If you haven’t heard yet, Dumbledore is gay.

My thoughts on this:

  • Considering he is a fictional character and JK Rowling had complete power over the story, why did he have to be a closet queer? It’s not like she would have lost fans… if the boycott by the fundamentalist Christian Right didn’t make a dent in her fandom, I think things would have been okay with Dumbledore being gay..
  • The last book in the series was completely about Dumbledore. By not mentioning that he was gay in the book, are you saying sexuality or queer identity doesn’t have any impact on who we are, the way we see the world, they way we are treated, etc.?
  • The question JK Rowling was asked was whether Dumbledore had ever experienced true love and the answer was basically “oh yeah, by the way, Dumbledore was gay.” What is the connection between a person being queer and whether they’ve experienced love?

I know it’s just a book, but it bothers me the way we’re supposed to be grateful or something…


Here is an editorial that was in TIME Magazine.



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9 responses to “dumbledore

  1. Dumbledore’s family came into the final book and some of his history. But his romances and the more personal side of his post Hogwarts life didn’t come into it. I think it just isn’t/wasn’t part of the story. I suspect that this is sort of like disability identity/culture issues – if you’re not disabled or don’t live in that world you can’t truly understand them and the same would probably be true here.

  2. I tried to read a Harry Potter book once. I don’t know why (I was probably very, very bored). The writing style was so awful that i couldn’t read more than a couple of pages.

    I think really good things could have been done with the concept, just not by such a crap writer…

    I would recommend Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy for a much, much better fantasy-with-pubescent-protagonists series. Not really much in the way of queer or crip politics, but his take on religion and authority is *incredibly* subversive considering how much “mainstream” acceptance his books have got…

    That reminds me, i need to re-watch and then analyse the queer/crip politics of the X-Men films…

    (BTW sorry for not replying to your email yet, i will soon… please do comment on my recent blog posts if you feel like it, i’m feeling a bit despondent that no one has commented on them…)

  3. I don’t read Harry Potter (sorry fans, I just don’t get it), but I was actually far more annoyed than impressed when I heard this. If it had been revealed and dealt with in the book, it would have been great. The fact that it wasn’t just screams BULLSHIT to me.

    And yeah, it’s absolute bullshit that Rowling might have considered that it wouldn’t have had an impact on his life. And it’s bullshit that you don’t disclose major parts of a character’s identity. From what I understand, the books are told from a third person, omniscient perspective, right? So we sometimes know what the characters are thinking, etc? (Please, correct me if I’m wrong). If this is the case, sure it’s possible that he could have stayed closeted his whole life. But the narrator never felt the need to bring it up? To me, it seems sort of like Rowling saying “oh, by the way, Harry was black!” It makes no sense, and I think that it actually speaks to more prejudice pointing out such a crucial aspect of the character after the fact and pretending like it’s some kind of inclusivity.

  4. kissmypineapple

    I read all of the books (ravenously) and I wasn’t remotely surprised by this “revelation” at all. To me, it seemed like the sort of thing where if Rowling did prequels, it would be interesting to explore that aspect of Dumbledore, but the sexual orientation of the head master (or of any of the teachers, save Snape, because of his involvement with Harry’s mother) had nothing to do with Harry’s struggles or with Voldemort. It would have been sort of out of the blue to work that one detail about Dumbledore into the greater fabric of the story (beyond what she already described regarding his relationship with Grindewald), b/c whom he loved didn’t affect whether or not Harry was prepared to face Voldemort. I’d not thought about Dumbledore’s sexuality, before, and I really think her correction to the script had more to do with her having way more backstory to every character than she could have put on a page. If he was always gay to her, than it would ring false for him to be put on screen as being hetero, and it simpy wouldn’t be true to character, and that I would agree with. If I saw a movie with Dumbledore reminiscing about a woman, it would have rung false to me, even without an explicit announcement that he was gay.

    But then, I’m heterosexual, and I’m willing to accept that I am possibly just used to my privilege of reading about heterosexual characters and that’s why it didn’t outrage me.

  5. I’m pretty annoyed by this too. To me, it seems kind of cowardly for her to wait until now to say that Dumbledore is gay. The reality is that there aren’t enough evangelicals to mount a significant boycott of Rowling’s work. However, I’d imagine that there are far more than enough homophobes to put a serious dent in her financial bottom line. She drained the kid market of nearly every dime that she could. Now, that the major sales are behind her, I think that pitching Dumbledore as gay is simply a way to stretch things out even further and increase the marketing ability of the series without incurring the wrath of those who, even though they have no hang-ups about fictional wizardry, are NOT about to let their kids get “corrupted” by GAY characters being portrayed as heroes.

    I’m just not impressed by this at all. If she had said so sooner, like before she finished the series, then I might have felt differently about it.

  6. Word…you (and the TIME editorial) say it well.

  7. I felt much the same – Gayprof also does a retty good analysis.

  8. Is this the link you were talking about? I haven’t read gayprof before and it’s what came up on google 🙂

  9. Warning, these are definitely rolling thoughts—

    I *guess* I can understand where some people are saying Dumbledore’s sexuality doesn’t have anything to do with the story, particularly since it’s from Harry’s perspective and students don’t often think about their teachers… but then I think about how relationships and love were all over the book. And then I think about how intricate Dumbledore’s character was. And then I think about how identifying as queer isn’t just sexuality but identity and how big a role is does play in one’s life.
    If she couldn’t have made Dumbledore gay in the book, she could have made one of the students queer. It’s weird for a school to be so accepting of other types of diversity (or at least Harry and his friends)and not have any openly queer characters in their circles.

    And to say that maybe they were closet queers all over the place really desexualizes them because she didn’t feel like she could talk about it. But then I’m a semi-closet queer myself..

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