are organizing this “protest” full well there’s little merit to their claim. But by attaching themselves to Avatar, a film currently consuming the American pop-culture landscape, they’re getting some media attention. Every group from the NAACP to the Catholic League has employed this tactic. Now all those people who have “avatar” on their Google alerts will hear about this group.

    I understand their wish for more awareness of trans issues, but this is an unethical way to go about it.

  • Aaron Rowland

    This is the definition of overreaction.

  • mb00

    well I for one won’t be watching this movie…but not for the aforementioned reasons, but rather because it’s a sci-fi film. If you wanna bore me to sleep, show me anything sci-fi.

  • Distingue Traces

    To be fair, the blog appears to have been proofread since the semi-literate version quoted here was posted — an example that Queerty would do well to take to heart!

  • David Alex Nahmod

    When I was subjected to anti-gay hate not long ago, scores of LGBT “Equality advocates” laughed at me and told me to “get over it”.
    Instead, they jump on the bandwagon of nonsense like this.

    The entire movement has been hijacked by abusive, 5 year old bullies who’re too stupid to see that they’re holding all of us back.

  • Hal

    Best human/alien relationship ever is in GALAXY QUEST – MONK is getting it on with a hot Spock-esque chick, only to discover she’s actually a weird gender-neutral cephalapod under holographic “disguise”, and he gets even MORE into it when the tentacles start appearing! THAT is love among the stars…

  • D Hall

    Avatar is PRO-TRANSspecies migration, which IMHO is a far far larger step and far more queer than transgender changes. It requires suspension of disbelief running four layers thick at some times to make the story presented in Avatar possible. This is a sight and sounds action extravaganza it is not an ethnography.

    Avatar also presents us with a transgender-nature-deity Eywa who, while comprised partially of all the males (and females) of all the species of the planet is referred to in the feminine and I think she is also part tree

    Avatar is ANTI-AMERICAN simply due to the fact that there are no FAT Na’vi, they are all tall lithe athletic warrior-models.

  • Matt Baumgartner

    Um, no.

  • Remus

    I’m pretty sure the site is a parody of Poe’s Law (any sufficient extremism is indistinguishable from parody) ( It reminds me of Anti-Spore, a website that pretended to protest the computer game Spore for promoting evolution. They of course, revealed themselves with much lulz after the game was released (

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it was made by the same people.

  • Heff

    Come on! Is a MOVIE! Is made to entertain!

  • Tom

    Since when did we start evolving towards transgender? Being gay is a choice and it always will be. How would we propogate the human race if all of a sudden we all became gay? There is no thought to this line of reasoning. We are like this to continue the species as a whole, we are not going to evolve to be transgender in the slightest. What evolutionary advantage is there?

  • Wen

    Well, men might be extinct in the very far future, due to a weakness of the Y chromosome. Its an interesting read, almost sciencefiction (but it is not):

  • Wen

    @ Tom, its really not so difficult if everyone was gay. For procreation all you need is some sperm and a woman, insert the sperm (through a tube for instance) and voila.

  • Lara

    Evolution is scientific fact. With the passage of time, a species will evolve and will improve biologically. With the growing dangers of climate change it is clear that the human race will become Transgender to reduce its impact on the Earth. The “male/female” divide has created too many people, too much breeding, too much social conflict, too much waste and pollution. A transgender species will reduce redundancy and provide greater efficiency.

  • HaHaFuckYou

    hahahah fuck all you rotten, diseased queers and freaks! Go make your *own* movie…see how many people come to see it: NONE! LOLZ HAHAHAHAH

  • romeo

    Dear HaHa: All these movies are made by queers. Almost every single one of them. The writers, directors, actors, etc.. We just don’t tell you so we can fuck with your mind.

    Oh, and HaHa, we all know that tone in your post, it ALWAYS indicates a closet case. So, LOL to you too.

  • Michael

    It’s a flipping movie – get a bloody grip people! Jeezus

  • Sceth

    The protester’s spelling error robs him of credibility, now and forever.

  • Paul B.

    As a long time GLBT activist in Oklahoma City, I am annoyed at this. It is just a movie. Stop protesting a movie that will do nothing to actually promote equality – but do protest those Democrats (I am a Democrat before anyone starts bashing me) like President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who refuse to overturn DADT, DOMA, or schedule a vote on ENDA because they are too controversial for the 2010 election cycle.

