Every time you say “It’s good that Dumbledore’s sexuality wasn’t mentioned in the books because it means he wasn’t defined by it,” you are saying something horrible about the queer people in your life. You are saying something horrible TO them. You’re telling them that once you know they’re gay—once you know a guy has a boyfriend or a woman has a wife or whatever—that’s ALL they are to you. You’re announcing that the knowledge of a sexual orientation other than what you expect as the default will completely dominate every aspect of a person’s existence in your mind.
So keep saying it. We need to know who to avoid.
She wrote him as a believable (albeit magical) character. Real life people generally don’t work like this: “blah blah blah oh yeah I’m gay blah blah blah did I tell you I’m gay?”
Yeah, she could have hinted at it by throwing in a past boyfriend (though that would be really out of nowhere unless she replaced a character here or there which, in fairness, would work pretty much just as well) or having someone mention it in passing or something, but she didn’t. Because usually sexuality doesn’t come up in conversation unless you make it come up in conversation.
And no. I’m not saying it from the perspective of a straight person. Literally, unless someone has specifically been talking about sexuality, I’ve never felt the need to turn around to people and say “hey, I went out with this girl, did I tell you I’m pansexual? Because I am.” And how did you find this fact out? Because you brought it up in conversation.
People don’t just run around shouting about how they’re bisexual or gay or lesbian or asexual or anything else. No one does that. It’s not what people - realistically - do. Why should it be any different in a book?
See, being gay (or, more accurately, not being straight) isn’t a personality trait. Dumbledore is a believable but eccentric character. Eccentricity is a personality trait, so it was brought up. It was hinted at. Gay isn’t. So it wasn’t. Because you need to go out of the way to point it out. And, to be entirely honest, if J.K. wrote in “Dumbledore’s gay and no one cares, isn’t that great?!” I’d feel so patronised. I don’t care who’s genitalia he goes for (if any) or if people couldn’t give less of a shit. It’s patonising to go out of the way to point out that “ooh magical land where no one cares because you’re such a good wizard!”
And besides, the Harry Potter series got enough stick from rabid crazies who were convinced they were evil because ERMAHGERD WIZERDZ! There’d be mass book burnings if she pointed out that the headmaster of this EEEEEEVIL wizard school was also gay. I’d rather she just not point it out than watch the backlash from some ignorant fucks.
So yeah. Sorry, but it is good she didn’t point out that he’s gay. The fact no one pointed it out shows they didn’t mind/care about him being gay. No one pointed him out as ‘the gay Hogwarts Headmaster’ because he was just ‘the Hogwarts Headmaster’ to them. If you want a world in which people don’t care who you slip into bed with (and if you don’t then there’s something very wrong with you because I don’t know why anyone should care) then you shouldn’t react with hostility when someone writes a world were people’s reaction to sexuality is pretty much “ok, so?” You need to accept when someone writes a fictional world with a positive attitude towards sexuality with characters who, you know, don’t make a huge song and dance out of who another character wants to fuck.
But here are some people for whom sexuality came up in conversation - this is off the top of my head: Fred Weasley, George Weasley, Ron Weasley, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Viktor Krum, Cedric Diggory, Cho Chang, Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, Lavender Brown, Molly Weasley, Arthur Weasley, James Potter, Lily Potter, Severus Snape, Merope Gaunt. There are thousands of words about canon heterosexual relationships, but literally zero about any queer people at all.
Here’s how to write homosexual characters:
Dean started to dash off to Transfiguration, but thought better of it and planted a kiss on Seamus’s cheek before quite sauntering down the second-floor corridor
Here’s how to write bisexual characters:
Parvati waved goodbye to Lavender and grabbed another toast soldier.
'Cor, Patil, how're you going with her without getting your face snogged off?' Ron grumbled.
Parvati fixed Ron with a stare. ‘You know, Weasley, she calms down rather a lot if you pay any sort of attention to her.’
Here’s how to write asexual characters:
'So, Luna,' stammered Neville, running a hand through his hair in an attempt to sound suave, 'are any suitors knocking down your door?'
'Impossible,' she replied after a pause, 'the anti-Horklump charms should prevent that. Besides, I've never seen anyone I find attractive, so unless they're knocking for cuddles and their names begin with 'Gin' or 'Nev', it's a fool's errand.' She blinked twice, airily, before casting a glance at an increasingly pink Longbottom.
Here’s how to write trans characters:
'I was just so excited when the letter came addressed to “Hermione” instead of to my grandfather's dreadful old name. Somehow Hogwarts just KNEW!'
Here’s how to write bigender characters:
'It's “Ms” today, actually,' interjected Charlie.
'Ms Weasley,' Filch continued, 'it is wholly inappropriate to be carrying live newts inside the castle proper without a regulation case.'
I could do more, but you probably get the point - that far more effort has been expended establishing characters in Harry Potter as heterosexual than would ever have to be expended establishing queer characters. We were cheated with Dumbledore. Retroactively, extratextually establishing him as gay is the bare minimum that Rowling could have done with her series.
Addressing two of feraldash’s points directly:
- if you can’t tell the difference between SHOUTING that you’re pansexual and indicating that you’re pansexual through context clues, you really need to go back to middle school. It is incredibly patronizing to reduce concerns about an utter lack of queer representation to a straw man argument that no one was shouting it from the rooftops.
- Firstly, the vast majority of people protesting Harry Potter for depictions of wizards are neither rabid nor crazy, they’re just Christian. If you are a Christian, you need to own up to the trash that was spawned by the same holy texts and theology that spawned you, and you need to pick that trash up. If you are an atheist, shame on you for conflating mental illness and religiosity. Go sit in the shame cube. If you’re something else, go sit in your own religion’s shame cube.
Secondly, there were ALREADY LITERAL BOOK BURNINGS. It couldn’t get significantly worse than it already was. And if a) fear of imagined backlash or b) concern about not selling an additional 4 million copies or something are preventing you from including explicit queer characters, I hope you beach yourself on the curb every time you try to parallel park.
Anyway, your response indicates that you didn’t actually read the OP at ALL. 1/10, horrible post.
reblogging this again because of the awesome commentary by freezepeachinspector
THOSE EXAMPLES THOUGH
PETITION FOR PREEZEPEACHINSPECTOR TO REWRITE THE HP BOOKS
I love these examples though~
I began reading and felt that horrible, acid, burning sensation in stomach I get whenever I see homophobic asshole potterheads ranting about how we should all just shut up and be grateful for Dumbledore.
But then….then there was freezepeachinspector and all was right with the world.
Bless you freezepeachinspector, bless you.