So Dumbledore’s gay. Enough said, right? Yeah, not really. J. K. Rowling’s proclamation has been met with mixed reactions. There are those that love it, those that hate it, and those who refuse to see it as canon regardless of love or hate. The best I can figure about the canon thing is that some people, like this guy here, believe that since the story is completed, anything J. K. Rowling says about the characters is not fact within the universe, unless it was stated before the release of the last book. One argument behind this is fanfiction. But I digress, as this post isn’t about the validity of J. K. Rowling’s words or not; it is about Dumbledore and his sexuality, but it’s also about the reactions to it.
It should come as no surprise that the outrage of certain groups—mostly Christian ones—made itself heard after Dumbledore’s outing. I’ve even heard people around me say that they wouldn’t mind Dumbledore being gay if it didn’t make his relationship with Harry weird, as if a homosexual man can’t possibly have a fatherly relationship with a child without pedophilia being involved somehow. Because as we all know everywhere, not being heterosexual makes people attracted to minors. I’m sure there’s some underlining stereotype cemented into the sub-consciousness of massive amounts of people everywhere fueling this collective thought.
And being someone who has been accused of pedophilia for being something other than straight, yeah, I have some issues with this mindset.
So many things just don’t add up when calling someone a pedophile for being gay, especially because -philias and sexualities are two very separate things that do not impact each other. By this logic, a straight woman shouldn’t be allowed around her male children because she might touch them. And we shouldn’t have male coaches for middle-school girls’ basketball teams.
J. K. Rowling actually called attention to this in Deathly Hallows during Rita Skeeter’s articles. The point of that was to show how ridiculous it was.
Also surrounding this controversy is the religion behind it. So many Christians have come out saying they wished J. K. Rowling never said that because it’s damaging, or that they’re happy she said it because it further proves that the books are against God. Here’s a quote I found on Wikipedia by a Berit Kjos:
My first response was, “Thank you, Lord,” because this helps us show others that these books should not be used in the churches to illustrate Christianity. Because Dumbledore has been revealed as a homosexual, it helps me communicate my message. It helps Christians who are concerned about the use of Harry Potter books in churches, because it makes it very clear that these books are not intended to be Christian, that Rowling isn’t speaking as a Christian. She has introduced values that are contrary to the Biblical message.
Apparently now the very act of being gay is wrong. Reading the books, I can’t seem to find one single moment in which Dumbledore acted out on his attractions to other men or engaged in anything sexual. He’s a pretty chaste guy. Arguments like this enforce the idea that gay people shouldn’t even exist, because by existing they’re a bad influence, regardless of whether or not they engage their desires.
A John Granger commented this:
The media presentation of the event as Ms. Rowling’s endorsement of homosexuality and an anti-faith agenda was straight from Rita Skeeter’s notebook and part of their endless campaign to convince the public that Ms. Rowling is the enemy of their enemy, namely, the Church; the anguished and disappointed response of many Christian readers to these reports was also according to Culture War formula and in keeping with a hyper-extended understanding of the word gay. “Dumbledore is gay” no more makes the books an invitation to homosexuality or contrary to orthodox Christian belief than Sorcerer’s Stone made them a “gateway to the occult.”
Other Christians were also quick to argue that Dumbledore being gay kept in line with Christian doctrine, because the relationship between him and Grindlewald had bad results.
If J. K. Rowling had come out and said that she always thought of McGonagall as straight, I assure you, no one would say anything, because to many people being straight is “normal”. No one questions the other professors’ involvement with the students based on their sexuality, so it makes no sense for them to question Dumbledore’s.
This kind of outrage and reaction just makes me wish for more homosexual characters in fiction. I personally never really liked Dumbledore to begin with, but yeah, fiction is heavily dominated by heterosexual protagonists, and for such a long time gay characters were simply stereotypes. What makes me love Dumbledore in this regard is that he was written first and foremost as a person, because that’s what everyone is despite their sexuality.