Dumbledore Was Gay or Is Gay?

The easiest type of admission or revelation happens after the fact. Oh, btw I was on steroids, now that I already have the medal, Read my lips: no new taxes, etc. How much of a cultural milestone should it be that J.K. Rowling has retroactively made one of her major characters a homosexual? To me it seems too easy, and rather manipulative. Sure, you are the author, why not say that Harry had AIDS, Hermoine had a secret abortion, Ron often thought about the effects of Global Warming? These are modern hot button issues that, if tackled, give some instant credibility to the author. In fact the reason I never got into the series (well, past the first book) was that it seemed essentially a safe, well-written children’s book, nothing to challenge my preconceived notions about society.

John Cloud puts it well:

Why couldn’t he tell us himself? The Potter books add up to more than 800,000 words before Dumbledore dies in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and yet Rowling couldn’t spare two of those words—”I’m gay”—to help define a central character’s emotional identity? We can only conclude that Dumbledore saw his homosexuality as shameful and inappropriate to mention among his colleagues and students. His silence suggests a lack of personal integrity that is completely out of character.

I don’t know why this should be applauded. Yes, it’s nice to have a major contemporary fictional figure who is gay, but I wish he were not so ashamed of it.

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