Dumbledore Won’t Be Explicitly Gay In ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ & Harry Potter Fans Aren't Happy
It's really no secret that there's a disappointing lack of LGBTQ characters in film and television. Although one would think that this wouldn't be an issue considering it's 2018, Hollywood is *still* struggling to get its act together. But the good news is audiences aren't afraid to voice their concerns and anger about this troubling issue, especially where it concerns their most beloved characters. Case in point: Harry Potter fans are not thrilled that Dumbledore won't be "explicitly" gay in the Fantastic Beasts sequel, and they're taking their outrage to Twitter.
On Thursday, the director of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, David Yates, gave an interview to Entertainment Weekly about Dumbledore's sexuality in the sequel. J.K. Rowling revealed to fans that she thought of Dumbledore as gay during a question-and-answer session with fans in 2007.
Rowling told the audience when a fan asked if Dumbledore had ever fallen in love before, according to MTV:
My truthful answer to you... I always thought of Dumbledore as gay. Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald and that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself to be what he was.
If Dumbledore's character is indeed gay, you'd expect that he'd also be gay in the Fantastic Beasts movie, especially when you consider the plot centers around Dumbledore (Jude Law) fighting to bring Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) — aka his former flame — to justice.
Unfortunately, this will not quite be the cause. Yates explained, when asked about whether the upcoming film will address Dumbledore's sexuality, according to Vanity Fair:
Not explicitly. But I think all the fans are aware of that. He had a very intense relationship with Grindelwald when they were young men. They fell in love with each other’s ideas, and ideology and each other.
Ah, I have so many thoughts about the word "explicitly." For starters, how can one be "not explicitly" gay? For instance, I don't wake up on some days and think, "I'm going to be less explicitly gay today." The phrase "explicitly" is a kind of strange and confusing one to use here because it insinuates that all people in the LGBTQ community act or appear a certain way. Or that gayness is some sort of character trait, like being funny, that you can dial back depending on your mood.
Secondly, it's just completely illogical to not have Dumbledore be openly gay in the movie when it's a movie about his ex-boyfriend, which Slate summed up perfectly with this amazing headline: "Dumbledore Will Somehow Not Be 'Explicitly' Gay in the Fantastic Beasts Movie About Him Fighting His Ex-Boyfriend." Need I say more? I'm really curious as to how the movie will finagle its way around this major plot point.
Lastly, Dumbledore not being "explicitly" gay implies that he's hiding his sexuality, which is something I and other Twitter users are definitely upset about. I could understand Yates' logic here if the plot would touch on Dumbledore possibly struggling with his sexuality or experiencing some confusion about it (many of us have been there before), but the use of the word "explicitly" seems to imply his sexuality will be brushed aside or even low-key hidden. But who knows, maybe "explicitly" does mean that Dumbledore is still unsure of his own sexuality or something.
That all being said, it's quite clear that Twitter isn't on-board with any of this "explicitly" nonsense either. In fact, many people are accusing Rowling of queerbaiting (which occurs when creators in the entertainment industry try to attract LGBTQ fans by teasing non-heterosexual relationships, despite the fact they have no intention of actually delivering the content). Romper reached out to Rowling's rep for comment and is awaiting a reply.
As for Rowling's take on this, she took to Twitter to defend herself after she received "abuse" from some fans.
"Being sent abuse about an interview that didn't involve me, about a screenplay I wrote but which none of the angry people have read, which is part of a five-movie series that's only one installment in, is obviously tons of fun, but you know what's even *more* fun," Rowling captioned a GIF with the word "mute."
And to be fair, it's possible that the future installments will give Dumbledore and the LGBTQ community the story they deserve.
Rowling even hinted at this possibility herself in 2016. Rowling explained, according to the Telegraph:
I can’t tell you everything I would like to say because this is obviously a five-part story so there’s lots to unpack in that relationship. You will see Dumbledore as a younger man and quite a troubled man — he wasn’t always the sage…We’ll see him at that formative period of his life. As far as his sexuality is concerned … watch this space.
Although it's unclear if Rowling will make good on her promise, it's clear that her fans are definitely "watching" this space to find out.
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