Big Gay Al’s Big Gay Brouhaha
The Great Dumbledore Kerfuffle is still a-ragin’. Ironically enough, it’s not so much about “Oh how horrible that kindly old Dumbledore’s a sodomite! I can never enjoy the books again!” — though there is a touch of that, in one instance being expressed, ironically enough, by someone who does pics of naked male HP characters in bathtubs.
The bogus “amorality” angle aside — really, if there’s anything at all amoral about Rowling or her books, it’s her default tendency to associate good with good-looking, especially if the character’s a Gryffindor — the two biggest bones of contention I’ve seen are: “Why didn’t she make this explicitly clear in the books as opposed to a Q-and-A session?” and “I didn’t see any evidence for this in the books, so why doesn’t she just shut up? From now on, nothing she says counts as canon! Yeah, that’ll show her!“
As for the first bone: Dumbledore’s gayness should have been stated more explicitly, and it wouldn’t have needed to be X-rated, either — when Harry dips his head into the Pensieve in Goblet of Fire, perhaps he could have encountered a memory of young Albus and young Gellert sharing a first kiss. There are some hints, particularly in the last and most adult book of the series: There are the letters that flew (literally, being carried by owls) between the young men, and we even see Albus declare that he’s glad that Gellert was expelled from the school he’d been attending because otherwise he and Gellert would have never met. There’s a letter from Lily, Harry’s mother, where she states (in a classic case of HP foreshadowing) that she’s been told that Dumbledore and Grindelwald had been friends but that the very idea is laughable to her. But there could have been more: If Rowling can have Molly Weasley call Bellatrix Lestrange a bitch, she can at least have Albus and Gellert gazing tenderly into each other’s eyes.
As for the second bone, well —
In defense of Rowling, the great author Neil Gaiman said that people just don’t realize how much backstory authors create for their characters. Only a small fraction of it ends up on the printed page. So the whole “If Scholastic or Bloomsbury didn’t print it, it’s not canon even if JKR said it is” is just so much whining. (What’s really funny is how much of this whining is coming from writers of fan fiction, and what is fan fiction if not mucking about with canon?)
Meanwhile, back in the real(?) world, Rowling has not only confirmed her Carnegie Hall revelation, but revealed also that Dumbledore’s coming out had encouraged at least one real-life gay person to do the same. And that for me is reason enough for her to have spoken out now. Just think how many more people might have been encouraged to leave the closet, had she spoken out earlier by explicitly outing Dumbledore in the books. Hey, maybe even a certain ‘fag hag’ might have decided to stop bashing the people she hangs with for fun and profit.