Dumbledore, Shmumbledore – where are the lesbians?


You’ve probably heard the news

by now. On Friday night, J.K. Rowling told a packed Carnegie Hall audience

that Albus Dumbledore,

Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is (was?)

. More specifically,

in response to the question of whether Dumbledore had ever found true

love, Rowling responded that he was gay and that he had a thing for

onetime friend and then mortal enemy Gellert Grindewald. (You

can read a full transcript of the question and answer session here.)

I had hoped to be

at this event

but my sweepstakes entry was not one of the 1,000 selected. Like the

other 49,000 rejects, I had to read about the big

revelation the next day. From both a character and big-picture perspective,

this posthumous outing is significant. Not only did Rowling disclose that

the most influential and talented wizard in the modern magical Harry

world was gay, but she affirmed something that was not at

all clear in the books — that GLBT folks (or at least “G” wizards)

exist in that world.

I find it encouraging that

the audience reacted with applause (and some shock). And Rowling’s response

to that was, “If I’d known it would make you so happy, I’d have announced

it years ago.” That would have been nice. Of course, some gay fans

are happy about the revelation, and others see it as either downright

negative or too little too late. And AfterElton.com readers, of course,

have their range of reactions. My favorite comment (which I read

on another site) was, “Oh

good, now all the fictional, closeted gay wizards of the world have

a role model.”

At the event, Rowling also

had the presence of mind to note, “Oh, my god, the fan fiction now,


“The fan fiction” is right.

The Harry Potter fan fiction and shipper sites are prolific, to say the least. [Note: Click at your own risk — some of the stories are pretty graphic.]

There are more than 300,000 Harry Potter stories on fanfiction.net. (For comparison, Buffy has

approximately 31,000 stories, Xena has approximately 1,500 stories

and The Flying Nun has eight.) Much of the fantasizing has focused

on Harry/Hermione vs.

Harry/Ginny pairings

But lots of writers want to see some same-sex action. Remus/Sirius is

a favorite, as is Harry/Draco. And there was

at least one lesbian reader who implored Rowling to include a gay or

lesbian character in book 7, via a very earnest (and largely unsigned) web petition.

But talking about the boys

gets old. Let’s get to the real question: Who are the lesbians?

Again, Rowling has acknowledged

that same-sex attraction exists in the world she created, so there must

be some dykes out there. Some of the fan fiction writers have explored this realm, and Ginny Weasley seems to be a favorite

subject of speculation.

I don’t really buy this. She

fell for Harry the moment she laid her eyes upon his scar. (I suppose

she could have been a precocious LUG while she was waiting for Harry, but

I’m far from convinced.) And Hermione,

of course, would have been great in her brainy, political, cat-loving

way, but she’s Rowling’s (loose)

and was

fated for Ron early on.

The unmarried adults — the

teachers in particular — are generally blank slates, so I find it easier

to attribute lesbian archetypal-ness to them.

Tonks had so much early potential.

Remember how she was introduced?

“She looked the youngest

there; she had a pale heart-shaped face, dark twinkling eyes, and short

spiky hair that was a violent shade of violet.”

Violet hair!

Unfortunately, this early promise

was frittered away when she and Lupin became an item. Alas. (But anyone

who hooks up with a werewolf has to fall somewhere on the spectrum of


Then there’s Madame Hooch,

the Quidditch ref and flying instructor (i.e., gym teacher). I think

she’s a pretty safe bet. And Professor Trelawney could have the flaky,

New Age, hippie-lesbian thing going on. (But that might just be me wanting

Emma Thompson
to be a lesbian.)

Ultimately, though, if I had

to pick just one, I’d have to go with Professor Minerva McGonagall.

She’s strong and confident;

there’s never been a mention of Mr. McGonagall; and her animagus form

is that of a cat. With markings for her glasses. (Some might think it

a bit much to have the top Hogwarts witch and wizard be gay, but if

you’ve ever worked in a dorm, you know that residential life staffs

are full of us.)

That’s my analysis. Which witches

do you think were, could be, or should have been lesbians?

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