    Protest the Republicans who have been hateful towards the GLBT community. Protest those states that have refused to allow gay marriage.

    The reason our community loses time and time again is because we choose to fight fights that have nothing to do with achieving what we all want – full equality. We waste time protesting movies or television shows instead of protesting and being active against our elected officials who time and time again see our community as an ATM machine and to be exploited.

    I am going to see AVATAR this afternoon and I will enjoy it sitting alongside my partner of 23 years. Part of winning battles is choosing the right battle to fight – this protest is not one of those winning situations.

  • romeo

    Saw this thing last night, and it’s an eye-popper. Art direction and technical work is where all the awards need to go. Story wise, it’s a remake of about every cavalry vs. indians movie made in the fifties.

    It’s also one of the GAYEST fucking things I’ve ever seen!!!
    What’s the fuss?

  • romeo

    Also, this movie will drive Christian nutbags INSANE! It’s totally Earth Mother-centric, Totally Wiccan.

    Go Gaia ! LOL

  • Teru

    Okay. I didn’t want to do this, but I read the comments on this (as well as the rubbish article) and I couldn’t stop myself.

    a) being queer or transgender will NOT make us more efficient or less hateful to each other- it’s human nature to categorize, monopolize and find fault with. Deal.

    b) nope. I’m not transgender, but I have nothing against people doing/being whatever they want- I just don’t think its fair to insinuate that the half or slightly more than half (I believe anyway) of the population that is straight is going to magically become gay or transgender. Dude- quit your fairy tales. I don’t personally think that the majority of the population is straight- homosexuality and I suppose bisexuality (and the transgender thing) have most likely been around since humanity evolved. Nothing wrong with that- keeps the population under control after all. But I do think that at least half of us or a bit more than that ( maybe 70%?) are straight, and always will be for the sake of natural procreation. Because honestly, inserting a plastic tube and squeezing isn’t really natural is it?

    c) we all need to stop getting are knickers in a twist over every bloody thing that everyone says. Just in general- to the article and to all the posters who are so well versed in human biology and such. Let’s be frank- none of us has even the faintest clue what humanity will be- in the future or even right now. part B of this post is ENTIRELY my opinion- completely unfounded, and just what I believe- but I think I can honestly say that all of us really need to either start a research team, get funded and actually figure this rubbish out or STFU, at least in attitude. We can’t predict it- just deal, half of us will be dead by then anyway.

    So that’s it- I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday, and all your happy sugar plums about the future visit you in your dreams, but frankly, I hope that the future or God or whatever deity you believe in or don’t believe in isn’t listening to us. He/she/it really shouldn’t take our word for it.

  • romeo

    Teru: read #28, one of the basic principles of evolution, which I paraphrased in popular terms. More or less agrees with you. LOL

  • Sue

    Wow, somebody really is biased against “hetrosexual” people. You can be a hater, gay or straight. This person really has issues and wants others to be like them. Very ethnocentric and biased.

  • r4i

    I want to suggest that Director James Cameron has once again reminded us why we go to the movies and why screens the size of the stories-tall Imax are still necessary.

  • GayBoi76

    I haven’t seen this film but the people boycotting it may have a point. Why assume that life on other planets follows the norms dictated by heterosexism? Why cant there be lgbt beings on other planets and why cant they be the majority instead of the minority? There is a lot at stake with this film because of the cost so it may be too much to ask that James Cameron make a film about LGBT aliens, but if it were to happen it would be exciting and refreshing to see.

  • Sparks

    First of all, no one gets to say anything (good or bad) about this movie until they’ve gone out to see it. And when you go to see it, try to experience it as Cameron intended. Unbiased. Thrill in the joy of the flight and allow yourselves to be lost in the scenery of a world completely unlike our own. The rest… well the rest doesn’t really matter. You go to see this movie for the scenery not the story; the movie could have been completely in unsubtitled gibberish to almost the same effect.

    Second of all, it goes right on past LGBT issues and into inter-species issues. On all sorts of levels.

    As for the debate itself, I’m going to have to agree with the opinions above and say that this isn’t the thing to choose a battle over. There are pleeeenty of other more pressing issues to rally over; pick one and go to it. As someone said, these people are only attaching to Avatar because it’s such a big movie that they’ll get some attention.

