Dumbledore is gay…and but so?

Todd has important questions in response to J.K. Rowling’s recent pronouncement that Professor Dumbledore is gay:

So while I understand Rowling’s argument that her books are a “prolonged argument for tolerance,” and I think she had good intentions, in 2007 we are far beyond the time when a sympathetic gay character should be closeted and sexless (and surely Ian McLellan has proved that older gay men are still vital and sexual). Given where the UK is right now in the integration of gay men and women into British society, this is a step backward. I don’t want to be too harsh, here, but ultimately Dumbledore’s narrative turns into sycophantism: How do you write a gay character in a children’s book without freaking the hell out of their conservative retrograde parents? What would Dumbledore have been like had he had a partner (dead or living), if he’d discussed love with Harry or Hermione at appropriate moments? Would it have undermined his position at the center of Goodness in the book? No. If Rowling’s intention is an argument for tolerance, it is a weak whimper of a statement, at least where gay men are concerned.

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2 responses to “Dumbledore is gay…and but so?

  • zoot

    I dunno – Todd writes “What would Dumbledore have been like had he had a partner (dead or living), if he’d discussed love with Harry or Hermione at appropriate moments?” Partnered and thoughts on love have value in the book (or not), I would think, equally if he is a gay character or a straight character, no? If Todd thinks that was missing, it was missing regardless of his gender preference. I didn’t think it was missing – if dumbledore waxed on love I might well have found it forced… although I don’t know, as he didn’t. Quite frankly, I like it that it was a non-issue. We don’t out our characters as straight, right? we leave it unstated unless it’s relevant for the story. Rowling wrote a character she felt was gay and let him be that, exactly, one would think, as she would have done if he was straight. She didn’t discuss Professor McGonagall’s sexual preference, although presumably she has one, no doubt because it wasn’t relevant to the story. If she had trotted out Dumbledore’s gayness wouldn’t she then be writing “a story with a gay character” rather than a book in which one of the characters happens to be gay, as some of the characters happen to be straight.

    Know what I mean?

  • lidia

    well, if you read the last book and you see how tortured his description is surrounding how “taken” he was by the stunningly crafty G., and you pay particular attention to what his two main regrets in life are–the death of his sister, which he may have caused, and the way he fell for G. and then had to fight him in order to stop him from total destruction, the love story is pretty obvious.

    as are most things in the potter mega epic.

    no shock on my end.

    dude. i just felt TOTALLY validated.

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