But I still think he's a total waste of space. A void. Where talent goes to die. What has he done besides be part of a boy band and make failed attempts to travel to space? Oh, he came out as gay! Stop the presses! Throw him a parade! Hold him up as a role model for....making shitty music and not quite getting into space and dating hairless, underwear model type dudes? What an inspiration!
Recently, there has been even more hoo-ha over the revelation of a famous figure's gayness. I am typing, of course, about author J.K. Rowling revealing that the character Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwart's School for Witchcraft & Wizardry in the Harry Potter series, was gay. "O RLY?" cried the Internets (and tons of people in real life as well). Of course some of the Christian douchebags of the world are getting their unders twisted into triple knots over this, but it's really no surprise. They already hated the HP books cuz of the magickal stuff and it's not all a metaphor for Jesus, etc. So fresh and unpredictable, that Christian Right! But personally I don't get why it's all that remarkable either way. Especially to those people who are all "Dumbledore is gay, this is so awesome!" To me it feels pretty tacked on and, in the grand scheme of those books, pretty unremarkable. I guess it's cool to think that this enjoyable character was "one of us". But let's take a look at Dumbledore before we get too excited.
- He was madly in love/obsessed with a straight dude when he was younger and it caused him to engage in horribly oppressive behaviors against others that ran counter to his true, personal beliefs. It's not that this kind of thing doesn't happen in real life. But it's so often the trend to portray gay characters in tragic, doomed situations when it comes to who they love or desire.
- He is completely asexual throughout the entire run of the Harry Potter series, an affliction which besieges many gay characters in various media. While many of the adults in the HP books are similar in their lack of overt sexuality, there's still a great deal of coupling among them, history of prior coupling and evidence of a sex life by their having of children.
- He essentially gives all his energy and strength to taking care of others, protecting them from harm and helping them to achieve a better, more evolved and informed place in the world. He ultimately sacrifices his life to this end. This is another hallmark of a gay character (care giver, free therapist, long suffering, self-sacrificing) in many stories and, in a larger sense, often the role of the "other" in general: always put yourself last and make endless sacrifices so the people around you, who generally occupy a more privileged place in the world, can have a happier, safer life.
- As far as we can tell from the text, he's totally closeted. Again, he is portrayed as basically asexual and never discusses any romantic relationships, past or present. And while some of his peers at the school are similar in terms of lack of information about their romantic or sexual lives, many of them are secondary and tertiary characters who we get very little background on in general. The more prominent ones may not be portrayed as having active love/sex lives in the present of the story, but they do have them in their past and that is written into the books.
So should we really be all that psyched that Dumbledore is "suddenly" gay (Rowling claims he has "always been" in her mind as she wrote him)? I mean, yeah, I'd rather have some badass wizard as a role model than some cheeseball, talent-free pop star. But should we really be sounding the trumpets for Albus? I don't think it's bad to be happy about this information, I'm just more skeptical. Surprise! I think we as a culture need to stop looking to celebrities and fictional characters to make us feel more secure in who we are as people. These figures are flawed and imperfect and rarely reflect us back to ourselves because they either A) live lives that are so remarkably different from ours due to their celebrity status or B) they don't actually exist. Either way, I think I'll take a pass on these two current, gay role models. But at least I know that ONE of them is well written.