    I really like what Ben had to say at the beginning of this comments section. Someday I’d like to see a movie where alternate genders or relationships are present in the main characters but not the focus of the story… but we’re just not there yet. And for now, I think that’s ok, because mainstream media isn’t saying no- there’s just no one creating it. I’m willing to wait and help to gently direct the world around me towards the possibility.

    In my opinion, these people making fools of themselves with this nonsense protest aren’t helping the GLBT community… they’re hurting it.

  • movedeast

    Avatar takes place 144 years from now. How much evolutionary change in the human species do we expect to occur?

  • Wen

    *possible spoiler*!!!!

    Anti-violence (yes, even when there’s violence in it)

    Basically, what I got from the movie is real simple. Just accept your fellow human beings as they are, who they are, what they believe, how they live their lifes, and stay out of it, unless you have good to bring.

  • riotdoll

    from the standpoint of a queer asian transwoman:

    this’s the most batsh*t crazy argument I’ve ever read.

    There is clearly a point that people are missing: AVATAR is a science fantasy, bordering more on fantasy than science. Unlike films grounded in realism, as a fantasy movie, it bears ZERO obligation whatsoever to cater to concepts such as gender norms, evolution, or to even present a realistic depiction of primitive tribal life.

    It doesn’t owe us, the viewers, anything, because within the context of the film, the details simply do not matter. It’s a sci-fantasy film. congratulations on missing the point.

    @ #82: exactly!

  • Lonnie

    Anti-imperialism in 3-D

    There is much more to Avatar than the spectacular special effects, says Nagesh Rao.

    January 7, 2010

    AVATAR IS a visually stunning marvel of film technology, as many reviewers will tell you, but what really stands out in James Cameron’s newest film is its unabashed critique of corporate greed and its inspiring tale of solidarity and resistance against occupation.

    Set on a distant planet called Pandora, Avatar re-enacts the genocide of indigenous populations by colonial capitalism, and links this history to the rapacious resource wars of our own times. The film is not a moralistic wringing of hands that relies on “white-guilt fantasies” as some commentators have claimed; rather, it is an uncompromising defense of the principle of self-determination and the right to resist exploitation and plunder.

    Listing some of Cameron’s blockbuster films–The Abyss, Aliens, the Terminator films and The Titanic–is enough to remind us that we are dealing with a master of visual effects technology. Fans of his earlier work won’t be disappointed with Avatar’s special effects–the 3-D version in particular is a breathtaking experience. As the New York Times reviewer Manohla Dargis writes:

    This isn’t the 3-D of the 1950s or even contemporary films, those flicks that try to give you a virtual poke in the eye with flying spears. Rather, Mr. Cameron uses 3-D to amplify the immersive experience of spectacle cinema…After a few minutes the novelty of people and objects hovering above the row in front of you wears off, and you tend not to notice the 3-D, which speaks to the subtlety of its use…

    Similarly, we find ourselves dazzled by the brilliantly rendered planet of Pandora, replete with bioluminescent flora and fauna, ethereal floating mountains and touch-me-nots that look like giant seashells. All of this, no doubt, represents advances in special effects not seen since the Wachowski brothers invented “Bullet Time” for The Matrix, and Peter Jackson brought Gollum to life in The Lord of the Rings. Only the most jaded and cynical of moviegoers would deny Cameron’s accomplishments in this area.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    HOWEVER, FOR all the gushing praise that Cameron has received from critics for the film’s technological accomplishments, reviewers have been less enthusiastic about Avatar’s political message. Some of them seem to be so dazzled by the spectacle that they don’t even notice its ideological significance.

    In the New York Times, Ross Douthat dismisses it as a “long apologia for pantheism–a faith that equates God with Nature.” Similarly, while Dargis’ review acknowledges the film’s “anti-corporate message,” she seems unmoved by its uncompromising anti-imperialist message.

    On the other hand, left-wing critics have panned the film’s politics for its director’s “banal and conformist outlook” (David Walsh’s review at and as “a fantasy about race told from the point of view of white people” (Annalee Newitz’s much-circulated post for the sci-fi Web site

    Let’s concede a couple of points at the outset. James Cameron isn’t Gillo Pontecorvo, and Avatar is no Battle of Algiers. It’s a popular science fiction thriller, and a damn good one at that. It thus conforms to some of the conventions of the genre, employing stock characters like the mercenary Col. Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), and predictable plotlines such as the romance that ensures a happy ending.

