When eight-year-old Layla Murphy began to get bullied for her love of "Star Wars," the 501st Legion used the Force to show her a new hope by gathering together and showing her support (via CNN).
The trouble started when Layla, who lives in Norfolk, Virginia, transferred schools. According to her mother Nicolette Molina, the girls at the new school teased Layla's love of "Star Wars" and told her it was for boys. "Layla started coming home more quiet and less of herself, and started asking not to wear her shirts or R2-D2 jacket," Molina explained. "She was asked if she was turning into a boy."
The 501st Legion came to the rescue after photos of her at a fan convention with "Star Wars" fan Jason Tuttle, a member of the group, surfaced online. Tuttle took to the group's Facebook page to encourage Layla and sent her patches, stickers and trading cards to show her support.
"A lot of the Star Wars community and fans are supportive, and a lot of the females can relate and had similar experiences in their own childhoods," said Molina, though not everyone was so supportive. She recounted how some parents outside of the "Star Wars" community suggested that she and Layla's father should have instilled more confidence in her through their own parenting.
However, the 501st Legion's help has boosted Layla's confidence, and she now feels comfortable in her stormtrooper uniform. She even got a chance to meet "Weird Al" Yankovic, singer of Star Wars parodies "Yoda" and "The Saga Begins." Nowadays, Layla enjoys surprising people who assume she is a boy underneath her stormtrooper mask.