So apparently JKR outed Dumbledore in one of her author visits last night. I read a fair smattering of coverage about it on the blogs, including reactions from Fuse #8 and Wizard's Wireless. But I really wanted to see what AfterElton, the website about gay men in the media, had to say.
Was I surprised?
Yes, partly because of our culture's heteronormative trend, but partly because of Dumbledore's role in the books. He's a wise mentor, and those characters are essentially sexless. It's very difficult to think of them having lives outside of dispensing advice.
Am I pleased?
Yes. Gay (and lesbian) kids need to see more gay and lesbian characters in books where the books aren't all about the terrible, terrible angst of their life as someone who loves the "wrong" sex. And to have one of the most beloved and revered characters in recent children's literature be gay . . . that's a very positive message.
Do I think that the message is diluted?
Yes. By staging the revelation outside of the purview of the books, JKR seems to have tacked it on. Oh, by the way, he's gay. On the other hand, the books are not about Dumbledore, and while you could argue that his sexual orientation is such a central element of his character that it shouldn't have been left out . . . well, see question number one up there.
Boy, are they gonna be talking about this one.