    No doubt the dialogue is, at times, contrived and clichéd, and the film could have used a better script. Nevertheless, its narrative arc is compelling, and the transformation of its central character, disabled marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), is convincing.

    Jake is your archetypal warrior hero, except for his disability (he is paralyzed from the waist down), which draws sneers from the other marines (one refers to him as “meals on wheels”). When we first encounter him, he is awakened from a state of hibernation in the gravity-free environment of a spaceship. Here, as the characters hover and float around, we fail to notice Jake’s paralysis.

    When we see him in his wheelchair for the first time, his comrades taunt him, and we see, through his eyes and from his perspective, the mammoth scale of the war machines and armaments being deployed by the mercenary forces on Pandora.

    His disability, in other words, isn’t incidental. It’s central to his character, because his disability marks him out as an underdog among the top dogs, so to speak. His disability sets him apart as someone who might not necessarily conform to all that he sees around him. Moreover, as the plot unfolds, we learn that his colonel is trying to hold him hostage to his disability, promising him the use of his legs in return for acting as the colonel’s stooge.

    Early in the film, we learn that Jake cannot afford the medical care he needs to be able to walk again, and that although he isn’t looking forward to the mission on Pandora, he can do little else, given the state of the economy.

    White man though he is, Jake Sully is nevertheless himself a victim of oppression. And crucially, Jake’s liberation is contingent upon his identification with the natives of Pandora, the Na’vi, a tribe of 12-feet tall, blue-skinned humanoids with prehensile tails.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    IN THIS sense, Avatar can’t simply be dismissed as a “white man’s guilt” narrative, as Annalee Newitz does in her post on the sci-fi Web site Newitz rightly points out that the trope of the white man who “goes native” is an old one, which has its origins in European colonial ideology.

    Sure enough, as Newitz points out, in contemporary Western culture in general and Hollywood in particular, the fantasy of “going native” often ends with the white man not only assimilating into the “native” culture, but emerging as their leader in their quest for salvation or liberation from some oppressive force or circumstance. Think here of films as diverse as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Last Samurai and City of God.

    Certainly, Jake feels conflicted and guilty about what his comrades are about to do to the Na’vi and to Pandora. And certainly, this is at least partially a result of his falling in love with Nyteri (Zoe Saldana), the female Na’vi warrior. And yes, Jake’s avatar emerges as the leader of the Na’vi in their struggle against the human plunderers. But surely this in itself is insufficient grounds to condemn the film as just so much unreconstructed Orientalism.

    By plugging into the avatar, Jake’s consciousness is quite literally embodied in the “other”; in this sense, he comes closer to genuine empathy with the Na’vi than can be realistically conceived (hence the term “science fiction”). If we grant this central premise of the film, then it seems to me somewhat churlish to suggest that Jake Sully is nothing but a 21st century T.E. Lawrence or Indiana Jones.

    Furthermore, Jake’s Na’vi self initially rebels against the human incursion into Pandora as an act of self-preservation. He attacks the giant bulldozers that arrive on the scene while he is asleep (and back in his human incarnation) with a desperation that the audience can identify with, as they seem intent on mowing down everything in their path, including Jake and Nyteri.

    It’s not too much of a stretch to suggest that the bulldozers destroying the Na’vi forests are like the Israeli bulldozers in occupied Palestine, and that Jake’s defiance of them is like the courageous stance of activists like Rachel Corrie.

    By slow degrees, Jake comes to identify with the “other” and their way of life. Once he becomes fully aware of the mercenary calculations of the corporation that will stop at nothing in its bid to extract the precious “unobtanium,” Jake switches sides, as do the team of scientists led by the strong-willed Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver). To suggest that this act is little more than a demonstration of “white man’s guilt” is, I think, to render meaningless the idea of solidarity.

    Jake’s speech rallying the Na’vi, and calling on them to reach out to the other tribes reminded me of Tecumseh and of later anti-colonial revolutionaries who rallied diverse colonized peoples against their common oppressors. The conclusion of the film, which shows the chastened humans being escorted back to their waiting spaceship, just as surely harkens back to the images of the withdrawal of the defeated American forces from Vietnam.

    In the context of the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, this is cultural dynamite. And in the context of Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize lecture on “just war,” Jake Sully’s wry admission is timely: “I was a soldier who tried to bring peace, but sooner or later everyone has to wake up.”

