Monday, October 22, 2007

Dumbledore, We'll Fight for You Tonight

Nomadica asked me what I thought about J. K. Rowling's Dumbledore revelation. In answer I'd like to quote a wonderful comment on the Leaky Cauldron from a person calling himself TrustSnape, which to me perfectly captures (a) why it was such a great announcement for her to make and (b) why it wasn't included in the book text itself (emphasis below mine):

I'm 52. Been gay all my life. The thing is that being ME is way more complex than being gay…. Being gay is part of me, but certainly not all of me. You will find in this world, despite what you may be hearing here, that most gay and lesbian folks are just folks and just like anyone's sexuality, gayness is a larger part of some aspects of one's life than others. The Potter books are written through Harry's eyes. Through Harry's eyes, there was no reason to know about his Headmaster's sex life… just like you would have no reason for any high school kid to know about his or her principal's sex life. The reason so many of us think it is cool is because she told the story of a GREAT man who happened to be gay, not a GAY man who happened to be great. If you think about it there is a world of difference in the two and that is why she didn't need to put anything in the books, but when someone asked about his great loves she was honest and told people how she envisioned Dumbledore. And since she created him, the way she envisioned him is the way he IS. Some people may not like hearing it but then some people don't like hearing the answer when they ask me something that demands an honest answer. Long ago I gave up believing it was okay to be dishonest because some people are uncomfortable. And even before that I gave up believing that being gay made me less of a valued person—either in the eyes of the supreme being or in the eyes of anyone who is really worth caring about.

To which I would add only that the announcement was made in the context of a Q&A where the question was, "Did Dumbledore, who believed in the prevailing power of love, ever fall in love himself?" Ms. Rowling stated that she had always perceived Dumbledore as gay in order to set up her answer, which is that he once fell in love with a male friend. I think people tend to obsess over the sex part of "homosexuality" and forget about the love, which is just as real and true as the love between any two heterosexual people, and just as deserving of recognition and respect.

(For all of you wanting answers to your questions about SQUIDs: I'm working on another post about that, by the end of the week. And in the meantime, sorry.)

10 comments:

  1. Thanks, Cheryl. I knew you would have something profound to say about this. :-)

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  2. all i have to say is a great big resounding AMEN!!!! thanks Cheryl!

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  3. Wow, that was such a great quote from that man. I'll remember that - that Jo wrote about a man who was great who was also gay, not the other way around.

    There are so many well written arguments coming out now, it's really cool. Although I am very disappointed in the lack of tolerance of some Harry Potter "fans".

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  4. I think you hit on the one thing that really gets to me when it comes to, not just homophobia but heterosexism. When people say "It's nobody's business what you do in your bedroom" or something to that effect.

    My answer to that is always "being gay is about more than what goes on in the bedroom. It's not just about being sexually attracted to the same sex. It's about falling in love, wanting to share your life with the person -- it's so much more than physical.

    Great blog post! And great article by TrustSnape!

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  5. That was an amazing summary.I was getting madder by the minute at all those who suddenly turned up their noses at Albus, having claimed to be his biggest admirer all this time. Hurts, it does. I wanted to say so much and I didnt know where to start. Now however, thanks to you and TrustSnape...that line was so well written-"The reason so many of us think it is cool is because she told the story of a GREAT man who happened to be gay, not a GAY man who happened to be great". Its so TRUE. ANd then that- " I think people tend to obsess over the sex part of "homosexuality" and forget about the love, which is just as real and true as the love between any two heterosexual people, and just as deserving of recognition and respect"

    Thanks a ton :)

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  6. Cheryl,
    Thanks for your feedback on our submission. It helped to make our manuscript stronger. We missed your critique on our revision. Any info on what worked for you or didn't would be appreciated.
    Regards,
    Phyllis-Sue

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  7. Thank you for posting this. I wouldn't have read it at Leaky.

    This is a great response to this revelation.

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  8. Perfect way to sum it up! The revelation doesn't change my opinion of Dumbledore. He was a saving grace for me because I felt so bad for Harry Potter. Dumbledore was a caretaker that cared about Harry's welfare.

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