Monday, October 22, 2007
Dumbledore is gay?
Full disclosure here: I've written a young adult fantasy novel, which I will submit to my publsher soon, in which a young girl runs away from home and washes up on the sparkling shores of pre-AIDS Castro street. She and the gay man who takes her in are the two main characters in the book, the heroes. Though I think the book is very good, I have some concerns that a major publishing house with a family-values reputation (hint: it's the same one that published Harry Potter) will be reluctant to publish a young peoples book, however good it may be, that not only accepts, but heroizes gay men and the culture of joy and openness they created, in that time and place.
So back to the good professor Dumbledore. How is it that, in seven books and four gazillion pages of text, Rowling neglected to tell us that, as she said last night in Carnegie Hall, "Dumbledore is gay," and that he was "smitten" with Gellert Grindlewald, who he fought in a battle between good and evil. She went on to add that "his love was his great tragedy." There are so many things I want to say here: homosexual love = great tragedy?; his great love also happens to be a stand-in for evil?; if his love, and loss of it, are his great tragedy, then would the grief of that not somehow have motivated, or at least informed, his self sacrifice at the end of the series?; did the fear of losing, say, 5% of your richer-than-god sales to a few homophobes keep you from telling us, your many fans? These are all deep questions that, no doubt, Rowling will have to answer somehow, somewhere. But really, my main and completely self-interested question is: Why didn't you step up to the plate, show Dumbledore in all his multiplicity of selves - hero, Christ figure, teacher, protector, gay man - so that generations of little witches and wizards and readers could have had him as a fully fleshed out character? And - in very open self interest here - perhaps, if she had, my little book would be a little less scary to publish.
A few final notes. If Dumbledore is gay, then McGonigle's definitely a lesbian and I don't buy for a minute that he would have had that desperately shaggy beard. Though the dress was good.