A young Virginia girl has been the target of bullying from her female schoolmates for expressing her love of Star Wars. Layla Murphy, 8, is a huge Star Wars fan, along with other “geek” properties, like the Guardians of the Galaxy. The schoolgirls picked on her for liking “boy things” and experienced pressure from them to conform to more girl-like things. The taunting by the other kids crushed the superfan, hurting her feelings and lowering her self-esteem. The 501st Legion, a Star Wars-themed group who attends various cons and events, caught wind of this story and set out to do something about it.
Here is the tweet from the 501st Legion that changed a young girl’s outlook and renewed the solidity of fans everywhere:
Layla is yet another young girl who was teased at school for liking Star Wars amongst other “boy” things. As a result of the bullying, Layla began to lose herself. She stopped wanting to wear her R2-D2 jacket and Guardians of the Galaxy shirt out of fear of being ridiculed. 501st Garrison Tyranus led the charge and rallied messages of support from #501st members all over the world to encourage Layla to be herself. Taking it one step further, Layla became the next recipient of the custom Stormtrooper armor originally built for another girl (Katie Goldman) who was in a similar situation. After suiting up, Layla was whisked away to meet “Weird Al” Yankovic at a local concert where 501st members were participating on stage. This excited young #StarWars fan now proudly carries the trading cards of her 501st supporters in a Chewbacca backpack and can’t wait for the next opportunity to troop in armor. Her favorite part of wearing the costume? She loves when people say, “What a cute little boy!” only to discover that there’s a girl under that helmet!
It is refreshing to see what a community of fans will do for one another amidst diversity and sad behaviors like bullying. This was a step in the right direction against bullying and for all of fandom.