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Old October 20th, 2007, 6:45 pm
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Aldawen  Female.gif Aldawen is offline
Third Year
Join Date: 24th February 2003
Posts: 286
Re: Homosexuality in Harry Potter

1. The fact that Dumbledore is gay adds a whole new dimension to his character and to the story. Were you surprised? Does it really change anything?

I was surprised, but I suppose that was because I had never given Dumbledore's sexuality much though, not because I thought he was definitely straight. It doesn't change anything about the plot of the book, but I think the fact that JKR had included this will change the way people look at the books. I've always thought they say a lot more about social injustice in the real world than many give them credit for, and now, because homosexuality is such a divisive issue in our own culture, people cannot ignore the anti-discrimination message of the series. What I'm afraid of, however, is that people will jump to conclusions and read ulterior motives into Dumbledore's actions in the books and try to negate his goodness and significance. This is exactly the opposite, I am sure, of JKR's intentions. Her making one of the most powerful figures a gay man who is in no way stereotypical will hopefully begin to chip away at common prejudices, not reinforce them.

2. Do you believe we have met any other characters in the story that might be gay?

I'm very interested in Sirius and his feelings for James. I've always felt there's more there than we ever get to see, and though he may or may not have been sexually attracted to James, I think there's definitely a measure of ambiguity.

3. Do you believe that the Magical World has a more well-developed understanding of "chemical attraction" and thus negating any issue of sexuality? In other words, physical attraction is more than simply genetics, but could in fact be magical and therefore a non issue?

I'm not entirely sure what this question means, but I'll give it a go. I think that sex and sexuality are understood the same way in the magical world as we Muggles see it, which means different people think different things. Considering the great import of sex/sexuality in our society, I can't imagine that it's a "non-issue" here. Dumbledore, for example, does not seem to have been openly gay. Why would this be if it were not important? One could argue this is because of the shame of being associated with Grindelwald, but I think it's more than that.

4. The issue of a wizard's/witch's blood status was a major cause of indifference before Voldemort's downfall. With that in mind, would being gay make much of a difference or is it simply who you are born to that makes the big difference?

I think in the series JKR includes forms of discrimination that we are familiar with but downplays them in favor of blood-purity. I think the point here is to demonstrate how damaging such prejudice and hatred can be. By taking this out of a familiar context, it is easier for readers to spot the flaws in a bigoted ideology and later extend this new consciousness to the real world. That said, I think issues like sex, sexuality, race, class, age, etc. are all present and do affect how people view each other. JKR doesn't dissect these dynamics very much, but rather sets the example and allows readers to do the work themselves.

A word is dead
When it is said
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.
-Emily Dickenson
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