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    ANOTHER ELEMENT of the film’s anti-imperialism that critics seem to have missed is its subtle criticism of the negative historical role played by anthropologists and other social scientists working for colonial powers. Grace and her team of scientists are employed by the same corporate entity that has hired Col. Quaritch and his trigger-happy mercenaries.

    In this respect, the scientists in the film are like those employed by the U.S. Army’s “Human Terrain System,” whose stated purpose is to “improve the military’s ability to understand the highly complex local socio-cultural environment in the areas where they are deployed.”

    But Grace is no military lackey, and her team’s meticulous attention to the scientific project, as well as their moral and ethical sensibilities drive them to oppose Col. Quaritch and their corporate sponsor, in the form of Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi). The film’s insistence that the aims of social science can’t be reconciled with those of imperialism stands in stark contrast to the complicity of academics currently involved in the Human Terrain System program.

    Like most sci-fi films, Avatar offers a withering critique of the world that we live in. But unlike most recent sci-fi films, it is filled with a utopianism that we haven’t seen in a while. Is this a nostalgic longing for lost innocence? By presenting the Na’vi and their way of life as akin to indigenous cultures destroyed by colonialism, does the film run the risk of grasping at an irrecoverable past?

    Perhaps here too Avatar offers more than at first meets the eye. There is something undeniably futuristic about Pandora itself, where flora and fauna alike are interconnected as if part of one gigantic neural network. The network of energy that binds everything on Pandora is ultimately responsible for Jake’s resurrection as his Na’vi avatar.

    The process that transfers his consciousness from his human body to his Na’vi body seems to involve millions of tendrils that resemble tiny optical fibers. Interestingly enough, this postmodern, high-tech aesthetic stands in stark contrast to the decidedly modernist, industrial design of the humans’ arms and armaments, which recalls the gritty and clunky aesthetic of Battlestar Galactica.

    Such utopianism in our time might seem unjustified, if not incongruous, but it is certainly a breath of fresh air. There are those who will squirm at the film’s obvious references to our contemporary reality (as when the campaign against the Na’vi is referred to as “shock and awe”), and those who will wince at its sometimes clumsy dialogue.

    But there’s no denying that millions of moviegoers around the world are flocking to a film that unflinchingly indicts imperialism and corporate greed, defends the right of the oppressed to fight back, and holds open the potential for solidarity between people on opposite sides of a conflict not of their choosing.

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    Review: Movies
    Avatar [1], written and directed by James Cameron, starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang.

  • Ann

    Really? This is ridiculous. Everyone these days are so worried about being politically correct. People are suppressing the majority to make the minority happy. Its unfair. THIS IS A MOVIE. IT IS BASED OFF OF SOMEONES IMAGINATION. If you are really that upset go and convince a screen writer to write up a script about of homosexual,transgender friendly movie.

  • Wen

    @83 riotdoll, I had not seen your comment until now. It was real cool to discover yesterday, James Cameron’s message of the movie is ‘to respect that people are different’. Thats the exact thing I got from the movie. This inlcudes all people, homosexuals, transgenders, too (although the movie didnt depict transgenderism, nor homosexuality). But, we are all included. That was the point and that we deserve respect for who we are and give respect to others that are different (from us).

  • gill 12

    —It’s 2010. Will some non-sycophant PLEASE call
    out the long rich, five times corrupted, and aging —FAST
    Cameron on his and Hollywood’s decades of enmeshment
    with the most awesomely genocidal regime history has
    EVER seen —across the Pacific! STONE COLD FACT

    I mean, looking the other way on the murder of 70
    million people in the name of cheap credit and VAST
    market access for his circle-jerk wampum is sort of

    ——-AH! but then we realize Hollywood’s been
    enabling and covering for our own Boomer on down
    legacy of 45 million exterminations of the unborn
    (—largely in the name of ‘lifestyle and convenience).

    ——–I take it back. -Everything’s just —FINE!

  • zombieland

    this blogger is an idiot.

    by the same logic any movie with a sexual theme could be offensive so some group of people out there.

  • zombieland


    you have no idea what you’re talking about. On the contrary, this movie is clearly ANTI white entitlement, and anti war for that matter.

  • Sandra Michelli

    As a transsexual woman and environmental analyst I have another interpretation of this film, read on my Blog:

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